Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Antioch’s Mayor Harper responds to recall petition

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

By Allen Payton

On Wednesday, October 22, 2014, within the seven days allowed, Antioch Mayor Wade Harper submitted his 200-word statement in response to the Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition served to him at the Tuesday, October 14 Antioch City Council meeting, and officially submitted on Thursday, October 16 to the City Clerk.

Below is his statement. A copy of the actual response can be viewed by clicking Mayor’s Response to Recall Petition.10-22-14.

Mayor Harper’s Reponse to the Recall Petition

As your Mayor and a retired Police Lieutenant, reducing crime is my top priority. Our families deserve to feel safe, that’s why I led the effort to approve Measure C – so Antioch would have funds to hire more police officers. Our community united and we hired 10 new officers (Officers Mike Perez, Kyle Smith, J.B. Hulleman, Marcos Torres, Kenneth Krein, Scott Duggar, Amel Sachnic, TrakKeo-Vann, Ben Padilla and Matt Allendorph), with 4 more currently in the academy – a total of 14 new crime-fighting officers. The cost of this recall may be up to $198,994.50 which could fund another 2 officers to make our streets safer. Under my leadership, Antioch has secured another $625,000 to hire 5 additional officers. Under my leadership, our Police Department conducts weekly crime suppression operations – one of which resulted in 87 arrests in just a five-day period. Nothing is more important thatn keeping our neighborhoods and children safe. But to achieve that goal, it’s going to take all of us working together. It’s time to end the divisiveness. I respectfully ask the Antioch community to ban together, to reject this recall, so we can continue this fight together.

Wade Harper

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Antioch Council candidates share their backgrounds, views and plans

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

By John Crowder

There are eight candidates who have qualified to run for two seats on the Antioch City Council this year. They are Steven Bado, Karl Dietzel, Diane Gibson-Gray, Jeffrey Hall-Cottrell, Lori Ogorchock, Anthony Segovia, Lamar Thorpe, and Tony Tiscareno.

Two candidates, Steven Bado and Jeffrey Hall-Cottrell, although qualified for the ballot, do not appear to be running campaigns. Neither has substantial information posted on-line, and neither has attended candidate forums nor group interviews with the local news media. However, Bado did submit his candidate statement and brief biography for this article.

Here is some basic information on each of the seven candidates, culled from interviews, email responses to questions, and their campaign websites.

Steven Bado Antioch Council candidates share their backgrounds, views and plansSteven Bado is age 40 and has lived in Antioch for 37 years. He has been the General Sales Manager for Dublin Honda since 2003. Before that he worked for four years as an independent contractor with Explorer Van Corp. Bado is a graduate of the NADA Dealer Academy and Antioch High School.

In his candidate statement, he states:

I am real excited about running for City Council..I take pride in our city. I am tired of telling people where I live and there response is O” I want to turn Antioch around for all the different generations that are living here.

I have been helping the younger generations by getting them a Job at Dublin Honda were I am currently employed as the General Sales Manager. I want to see all of the kids succeed in their life and follow their dreams. Everyone needs a little help now and then and that’s why I want to be on the City Council

I want to make a difference in our city by supporting our Police Department, finding good after school programs for the kids. I want to make sure that when the older generation goes out that they fill safe and comfortable.

I take pride in my community and will listen to the residents of Antioch for suggestions on what they would like to see happen in there City and what challenges they have been facing.

I know I would do a great job for you. I am a very energetic man and want to see some great changes for Antioch.”

Karl Dietzel red shirt 225x300 Antioch Council candidates share their backgrounds, views and plans

Karl Dietzel

Karl Dietzel has long been a presence at Antioch city council meetings, where he has proven to be unafraid to voice his opinion. The 65-year-old, first generation immigrant from Germany has been living in Antioch since December, 1989.

For several years Dietzel has attended all city council meetings, and some committee and community meetings as well. He said he first got started contributing to Antioch when he helped a friend paint over graffiti.

Addressing his run for city council, Dietzel said, “I can’t sit on the sidelines anymore.” He spoke about living in a small house on a side street between Sycamore and Mahogany. Addressing the crime the area has become notorious for, he said, “There was always something on Sycamore, but Dogwood Way (where Dietzel resides) was not involved. Now we have almost daily shootings, trash, very few owner occupied homes, drugs, break-ins, loud music, yelling and screaming, and speeding cars.”

Dietzel went on to say, “Our neighboring cities keep growing, building, and luring good name businesses.” He said other nearby cities also maintain their streets and have good landscaping and parks, but this is not the case in Antioch. Here, he said, “crime is out of control, businesses are leaving, city property is not maintained, we are falling apart.”

Dietzel said, “I would like to help and push for a better Antioch, building needed infrastructure for economic growth.” He said he wants to make Antioch safer, and clearly increase the quality of life for residents.

Dietzel makes a point that he is, “not connected to anybody; not to builders, investors, fire or police organizations, unions, apartment property owners, simply to no one.” Because he is not beholden to any special interests, Dietzel says that, if elected, he will, “serve the people alone.”

Dietzel refuses to make campaign promises, noting that, if elected, “I am only one of five” city council members. Regardless, he has an extensive list of goals for the city.

With respect to community safety, Dietzel calls for full staffing of Code Enforcement and Community Service Officers. He wants to see a workload study done for the Antioch Police Department, in order to ensure resources are properly allocated, and calls for the installation of a system that would allow the police to pinpoint areas where gunfire occurs. He advocates for the “latest and best tools / training for our safety department,” and wants to reclaim the police substation at the Lone Tree Community Center from political parties. He also wants to reactivate the rental inspection program.

Dietzel believes that steps need to be taken to ensure good governance. In that regard, he calls for a two-term limit for elected officials, and for council members to provide detailed monthly expenditure lists to the public. He wants such expenditures to be voted on by the city council. He thinks there should be better follow-up of resident inquiries at city council meetings, that more public input needs to be solicited, and that a “code of conduct” should be established for the city council to answer inquiries from citizens. Dietzel wants to go back to a 40-hour work week for all city employees, and says that City Hall and the Police Department need to be open to residents from 8:00 to 5:00, Monday through Friday.

With respect to fiscal responsibility, Dietzel calls for an end to the taxpayer subsidies depleting Antioch revenues by the privatization of Prewett Water Park, the Lone Tree Golf Course, and the animal shelter. He believes that a collection department needs to be hired in order to bring in uncollected fees currently on the books. He doesn’t want to see any more raises for any city employee until, “our budget is solid and healthy.”

