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Ken Turnage announces candidacy for Antioch City Council in Fall 2016 election

Monday, March 21st, 2016
Ken Turnage II

Ken Turnage II

Antioch businessman and 2015 Citizen of the Year, Ken Turnage II announced his campaign for the Antioch City Council in the November election, on Monday.

“As a life-time resident and business owner of Antioch, I am pleased and excited to announce that this fall; I will be running for Antioch City Council,” he said. “Antioch is the town that I have grown up in and love. We have seen growing pains lately and I have witnessed some questionable decisions made by the current city council. With deep ties into the community, I feel that I will bring a positive perspective not seen on the council in some time. I represent a fresh start with a new approach to the business as usual mentality in Antioch. With some hard work, we can get Antioch back on track.”

Turnage, who was recently named the 2015 Antioch Citizen of the Year for Most Impact, shared why he is running.

“I plan on running a transparent campaign and with an open line of communication with residents,” he stated. “I look forward to discussing many issues facing our city and working on realistic solutions on budget issues, crime, and future growth.

“As a business owner, I know some of the challenges our local businesses face and we must make some adjustments at a city level to attract and retain businesses while giving them a chance to succeed,” Turnage continued.

“I consider myself truly independent and free of special interest groups which will allow for honest conversation and apply decision making skills with what is best for the city and community as a whole,” he added. “In the near future, I will be releasing information on a campaign kickoff event, a website launch, and more.  In the meantime, you may follow me on my Facebook page here,  call me at 754-5232 or email me at k2gc@comcast.net with your ideas and concerns.”

Turnage is a licensed general contractor and owner of K2GC, Inc. in Antioch with 20 employees. He and his wife Teresa have two daughters. He serves on the City of Antioch’s Economic Development Commission.

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Teenager shot in Antioch, Thursday night, police investigation continues Friday night

Friday, March 18th, 2016

By Sergeant Rick Smith, Antioch Police Community Policing Bureau

On Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 8:03 p.m., Antioch Police Officers and Medical Personnel responded to the area of Banyan Way for the report of a subject who had just been shot. Officers arrived on scene and found a single teenage victim suffering from a gunshot wound. He was alert and awake and transported to an area hospital for treatment.

No further information will be released at this time.

This investigation is ongoing and anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call the Antioch Police at (925) 778-2441. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

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Antioch resident, Gloria Martin, honored as 11th Assembly District 2016 Woman of the Year, at State Capitol, Monday

Monday, March 14th, 2016
2016 AD 11 Woman of the Year Gloria Martin holds her resolution on the floor of the Assembly, accompanied by Assemblymembers, from left,  Chad Mayes (Minority Leader), Cristina Garcia (Women’s Caucus Vice Chair), Speaker Anthony Rendon and Jim Frazier.

2016 AD 11 Woman of the Year Gloria Martin holds her resolution on the floor of the Assembly, accompanied by Assemblymembers, from left, Chad Mayes (Minority Leader), Cristina Garcia (Women’s Caucus Vice Chair), Speaker Anthony Rendon and Jim Frazier.

Sacramento, CA – Today, Monday, March 14, 2016, Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) honored Gloria Martin on the Assembly Floor as his 2016 Woman of the Year for the 11th Assembly District. Martin, a lifelong resident of Antioch, has quietly given back to her community through philanthropic support by way of the Martin Family Foundation and devoting countless volunteer hours throughout the community.

Gloria Martin and Jim Frazier 2“It is such an unexpected honor to be recognized for this award,” said Martin. “I would not be able to accomplish this great work without the help of all the other wonderful volunteers in our community.”

Martin developed her community spirit at a young age while attending Antioch schools, including Fremont Elementary, Antioch Junior High School and Antioch High School. She has since spent countless hours supporting children in the community. For over ten years she has been an active board member of the Antioch Schools Education Foundation. During this time she chaired the Fellows Award dinner honoring Antioch’s outstanding teachers and raised money to improve school classrooms through various grants.

