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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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 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.”