Dietzel sees the creation of jobs in the city as a priority. To spur economic growth, he advocates the hiring of “a sharp economic development director.” He further believes that all contracts let by the city should be awarded to local businesses, “no matter what.”

Other ideas promoted by Dietzel include establishing a database on rental units, locating rental property owners, turning on the electricity and water at a residence only with the permission of the owner, and better maintenance and upkeep of city property. He calls for finishing the boat launch area, and opening up the fenced-in park at the old boat launch area.

Dietzel encourages voters to speak with him at the city council meetings.

Diane Gibson Gray 235x300 Antioch Council candidates share their backgrounds, views and plans

Diane Gibson-Gray

Diane Gibson-Gray was elected to the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) board as a trustee in 2008. She is currently serving her second term on the board. She notes that AUSD is he second largest employer in the city of Antioch, with a budget of $130 million, over 1,800 employees, 19,000 students, and 23 school sites.

In addition to her six years on the school board, she has been the Executive Director for the Arts & Cultural Foundation of Antioch for 10 years. In that role, she plans exhibits at the Lynn House Gallery, manages the free Saturday Summer Concerts, and works with local nonprofit organizations to support community and cultural events.

Gibson-Gray also spent 28 years in the telecommunications industry. She had a diverse career, working in Customer Service, Marketing, and Government Affairs. Her last position in the industry was Regional Director of Customer Care. She retired from the industry in 2004.

Other local service she has been involved with includes the Keep Antioch Beautiful event, Coastal Cleanup Day, 4th of July 2012, and Antioch PD Neighborhood Cleanup. She has also served as a Chamber of Commerce board member.

Gibson-Gray’s top priorities are public safety, fiscal responsibility, and economic development. With respect to public safety, she advocates utilizing, “current Police Department and Code Enforcement staffing to provide the best coverage possible throughout the city.” On fiscal responsibility, she says her goal would be to, “contain costs using available funding wisely.” She also calls for increasing city services by bringing back the 40-hour work week for city staff.

Addressing economic development, Gibson-Gray says, because of current transportation improvements, “Now is the time for discussions with potential new business entities.” She also says that, “In today’s challenging economic climate, we must work smarter and make better use of limited resources. My diverse background has provided me with the skills needed to navigate the current local and state economic crises, hire successful district leaders and create an environment of open communications and collaborative relationships.” She goes on to say that, as an AUSD board member, she has, “been a voice for financial accountability, increased investment in the classroom, and school site safety.”

Lori O 240x300 Antioch Council candidates share their backgrounds, views and plans

Lori Ogorchock

Lori Ogorchock is a former Walnut Creek Reserve Police Officer, worked for the California State Automobile Association for 19 years, and currently works as a Realtor, a job she has had for 10 years.

Ogorchock also has extensive community service experience. She is the Director for the Delta Association of Realtors, and a member of their local government relations sub-committee. She is currently the Member and Club Service Chair of the Delta-Antioch Rotary. In the past, she has been involved with Soroptomist International, the Antioch City Park Design Committee, and the Keller Williams Leadership Council.

Ogorchock boasts extensive volunteer work with Antioch’s youth, having been involved with the Delta Peanut League, Antioch Little League, Antioch Babe Ruth, Antioch Youth Football League, was on the Sutter School Elementary School Site Council, and is a catechism teacher at Holy Rosary Church.

Ogorchock’s main goal for Antioch is to put community safety first. She says, “I will ensure Measure C funds are used as promised for police, plain and simple.” Other goals she has are downtown revitalization, reasonable taxation of businesses, and economic growth. With respect to redevelopment, she said, “Our seniors deserve the best treatment, building condos where there should be a park is just foolishness.” She calls for the simplification of taxes, and fairness in taxation, and believes that community safety combined with business friendly attitudes will stimulate the local economy.

Segovia 182x300 Antioch Council candidates share their backgrounds, views and plans

Anthony Segovia

Anthony Segovia is the youngest candidate for Antioch city council, at 27-years old. While admitting he doesn’t have the experience that some of his competitors do, he none-the-less says he will bring new ideas to the council. His slogan on his campaign signs reads, “Out with the old, in with the new.”

Segovia says his educational and work background are precisely what Antioch needs now. “Having a degree in broadcast journalism and being a financial analyst, I have what it takes to assess Antioch’s financial situation and hear the citizen’s concerns,” he says.

Segovia said his top priority is crime prevention. Therefore, his main goal is to hire more police officers. He also advocates hiring more Community Service Officers.

Another priority of Segovia’s would be to encourage business development by making Antioch more business friendly. He advocates bringing back festivals and other events to revitalize the downtown.

Lamar Thorpe tells a compelling story of overcoming serious adversity. Thorpe said that he was born in prison to a mother addicted to heroin in 1981, placed in foster care, and raised by a family who emigrated to the U.S. from Mexico. He says that he was placed in Special Education in 5th grade, and graduated from high school not knowing how to read or write.

Lamar Thorpe 240x300 Antioch Council candidates share their backgrounds, views and plans

Lamar Thorpe

Thorpe currently works on the executive team of the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District as Chief Advancement Officer.

Thorpe’s priorities as a council member for Antioch would be job growth, community safety, and citizen engagement.

Thorpe says that, “Antioch suffers from a severe jobs and housing imbalance.” To remedy this, he would, “incentive job growth, cultivate new sectors, promote smarter growth, and address local workforce and community needs.”

Thorpe connects community safety to jobs as well. “The facts are clear,” he states, “as the unemployment rate increases, so does crime.” Thorpe advocates ensuring Measure C funds go directly to hiring new police officers, community service officers, and code enforcement officers. He also calls for, “addressing the needs of our youth, young adults, and the broader community through public-private partnerships.” In addition, he wants to, “work with county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to ensure our police officers receive the tools and resources to conduct crime suppression operations.”

With respect to citizen engagement, Thorpe says, “In Antioch leaders need to talk less and listen more. As a civic and higher education leader, I have always valued civic engagement as a process where constituents are able to speak and influence the decision making process.”

Thorpe currently sits on Antioch’s Economic Development Commission.