In addition to her philanthropic work through local schools, Martin is a proud Rotarian with twenty years of perfect attendance and holding the office of Sergeant at Arms for many years. Martin is also an active member of the Holy Rosary church, Pittsburg Elks Club, Antioch Woman’s Club, Antioch Chamber of Commerce, and Umpqua Bank Advisory Board.

Marin regularly volunteers her time to support her community by participating in red ribbon week, various food banks, the Antioch Senior Center and the Antioch Historical Society. She also supports dozens of other nonprofits, including An Elderly Wish Foundation, the Police Activities League, Antioch High School, East County Boys & Girls Club, Leo Fontana Family Foundation, with a special place in her heart for the REACH Project.

“By selflessly dedicating her life to supporting her community, Gloria is the type of person we all wish to have in our lives,” said Frazier. “She truly lives the Rotary motto of ‘Service above Self’ and I am honored to name her my 2016 Woman of the Year for the 11th Assembly District.”

Frazier honored Martin in a ceremony this afternoon at the California State Capitol with an Assembly Resolution naming her an exemplary California woman.

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Antioch’s Dozier-Libbey high school to host National Agriculture Day event, Tuesday

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Dozier-Libbey Medical High School in Antioch will host a National Agriculture Day event on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 with the theme, “Stewards of a Healthy Planet.”. This will mark the 43rd anniversary of National Ag Day, which is celebrated in classrooms and communities across the country.

The event, to take place at the school’s Edible Garden located on campus, will include:

·      The Garden Club - Lucas Chilcote, Founder of the Garden Club and Senior at Dozier-Libbey will provide information about the club, their Edible Garden and the future of the club for 2017.

·      Bounty from the Box: The CSA Cookbook is your guide to enjoying more than 90 different fruits, vegetables, and herbs commonly grown by community-supported agriculture (CSA) farms across America. With more than 350 delicious, healthful recipes, you’ll never wonder what to do with your weekly subscription box again. Whether you’re a CSA subscriber, a farmers market shopper, a gardener, or simply a home cook, you’ll truly enjoy—and constantly use—this remarkable book. Eating is truly a social act. Far more than just a cookbook, Bounty also showcases CSA farms across America and the incredible ways they are feeding—literally and figuratively—their communities with exciting outreach programs, informative classes, dining events, food donation, land conservation efforts, and diverse employment opportunities.

The launch of a fundraising campaign selling Bounty from the Box with 35% proceeds of sales going towards the Garden Club. www.bountyfromthebox.com

·      Farmigo re-launch of Dozier-Libbey Farm to School Marketplace – Sample locally grown fruits, vegetables, cheeses, breads, etc..

Farmigo is on a mission to create a food system that’s better for everyone, from farmers to eaters. We believe that many of us are ready for an alternative way to shop, cook, and break bread with our families and friends. We’ve created a movement, founded on groups of neighbors ordering individually and picking up together, as a community. It’s made farm-to-neighborhood a viable option, where fresh food is more accessible than ever before, nothing goes to waste, and we support small farmers and foodmakers. www.farmigo.com

The Dozier-Libbey event marks a nationwide effort to tell the true story of American agriculture and remind citizens that agriculture is a part of all of us. A number of producers, agricultural associations, corporations, students and government organizations involved in agriculture are expected to participate. National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America. ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public’s awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society. Visit www.agday.org for more information on National Ag Day in 2016.

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Antioch Council hires new City Attorney, opposes new state homelessness bill

Friday, March 11th, 2016

By Nick Goodrich

At their regular meeting, on Tuesday, March 8th, the Antioch City Council approved the hiring of a new City Attorney, and extended road closures, and voted to oppose Senate Bill 876, which relates to homelessness in California.

The Council began with the hiring of the new City Attorney, Michael Vigilia, who has served as the City of Hayward as Assistant City Attorney since 2011. He was eager to begin serving the City of Antioch.

“I feel like I made the right decision in coming to Antioch,” Vigilia said.

He has over 12 years of experience practicing law in California, and was approved in a unanimous 5-0 vote by the Council.