Tony Tiscareno 287x300 Antioch Council candidates share their backgrounds, views and plans

Tony Tiscareno

Tony Tiscareno is currently an appointed incumbent on the Antioch City Council. He also works as a Realtor with Keller Williams. A resident of Antioch for 45 years, and a 1975 graduate of Antioch High School, he worked at U.S. Steel for 33 years, served as both Vice President and President of United Steelworkers Local 1440, and was Political Director of the Contra Costa Labor Council from 2007-2011. He’s also been a small business owner.

When asked why he is running for city council, Tiscareno said, “As a 45-year resident of Antioch, I am passionate about the city I grew up in. This is where I attended school, married, raised my children, and where I want to spend the rest of my life. I believe I have the leadership skills needed to be a productive council member and my experience working with organizations, community and elected officials allows me to be that leader.”

Asked about his priorities, Tiscareno said, “We have many challenges to overcome before we can become the great city I know we can be. Getting a handle on crime is my priority and I have the leadership skills to work with our police, city, and our citizens to reduce crime. I am very proud to be the “ONLY” candidate endorsed by our police officers because they believe I have the wherewithal as a leader to accomplish this goal. I will continue to support hiring more police officers and code enforcement and will actively participate and promote our neighborhood watch and cleanups. Working with businesses to bring jobs to our city is a priority and I will continue to do so. I also want to provide resources for our youth through our recreation department.”

Tiscareno also addressed his accomplishments as a sitting council member. “Since public safety is my priority, I have worked on bringing resources to help hire police, including a $600,000 COPS grant that will bring in six more police officers and supporting Measure C where 100% of those funds will go to police and code enforcement. I’m working with businesses to help reduce crime such as the LOOKING OUT FOR YOU program with our waste/recycle collectors. Because of my leadership and passion to reduce crime, I am very honored to be the “ONLY candidate endorsed by our police officers.”

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County School Board candidates offer details on backgrounds, top priorities

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

By John Crowder

Four candidates are vying for two seats, each of which includes parts of Antioch, on the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) board. Richard Asadoorian, the incumbent serving Area 4, is being challenged by Mike Maxwell. Cynthia Ruehlig, the incumbent serving Area 5, is being challenged by Jeff Belle. Three of the candidates, Asadoorian, Maxwell, and Ruehlig, provided the Herald with answers to questions in which they outlined their backgrounds, experience, positions, and what they consider the most important issues in the current election. Belle, who has been dealing with allegations regarding a criminal past, and recent news articles alleging he falsified his education and medical credentials, did not respond.

Career History

Richard Asadoorian County School Board candidates offer details on backgrounds, top priorities

Richard Asadoorian

Richard Asadoorian was a classroom teacher, counselor, high school principal, director of Summer Youth Employment Training Program, restaurant owner, church youth director, served in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Coast Guard, was a domestic violence counselor for three years, and trained and was a Court Appointed Special Advocate (abused and abandoned children).

Mike Maxwell is currently Vice President of Sales for TaylorMade Water Systems/Waterlogic. He has been working for the firm since 2005. He was also the CEO for San Francisco Giants – Baseball Camps from 1996 to 2004. From 1993 to 2002 he worked for the Mt. Diablo Region YMCA as Membership, Program, and Executive Director(s). From 1984 to 1993 he was Leadership/Student Activities Director, and worked as a coach in football, baseball, golf, tennis and basketball for Monte Vista High School in Danville.

Cynthia Ruehlig is currently a Senior Level Clerk with Contra Costa County, a position she has held for 17 years. Prior to that she worked for the Central Contra Costa County Sanitary District as a Risk Management Technician. She was also a franchise owner of Teves Dry Cleaning and Steam Laundry, and worked as a computer teacher for Global Computers Corporation.

Education History

Mike Maxwell 300x285 County School Board candidates offer details on backgrounds, top priorities

Mike & Shari Maxwell

Richard Asadoorian has both a BA and MA from California State University, Fresno.

Mike Maxwell graduated from Monte Vista High School in 1981, and then attended Diablo Valley College and San Francisco State University, where he received a BA in Speech Communications in 1987.

Cynthia Ruehlig holds a BA in English from St. Scholastica’s College, Manila, and attended California State University, East Bay, obtaining a certificate in Nonprofit Management.

Why Running?

Richard Asadoorian said he was running, “to continue my service in the County Office of Education by representing the 220,000 people in Area 4 as well as Contra Costa County as a whole. To complete my election term as a delegate assembly person to the California School Boards Association and the executive committee of the California County Boards of Education. To advocate for the best legislation to serve the 173,000 students and 18 school districts in the county.”

Mike Maxwell said he was running for the following reasons:

  • It’s time we put the needs of the kids first, teachers and staff a close second

  • We need more folks fiscally responsible

  • The families and employees need a voice at the county level

  • Change is good

Cynthia Ruehlig said, “I grew up in the Philippines under Martial Law. The concept of People Power unfolded and became a reality before my eyes. The experience of the People Power revolution made me aware of the importance of the democratic process. It has molded my conviction that if you want something done – do it yourself.” She went on to say, “I believe I have the knowledge, experience, and constitution needed to become a good trustee for the County Board of Education. The CCCBOE, as an appellate body, must, at all times, maintain neutrality and uphold the intent of the law. It must adhere to its complementary role to the Office of the County Superintendent in order to ensure efficient operation of the County Office of Education.

Cynthia Ruehlig 208x300 County School Board candidates offer details on backgrounds, top priorities

Cynthia Ruehlig

Top Priorities

Richard Asadoorian said his top priorities are “to ensure that the best educational practices are being delivered to our students, to offer full transparency in board dealings, to assist districts in conducting their fiscal duties, and to be visible to my constituents.”

Mike Maxwell said his top priorities are the same as the reasons he is running for office.

Cynthia Ruehlig said her top priorities are to maintain fiscal solvency, promote transparency and accessibility, provide career oriented education and improve academic performance. She also said she wants to maintain neutrality, uphold the California Education Code, and ensure fairness in all adjudicative decisions.

Previous Accomplishments

Richard Asadoorian lists his accomplishments as being a member of the Antioch Economic Commission, and his service on the Board policy committee. Asadoorian sings the National Anthem for many civic and school functions, and is a Neighborhood Watch Captain.

Mike Maxwell listed his previous accomplishments as:

  • Developed Monte Vista High School Leadership into a self-sufficient and fiscally contributing portion of the operation of he school

  • CASC Leadership Program of the Year, MVHS, 1984

  • Brought YMCA programs to 600+ students annually at 8 high schools

  • Past President, Rotary Club of Pleasant Hill

Cynthia Ruehlig listed her previous accomplishments as:

  • Trustee, Contra Costa County Board of Education

  • Cofounder and Nonprofit Administrator – Antioch Music Foundation

  • Advisory Board Member – Fil-Am Society of St. Ignatius

  • Past Member – Contra Costa County Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Council

  • Past Chief Shop Steward – AFSCME Local 2700

  • Past Member – Conciliation Forums of Oakland

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Antioch School Board candidates provide details of their backgrounds, views, goals

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

By John Crowder

Four candidates are vying for two seats on the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) board. They are, incumbents Gary Hack and Joy Motts, and challengers Walter Ruehlig and Debra Vinson. Each candidate provided the Herald with answers to questions in which they outlined their backgrounds, experience, positions on the issues, and what they consider the most important topics in the current election.

Career History

Gary Alan Hack said that he was employed by AUSD from 1969-2010 as a certificated employee. Up until 2000, he was an elementary school classroom teacher, working at Sutter Elementary School. From 2000 to 2010, he was President of the Antioch Education Association. From 2010 to the present, he has served on the AUSD board.

Hack also owned an independent business, Hack’s Painting, from 1977 to 2000.

Joyann E. “Joy” Motts said that she has been President of the AUSD board for the last two years, and that she has been serving on the board since 2010. She is also on the California School Boards Association Linked Learning Task Force.

Motts has also been a Senior Mortgage Consultant with Delta Lending Group, and on the Board of Directors for the Celebrate Antioch Foundation. She has served as a member of the Suburban Poverty Task Force, representing Antioch.

Motts also said that she is on the California School Boards Association LCFF Collaborative Team representing AUSD (one of only 15 school districts in the state chosen to participate).

Walter Kenneth Ruehlig said that he has had a 46-year career that revolved around education. In 1968, he taught English as a Foreign Language for the Peace Corps in a Turkish village that had no electricity. Upon returning to the states, he taught ESL, Adult Basic Education, and GED for the City University of New York, Boston School Department, and Polaroid Land Corporation.

For the last 16 years he has worked for the Pittsburg Adult Education Center teaching career development classes and counseling adults with disabilities seeking reentry into the workplace.

Ruehlig said that he was also an admissions counselor at Control Data Institute, Dickinson Warren Business College and Unilex College and was a job developer in private industry.

Ruehlig was on the AUSD school board from 2004 until 2012.

Ruehlig has also owned a dry cleaning business, taught speed reading for Evelyn Woods Reading Dynamics, and operated his own resume writing business.

Debra Vinson said that she has worked as a Clinician in the mental health field in several capacities and for different organizations all over the Bay Area. Some of her work highlights include:

  • Behavior Consultant

  • School-based Therapist

  • Day Treatment Therapist (children)

  • Clinical Case Manager and Mental Health Clinical Specialist with a focus on children and families, adults and community mental health services

  • Adjunct Professor

  • Trained facilitator in Violence Prevention and Response Strategies and Implementation

Education History

Hack attended UC Davis from 1964-1968, graduating with a BA in History. From 1968-1969 he was enrolled in a M. Ed. Program in Educational Psychology. He received his permanent teaching credential through the state of California in 1970. In 1979 he received an M. Ed. In Curriculum and Instruction from the University of San Francisco. From 1979 through 2000 he obtained approximately 120 semester post-graduate units in Education.

Motts attended Los Medanos Junior College and Sacramento State University, studying Business Administration and Criminal Justice.

Ruehlig graduated cum laude as an English major from the State University of New York at Albany, School of Education. He graduated from Rutgers University John Heldrich Center for Workplace Development with a certificate as a Global Career Facilitator.

Vinson has an AA in Computer Operations from Computer Learning Center, a BA in Business Administration from Greenville College with a minor in Psychology, and a MA in Counseling from JFK University.

Why Running?

Hack said, “As a long time resident of Antioch, I understand that our public schools are an asset to our community. When I retired from the AUSD, I knew that I wanted to continue serving the students in the AUSD. Being elected to the AUSD school board allowed me to do so. I’m running for a 2nd term because I still have the passion to make a difference in the lives of our young people.”

Hack continued, “The educational landscape in Antioch has changed. That’s not a negative statement; nor is it a positive one. It’s simply a statement of reality. It is what it is. As a result, the school board is even more important than perhaps at times in the past. Over the past 4 years, the board, which I have been part of, has had to consider options, solve problems, plan strategies, make decision, be transparent, increase community involvement and communicate in new and different ways. We have done that and I look forward to continuing and enhancing those processes. It requires a tremendous commitment of time and energy – both physically and mentally. Great responsibility; awesome opportunity. I look forward to it…yet again.”

Motts said, “As a lifelong resident of Antioch, and a committed and passionate community leader, I know that Antioch students deserve the very best in education and I am dedicated to leading our schools to that goal.”

Ruehlig said, “I am running because I am greatly pained at the downward spiraling of the AUSD.” He went on to compare the state of the schools when he left the board two years ago, to where they are today. He said that a $31 million surplus had dwindled to only $5 million, the state-mandated minimum.

Out-of-control students run rampant on many of our campuses, with daily reports of disruption and violence, including teacher assaults,” Ruehlig continued. He noted there had been several parental lawsuits, including an $8 million settlement for the physical and verbal abuse and alleged cover-up involving eight autistic students, ranging in age from five to seven.

Ruehlig said AUSD, “spent vast amounts of good will, time, and money fighting Dozier-Libbey Medical High School teachers wanting to bolt the District. It should have never gotten to that point.”

Ruehlig also expressed concern with the academic performance of the district, saying that STAR tests scores, on average, are ten points below the state rankings in reading, math, and science, and that “Ed-Trust gave us a D on their last report card.”

As a District, we can’t be victims anymore, just blaming the “changing landscape,” Ruehlig said. “We need a plan and then accountability, transparency, and common sense. We can do much better for our kids.”

Vinson said she is running, “because I know that I can make a difference and work with the families to do the following:

  • Improve educational outcomes for ALL students

  • Bring focused leadership to AUSD to support the teachers and students

  • Work with the community so they will know that their concerns about the education of Antioch’s students are being heard by AUSD and acted upon.”