City Council also held two public hearings during the meeting, to consider extending the closures of two roads in Antioch that have presented crime issues in the past: a section of Empire Mine Road, and a section of McElheny Road between East 6th Street and Fulton Shipyard Road.

The section of Empire Mine Road in question was originally closed in 2005, when Antioch resident Jack Roddy – whose property borders the road – came to the city to complain about ongoing crime, vandalism, and the illegal dumping of trash and other debris. The crime had become so bad at that point that in some instances, he reported people shooting at his cattle that grazed alongside the road. Since that time, that segment of Empire Mine has undergone five more extensions of the closure.

City staff recommended, in light of the fact that the crime issues have not yet been fully resolved, that the Council extend the closure of the road for the seventh time. They did so in a 5-0 vote, with the understanding that only 1 more temporary closure can be voted for before they must decide on whether or not to close the section permanently.

McElheny Road has had similar problems. The City Council voted to extend the closure of that section of road as well, which represents the second such closure since crime became an issue there in 2011.

The Council ended the meeting with discussion of State Senate Bill 876. The legislation was sponsored by State Senator Carol Liu in an effort to address the issue of homelessness in California. In effect, the new bill would provide state guidelines – a “one size fits all” approach for cities to deal with homelessness, among other things.

The Council was critical of the bill, with council members expressing their desire to remain in control of solving issues like homelessness in Antioch. The overwhelming sentiment from the Council was that local approaches and solutions to problems like homelessness prove more effective, with local representatives benefitting from an inside look at issues that they work to solve.

The League of California Cities, usually an avid supporter of local governments, brought the bill to the Council’s attention, and recommended that Mayor Wade Harper sign a letter opposing it.

“I understand what the state’s trying to do, to be an aid, but I think it hurts some of the city governments that are trying to do positive things to clean their cities,” Council Member Tony Tiscareno said.

The result of the City Council’s discussion was a unanimous, 5-0 vote authorizing Harper to sign the letter, in an effort to prevent the state from preempting Antioch and other cities like it, in their efforts to address issues like blight and homelessness.

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Southern California water agency to purchase Delta islands, could advance Delta Tunnels project

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

At a closed session board meeting Wednesday morning, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California authorized the purchase of four islands in the San Francisco Bay-Delta for an undisclosed sum.

The deal is highly controversial in Northern California as it would put Southern California’s most powerful water agency in control of a group of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta islands that can serve as water storage areas or entry points for the proposed $15 billion Delta Tunnels projects.
For months MWD has been considering the purchase of islands now used for farming. The islands mirror the path of the plan for the Delta Tunnels proposal.

The four island deal includes Bouldin Island, Webb Tract, Holland Tract, and Bacon Island. They cover approximately 20,000 acres of the Delta. Here (and below) is a map of the islands in the path of the Delta Tunnels.

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta spoke on the matter.

“It is troubling for the Delta region that Metropolitan Water District is going to acquire such a significant portion of Delta land and Delta water rights,” she said. “They have the resources to change law and policies statewide to maximize their access to Delta water in their favor. They will own two islands that are directly in the path of the proposed Delta Tunnels project, eliminating eminent domain concerns for that portion of tunnels construction. We believe that having MWD as a neighbor is an existential threat to the future of the Delta and Delta communities.”
Delta Tunnels opponents note that after nine years and a quarter of a billion dollars spent on the proposal, Delta Tunnel backers have still has not produced a legally acceptable plan that can pass environmental standards. On October 30, 2015 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the Draft Environmental Impact Report a failing grade of “Inadequate” due to lack of science about the impacts on the Delta ecosystem and endangered species.

For more information on the Restore the Delta visit www.restorethedelta.org.

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Sen. Glazer named Chairman of State Senate Banking & Finance Committee

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

Contra Costa lawmaker also joins Budget Panel

Sacramento – In an expansion of his role in the California State Senate, Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, (9th District), was named on Wednesday as Chairman of the Banking & Financial Institutions Committee and to serve on the Budget and Fiscal Review Committee.