Top Priorities

Hack listed his top priorities as:

  • Successfully implement LCFF and LCAP

  • Maintain the fiscal solvency of the District

  • Enhance the academic integrity of the AUSD

  • Increase the number of elective class options for both secondary and elementary schools

  • Continue to make our district exemplary in the education, safety and support of our students

Motts listed her top priorities as:

  • Schools that are safe and promote a culture of positive behavior and academic achievement

  • Keeping our students in school, engaged and on pathways for success in college, career and life

  • Provide early and consistent intervention strategies and programs that will support our high needs students’ academic success

  • Successful implementation and integration of LCAP (local control accountability plan) and LCFF (local control funding formula), involving community and stakeholders through full implementation

Ruehlig listed his top priorities as:

  • Bring safety, respect, order and a conducive teaching/learning environment back to all our campuses

  • Increase the number of guidance counselors to offer academic and social direction and interventions

  • Expand on-going tutoring and the summer booster programs for incoming freshmen with particular attention to closing the achievement gap

  • Stop the three-year deficit spending habit and reverse the fiscal slide

  • Continue stressing choice, as one-size doesn’t fit all. The career-themed academies are a boon that have proved immensely enriching. We can’t exclude home schooling, digital learning, independent study, charter schools, etc., as viable alternatives that deserve a seat at the table.

  • Establish a more professional distance so that the Board does not fall prey to the “Club” syndrome where people are so buddy they feel reticent about asking tough questions, occasionally poking, prodding staff and stirring the pot

  • Increase parental involvement through televised meetings and more accessibility by rotating meeting locations in the community; more welcoming atmosphere of parental volunteers, bilingual office aides, expansion of the PIQUE program (Parental Involvement in Quality Education), more school sponsored workshops on topics like anti-bullying, gang prevention, tutoring, School Loop, navigating college admission, etc.

  • Accentuate accountability with a standardized, simple, user-friendly annual report card that details progress or regression in graduation rates, U-C qualified, CAHSEE passing, STAR or other state-wide testing scores, college admissions, SAT scores, truancy, and violent acts

Vinson listed her top priorities as:

  • Safety concerns at school and in the community

  • Fiscal accountability

  • Parent engagement

Previous Accomplishments

Hack said that his previous accomplishments include his “ongoing commitment (45 years) to the youth of Antioch in both public and private avenues (with all that involves)…thereby making a difference in their lives.” He also said that he has been an ordained deacon at St. Ignatius of Antioch, has been involved in both adult and youth education, and has been involved with multiple community programs.

Motts said, “During the last four years, I have worked to improve education at all levels with early intervention programs, increased counseling, Linked Learning Academies and through openness to innovation and new ideas.”

She continued, “The economic recession was a very difficult time for public education. Many school districts were forced to lay off employees, institute furlough days, cut programs and counselors and shorten the school year. I am proud to say Antioch Unified did not have to make those tough choices. Through diligent planning and budgeting we established a significant reserve that allowed us to make it through these tough financial times without making those types of cuts that would have dramatically affected our students. Thanks to Proposition 30, the voters of California and a legislature that is determined to equitably fund public education, revenue for our schools is improving and in Antioch, graduation rates are increasing and CAHSEE pass rates are improving. Our projection for next year and beyond is that AUSD revenues will meet expenditures and we will continue to be fiscally solvent, will maintain sufficient reserves and will continue to build our capacity to provide academic excellence for all of our students.”

Motts also listed other significant achievements she said she was, “proud to have supported in the last 4 years and will continue to build upon.” These included the installation of solar panels on 20 of 24 school sites, that she said would save AUSD $47 million over the next 30 years, and energy savings programs that would lessen our carbon footprint and lower energy expenses. Other programs include the full implementation of Linked Learning Academies, Lead the Way, and STEM.

Motts also mentioned, “Supporting the full intention of the new Local Control Accountability Plan that will bring our parents and community members to the table in determining policy and programs that will best serve the students of our community.” Other achievements she touted were transitional programs to provide intense support for “our most at risk youth, updating our infrastructure to meet the 21st [century] needs of students in technology and curriculum,” and “continuing the employment of additional security to support the safety of our schools until such time the City of Antioch resources are at full restoration,” and the passage of Measure B to rebuild Antioch High School.

Ruehlig said that his accomplishments included serving two terms on the AUSD board (2004-2012) and included his being a two-time president of the board, 2012 Antioch Citizen of the Year (Lifetime Achievement), 2004 County Board of Supervisors Humanitarian of the Year Award, 2004 Columbian Squire California Counselor of the Year, Former Chairman of both the CCC Human Relations Commission and Library Commission, a Founder of the Antioch Music Foundation, Former President of the Mello Roos Board, and a member of the Celebrate Antioch Foundation (involved with bringing the 4th of July parade back to Rivertown four years ago.)

Ruehlig’s accomplishments while serving on the AUSD board included:

  • Bringing back guidance counselors and elementary instrumental music program

  • Taking District off Fiscal County Watch list in first year on Board and building rainy day fund (ending fund balance) to $31 million

  • Instituting an innovative k-8 school (Orchard Park)

  • Encouraging school choice by opening five career-themed academies and the second and third Antioch-based charter schools

  • Introducing school uniforms district-wide to elementary and middle schools

  • Overseeing dropout rate fall from 27% to 19%

  • API increase in seven of eight years from 702 to 742

Vinson said her previous accomplishments include serving as:

  • California State Appointed Advocate

  • Volunteer in Probation

  • Youth Intervention Network Family Mediator

  • Antioch Site Council

  • PTA Member

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Antioch Council candidate Anthony Segovia admits to past crimes

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
Segovia Antioch Council candidate Anthony Segovia admits to past crimes

Anthony Segovia

By John Crowder

Anthony Segovia, a 27-year-old, self-described financial analyst and small business owner, and a candidate for the Antioch city council, has admitted to a criminal record that includes two felony convictions for insurance fraud, as well as grand theft.

In an interview conducted by the Herald, Segovia claimed these charges have now been dropped down to misdemeanors after payment of restitution. He said he was currently on probation for these offenses.

According to Segovia, the felony charges stem from a car accident that took place in 2010. Segovia said he was one of five people in one of the two cars involved. He said that, after the accident, he and the others in the car he was riding in filed insurance claims for injuries sustained. While his own claim, he said, was legitimate, others made claims that were not. Segovia says that the two insurance companies that were defrauded paid about $92,000, altogether, to the five people involved. He claims to have personally received payments of about $1,500.

Segovia said that his involvement in the scheme included his pretending to be two of the other people who had been in the accident, speaking over the phone with and emailing the insurers on their behalf. He said he knew all of the other four participants, and that one of them was an uncle.

Segovia said that the main reason that he got in trouble was that he knew about the inflated claims made by others in the group, but refused to cooperate with the CA Department of Insurance investigators who were looking into the matter.

I didn’t want to rat out a family member,” he said.

After being charged with insurance fraud, he says he determined to start cooperating with the investigators, and it was this decision, along with an agreement to make restitution to the insurance company, that eventually resulted in the charges being lowered to misdemeanors and a reduced jail sentence. Segovia pleaded ‘no contest’ to the two felony charges in 2012. He also said that he paid close to $90,000 in restitution, while one of the other participants paid between $10,000 and $15,000.

The grand theft conviction was for a real estate transaction involving another relative who lost $22,000 in the deal, for which Segovia said he was paid $400. He says he had a financial license, which allowed him to handle home loans, but not a real estate license, which was required.

For his crimes, Segovia says he was sentenced to nine months in jail, but actually spent only 30 days at a Marsh Creek facility, then spent another 45 days with an ankle monitor. This sentence reduction, he said, was approved by the judge in the case, after evaluating all of the circumstances.

Segovia’s version of the case, however, is disputed on almost every point by Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Brian Hast.

According to Hast, Segovia was the instigator of the fraudulent actions, not just someone helping out or covering up for his family. Hast also said that Segovia, still on probation, hadn’t yet paid the bulk of the restitution ordered. He said that the last time Segovia was in court was January, 2013, and that he would be on probation until October, 2017. Hast also said that the charges had not yet been reduced to misdemeanors, and that any such reduction would not happen until full restitution was paid.

Hast related a very different version of the events leading up to the fraud charges. Hast said that Segovia would submit an initial claim to an insurance company, with no proof, and if he was challenged, he would then drop the claim. Some insurance firms paid the claims without question.

According to Hast, he and an investigator from the CA Department of Insurance sat down with Segovia and confronted him with evidence of his crimes. Segovia was cooperative during the meeting, admitted his crimes, and spoke freely about the others involved. Because he was cooperating, Hast said, he told Segovia that he would request jail time of only six months, as long as he didn’t commit any more crimes prior to the trial, and withdrew any fraudulent claims he might still have open. “Then we find out he filed another claim,” said Hast, “and that is why the jail time went from six to nine months.”

Hast said that the total amount of restitution ordered was $118,236.99, and this was the amount Segovia was ordered to pay. According to Hast, the last time Segovia made a payment toward restitution was in November, 2013, when he sent in $250. Segovia had brought in other people on two different claims, and they were also ordered to pay restitution.

Segovia continues to campaign for the Antioch city council, in spite of the revelations about his criminal past. He said that, regardless of this history, he feels that he can still make a positive contribution to Antioch.

I know a crime was committed,” he said, “I think moving forward, given that I’m so young, I don’t want one mistake in my past to affect my future. I want to be an example to people that, even though I made a mistake, I can still move forward, be a positive influence on society, and contribute to my city.”

In response to his past becoming public, Segovia posted the following on his campaign’s Facebook page on October 5:

As many of the people are aware now, yes I do have a past that I am not proud of. Nobody is perfect, including the people judging me. Feeling I did the right at the time, there is no excuse to justify my choices. When one is running for public office of any kind, he/she should be a leader which he/she is seeking office for. As of now I have failed to do that. However what I haven’t failed to do is admit to my mistakes, took responsibility for my actions and moved on. There are many people with a past, they are just not trying to be a part of saving a crime stricken city. Before making a choice to run for Antioch City Council, I knew this was coming, now I have to face the comments and people passing judgment. Regardless of my past, there is a city that needs work and this is my main goal is getting Antioch back on track, getting it back to the city people loved to call hone. Many of you are probably wondering why i have no chosen to withdraw my candidacy, but let me tell you this will only make it stronger and makes me strive to change this great city. As for As the people who stuck by my side and continue to I want to thank you for your love and undying support you have shown me. NOW ITS TINE TO MOVE PAST THIS MINOR SETBACK AND GET TO WORK! ANTHONY SEGOVIA FOR ANTIOCH CITY COUNCIL.”

Segovia is the youngest of eight candidates running for the two seats up for election, on November 4. Also running are appointed incumbent Tony Tiscareno, who Segovia says is his cousin, but Tiscarano stated he only met Segovia at a candidates interview during the campaign and that he has 200 relatives in the area; Antioch School Board Trustee Diane Gibson-Gray, Lamar Thorpe, Lori Ogorchock, Karl Dietzel, Jeffrey Hall-Cottrell and Steven Bado.

Publisher Allen Payton contributed to this article.

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Antioch Mayor Harper served with recall papers, he and supporters respond to his critics at city council meeting

Friday, October 17th, 2014

By John Crowder

City business took up only a fraction of the October 14 Antioch city council meeting, as the effort to recall Mayor Wade Harper continued to move forward. Public comments related to the recall, and the violence in the community and schools that appears to be driving it, dominated the session.

Antioch resident Rich Buongiorno, who has been the main force behind the recall movement, once again aired his dissatisfaction with the mayor during public comments. He began his statement by addressing the mayor directly, telling him, “You sir, have not done anything, for your position and for this city.” He went on to compare the election of the mayor to an investment made by the citizens of Antioch, telling Harper there had been “no return” on this investment. Passing forward a set of papers, he told the mayor, “We the voters, have the last word. Remember that. Mr. Mayor, you are being recalled.”

Buongiorno then served Harper with the Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition, which included more than the necessary valid signatures of registered voters in Antioch. See a copy of the form, here: HarperRecallIntention. The papers were filed with the City Clerk’s office on Thursday, October 16, and the County Elections Office verified the signatures. Now the recall supporters must obtain signatures from 20% of the registered voters in Antioch, as of the last election, which is approximately 8,600 voters, over the next 180 days, to send the recall to the ballot.

At the meeting, however, speakers in support of the mayor outnumbered those looking to oust him, or who brought forward concerns about the violence in and around the schools.

Iris Archuleta said that she would support the mayor and the members of the city council. She said that the naysayers were, “never satisfied, no matter how significant the change, and never will be.”

It does not help to point fingers and lay blame,” she said, “it never has, and it won’t help now.”

She told the city council and the mayor, “I will do everything I can to support your positive efforts.”

Pastor Kirkland Smith, Senior Pastor of Grace Bible Fellowship, said he was speaking as a supporter of Mayor Harper, and referenced others in the audience who were also in support of him. This resulted in loud applause and cheers from the audience, lasting almost half-a-minute, which ceased only when Smith pointed out that he was limited to three minutes in which to speak. He noted that he had two sons who had graduated from Deer Valley High School (DVHS).

The problems that were at Deer Valley today, were there two and four years ago, the difference was, there was an involved parent,” Smith said. “It seems to me, if there is a problem in our schools, it starts with inactive parents.”

He then continued emphasizing the need for active principals, an active school board, and an active school superintendent. Smith pointed out that the mayor had been active, as he had attended events in the Sycamore area, and more recently been “pitching a tent” at Deer Valley Plaza. Smith concluded by challenging what he termed, “finger pointers,” saying, “If you’re here to cast your stone, I’m leaving some stones right here.” Following his remarks, the room again erupted in cheers and applause.

Most of the other speakers echoed the themes established by Smith.

Velma Wilson, a youth education advisor with the local NAACP, expressed her support for the mayor. She said that she had been with the mayor at Deer Valley Plaza, and that she and Mayor Harper had spoken with “200 plus” students there. Noting that not all of the kids were doing bad, she said, “We need to let these kids know that we stand with them.”

Joseph Adebayo, past president of the NAACP, East County Branch, said that crime has been an issue in Antioch for a long time, but that he wanted to be part of the solution. He said that he believed the mayor was doing a good job, and that, “We are on the very right trajectory.”

Other speakers supporting the mayor included Odessa Lefrancois and Willie Mims, both also of the NAACP, East County Branch, Hiassen Bay, with the Green Jacket organization, Essence Phillips, a summer school principal with the Antioch Unified School District, and more Antioch residents.

Some speakers did bring forward concerns with violent behavior, especially as it relates to local schools. One speaker addressed the problems at Deer Valley Plaza, and expressed frustration with the fights occurring over the past eight weeks, both there and in the schools. She cited the Constitution of the State of California, saying that it provided for the rights of students and staff to attend safe schools.

Gil Murillo said he attended the school board meeting last week, and that he wanted city staff to attend school board meetings as well, as, “students are living in fear.” He continued, “This is about our kids.” “They just want to go to school. They just want to be safe.”

Jeff Belle, a candidate for the Contra Costa County Board of Education said, “I believe that an unsafe community creates unsafe schools, and vice-versa.”

Sandra McKee, who said that she has lived in Antioch for 67 years, expressed her disappointment with the state of the city. She told the council that they could do more, and that it was not the responsibility of teachers, but parents, to raise their kids properly.

She said that maybe parents need to be held accountable for the actions of their children.

Following public comments, Mayor Harper called Scott Bergerhouse, principal of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School (DLMHS) and Lori Cook, also of DLMHS, forward for a presentation of “Good Samaritan” certificates to four DLMHS students. The mayor said that he had created the award, and it was the first time he was giving it out. The two AUSD employees commended the four students for coming to the aid of an elderly woman they had seen fall in the Kaiser parking lot as they walked home from school. The four students, Brandon Rojas, Nnambi Agu, Chinasa Agu, and Ivuoma Umozurike, were honored by the principal, Ms. Cook, the mayor and the city council.

Finally, the agenda item Mayor’s Comments was reached. Mayor Harper spoke for several minutes, answering his critics. He began by mentioning that he teaches two classes for AUSD. “I’ve met some really solid students, that have gone through a lot,” he said.

The mayor went on to detail what he considered the accomplishments of his administration. He talked about the passage of Measure C, a tax measure used for funding public safety, and said that he and his family had worked extensively for its passage. He noted that the measure passed with 70% approval. He also said that he is working for the passage of Measure O.

Harper said that “this council” extended 3% at 50 retirement benefits in order to hire experienced police officers, “despite public criticism,” and, “as a result, we have hired several experienced lateral police officers.” He said, “It has proven to be the right decision that we made, collectively, as a city council.”

With respect to the budget, Harper said, “this council passed a budget to stop deficit spending.”

Harper spoke about his and his colleague’s engagement with the public.

This city council has attended countless public meetings,” he said.

Regarding the community cafés, he said he had attended almost every one.

I ran on a platform of zero tolerance for crime,” but, “everyone in this community needs to adopt this mind set,” Harper added. He noted the proliferation of neighborhood watch programs.

Harper said that, while he has a zero tolerance for crime, at the same time he has a lot of tolerance for young people, and that was why he had pitched a tent at Deer Valley Plaza, and had spent time meeting the students who pass through there after school. He also spoke about the meetings regarding the Deer Valley Plaza incidents that he had attended which included the police chief, superintendent of schools, the Deer Valley Plaza landlords, and representatives of the AUSD school board, district attorney’s office, and probation department. He advocated for the removal of the smoke shop there, and said that parents who bring their students to the Plaza to fight, need to be held accountable. He said it was a “small handful of kids” who cause problems.

Harper spoke about his accessibility and the transparency of city and council decisions. He called city manager Steve Duran, “the most transparent manager the city has ever had.” Harper said that, as mayor, he was willing to meet with all constituents, even those that have, “held up the recall papers,” if they have solutions.

Harper challenged the media to not just report the bad things happening in town, but also the good things.

Harper concluded, “I’m not a person that’s constantly pushing myself forward, or tooting my own horn, that’s not usually me. I’m a modest person. But I see that I have to start a campaign to pretty much let people know, these are some of the things I’m doing.” He then emphasized the teamwork that has felt was a hallmark of this city council.

Following Mayor Harper’s comments, the rest of the meeting moved quickly to adjournment.

The next meeting of the city council will take place on Tuesday, October 28, at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.

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Antioch School Board hears from frustrated residents about school safety, behavior problems

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

By John Crowder

Dozens of people attended the October 8th meeting of the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) Board, packing the small meeting room and lining the hallway leading to it. Several of those in attendance were there to speak out against what they described as unruly and violent behavior by students in schools throughout the district. Parents, students, and teachers all expressed their dismay over the situation.

Even so, some at the meeting defended the schools, blaming the media for focusing on the problem behavior exhibited by a minority of students and telling the protesters they should be providing solutions instead of just complaining.

The most poignant pleas came from the children, who led off the public comments. They spoke about being scared to go to school. One young girl, a student at Dallas Ranch Middle School (DRMS), spoke about a friend of hers, who she said, “had a knife waved in her face,” and her hair cut off by another student. “She dropped out,” said the speaker.

Kathryn O’Shea, a sophomore at Deer Valley High School, said she was, “tired of classmates disrupting our classes.” She said that, on average, 30 minutes of each class is lost due to disruptive behavior.

We can’t learn anything,” she concluded.

Parents attending the meeting expressed grave concern with the amount of violent and disruptive behavior by students taking place in the classroom, on campuses, and in the surrounding community.

Lara Lindeman said she was speaking because, “my daughter is not safe at Dallas Ranch Middle School.” She listed a host of examples. They included two teachers leaving the school after being threatened and assaulted by a student, a student threatening to “return and shoot” a teacher, and a boy trying to kick down the door to gain entry to a classroom while students inside were, “helpless,” and “repeated calls for security were unanswered” during the incident. She went on to say, “Restorative justice practices are being implemented, but we’re told it will take several years before we can expect measurable results. What about in the meantime? What about in the NOW?”

Gil Murillo, a parent with children at Deer Valley High School (DVHS), began by taking issue with a statement he attributed to a current board member that, “the campuses we have are just fine,” with respect to student safety. He went on to demand the resignation of the DVHS principal, Ken Gardner, saying his leadership at the school had failed. Murillo said that students were, “running out of control,” and cited gambling, drug use on the campus, and violations of the dress code as just some of the problems evident. “As a parent, I am tired of poor management,” he said. He continued, “It is time for change, immediate change!”

Frank DeLuna, Vice President of the PTSO at Black Diamond Middle School (BDMS) and a long-time volunteer, noted several problems on that campus. He talked of students smearing feces in the boys’ bathroom, smoking pot, using profanity, cursing out adults, and committing acts of violence. “Just last month we had an incident where some relatives of a student came on campus,” he said. “They went to a P.E. class and had their kid beat up another kid while they watched and kept anyone from helping. The student who got beat up was taken away in an ambulance. The P.E. teacher who tried to stop it was also injured.” DeLuna summarized the concerns of many in attendance, when he said, “Stop worrying about the rights of the bad kids, and start worrying about the rights of the good kids who want to learn, but can’t.” This statement was greeted by loud applause from the audience.

Ellen Marie Sun, Vice President of the PTO at Jack London Elementary School said she was there because she was, “upset about the increasing violence in our schools which often spills over to the rest of the community.” She related an incident she said she “personally” knew of at DVHS, in which a girl student was walking to the bathroom and, “a stranger grabbed her and tried to carry her away.” Saying that the administration had downplayed the incident, she asked, “Do we need someone to really finish the deed – a sexual assault, an attempted kidnapping, or to find a girl murdered in the bathroom to finally have AUSD and Principal Gardner say, ‘Hey, something needs to be done-enough is enough?’” She also spoke about the BDMS fight that was brought up by DeLuna.

Jamie Clee said that she was a parent with children in the second, fourth, and sixth grades. “I am here tonight to address my concerns with the violence and lack of classroom learning from disruptive students,” she said. “Why do I feel as if I am dropping my children off at juvenile halls?” In a written statement detailing her comments, she states, “The parents in this community are talking about a STRIKE!! We are ready to stop sending our kids into schools in which they feel scared, unprotected and are always looking over their shoulders.”

Although most speakers at the meeting expressed dismay with how the schools are being managed, AUSD did have supporters speaking up as well.

Angie Jorgenson, Deer Valley Band Booster Vice President, said she had children attending both DVHS and DRMS. “I am here in support of Deer Valley in light of recent events in the media and on campus,” she said.

Jorgenson said she did not want to, “discount anything that has been said tonight,” and said other speakers had expressed, “valid concerns,” but that some had, “let their anger get the best of them.” She called for better communication, and said, “We need to stop placing blame and start presenting solutions.” She called DVHS, “a good school.” She also indicated that the attention being given to the “problem group” was causing a false impression. “I believe the pervasive negativity by the community and the media is taking a toll on our kids and teachers.”

Velma Wilson, a youth education advisor with the local NAACP, said that she had been to Deer Valley Plaza with Antioch Mayor Wade Harper, and had spoken with some of the students there. She said that, “some of [the misbehavior] is because of a bad home life.” She went on to say, “Kids want to keep it up because of the media,” arguing that media reports about students acting out actually encourage that type of behavior.

Following Wilson’s statement, board member Claire Smith indicated her agreement. “I went and I helped at school,” she said. The problem is not with every child. It’s with a small group of children.” Referring to the reference made by Wilson to some of the children having a bad home life, she said, “You absolutely do grasp the situation. It’s a community working together issue. It starts with supporting these kids, and telling them they’re good kids.”

Other speakers challenged those in attendance to spend less time complaining, and more time at school helping out.

At one point, board president Joy Motts called on Bob Sanchez, Director, Student Support Services with AUSD, to comment. “The city has changed,” he said. “We are trying to do the best we can.” He went on to talk about having a “discipline matrix.” He also referenced an agreement he said the district has with the American Civil Liberty Union regarding suspensions and expulsions.

In the end, concerns with violence, both on and off school campuses, appear to be coming to a head, given the talk of a strike and the fact that different groups of disaffected parents seem to be coalescing. The issue has been a major point of discussion among candidates for school board, and will certainly remain a focus leading up to the November 4 election and beyond.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 22, at the AUSD office at 510 G Street. Meetings begin at 7:00 p.m.

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Congressman McNerney announces grant for Antioch to hire five more police officers

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Jerry McNerney (CA-09) announced today that the Antioch police department would receive a federal grant to allow the department to hire at least five additional officers.

Rep. McNerney wrote to the Justice Department encouraging officials to consider Antioch for the funding, which will allow the city to continue to deter gang violence and related crimes. The police department will also place an emphasis on hiring veterans with the new money.

The men and women of Antioch PD are working hard to keep their community safe,” said Rep. McNerney, “and I am glad to support their efforts by helping bring home federal money to let them put more officers on the street.”

The estimated amount of federal funds to be awarded over the three-year grant period is $625,000, which will be distributed though the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.

Congressman McNerney is a strong supporter of the COPS program. Over the summer he wrote an amendment that was passed by the House of Representatives allocating additional money to the COPS program for law enforcement agencies to purchase needed technology. He also wrote a bill that would encourage more hiring of veterans as police officers through the COPS program, building on the success Antioch has had hiring former service members.

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