Glazer, who was elected in May 2015, will serve on the Budget Subcommittee on State Administration and General Government. He also serves on the Public Safety, Insurance and Governmental Organization committees.

Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon made the nominations, which were approved by the Senate Rules Committee.

“I’m pleased to have someone with Steve’s knowledge shepherd the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee and join the Budget and Fiscal Review Committee,” de Leon said. “His experience will be critical to the committees as it takes on issues of great importance to all Californians that create economic opportunity and financial security.”

Glazer said he is “appreciative of the confidence that the President pro Tem is showing in me by tapping me as chairman of the important Banking and Finance Committee.

“One of the most important tasks of a legislator is to be a good steward of the state’s finances, so I’m pleased to have a seat at the budget table,” he added.

Glazer represents Antioch in California’s 9th State Senate District.

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Rep. McNerney announces ADA compliance legislation to benefit local businesses

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Bill aims to boost ADA compliance through notification to improve access for all patrons, give businesses more time to comply

Stockton, CA – Standing with small business advocates and community leaders, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) announced new legislation to promote greater compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) accessibility standards within the business community. ADA accessibility compliance lawsuits have hit the Stockton area particularly hard, with some businesses forced to shut down, relocate, or payout large settlements. New York, Alabama, Florida, and Pennsylvania are among other states also affected by ADA-related lawsuit abuse.

The COMPLI (Correcting Obstructions to Mediate, Prevent, and Limit Inaccessibility) Act, H.R.4719, focuses on increasing ADA accessibility compliance among businesses to prevent predatory lawsuits from “high-frequency litigants” that hurt small businesses while not always bringing resolution the accessibility issue.

“I have heard from numerous local businesses who were forced to shut down, lay off employees, pay out large settlements, or change locations because of repeated lawsuits and threats of lawsuits that leave these businesses with little to no financial resources or time to fix the problem and become compliant,” said McNerney. “My COMPLI Act would give businesses a 90-day period after notification of a potential infraction to correct the access barrier. Increasing ADA compliance among the business community is good for the local economy, and it is something we can achieve while at the same time ensuring that aggrieved individuals are still able to bring lawsuits against businesses for ADA infractions. The ADA gives equal rights and access to individuals with disabilities, and I want to make sure everyone has equal access to enjoy the businesses within our communities.”

The COMPLI Act will require a potential plaintiff or aggrieved individual to provide written notice to the owner of the business, by certified mail, which identifies the specific ADA violation and the date and time the individual experienced the barrier.

Some of the most common ADA infractions include: not having enough accessible parking spaces; having non-compliant or missing parking signs; and issues related to loading zones and van accessible aisles.

McNerney’s legislation provides the business owner 90 days from the date of notification that a barrier exists to correct the barrier, before any lawsuit or demand letter can be issued. A business owner may qualify for an additional 30 day extension if he or she attempts in “good faith” to remedy an access barrier but is unsuccessful within the original 90 day compliance period.

Good faith can be determined if the business owner has: secured the appropriate construction permits and hired contractors to complete construction; or has begun construction and has worked to minimize delays in completion.

The business owner must also notify its customers of the ADA violation while it is in the process of correcting the barrier. Businesses must provide this notification to customers within 15 days after receipt of an ADA violation notice.

The California Commission on Disability Access (CCDA) found that 54 percent of all ADA accessibility claims filed in California came from just two law firms, and 46 percent of those claims were filed by only 14 plaintiffs.

“As someone who has used a manual wheelchair for the past 17-years, I understand and appreciate the significance of the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, as a defense attorney I understand that the ADA is severely abused and has become a money making scheme for a small handful of attorneys and serial plaintiffs,” said Rachelle Golden, an ADA defense attorney.

The COMPLI Act defines a “high-frequency litigant” as an individual who has brought 10 or more civil actions alleging ADA violations within the previous 12-month period. The bill aims to limit a high-frequency litigant’s ability to repeatedly file lawsuits in bad faith and encourages business owners to invest in updating their properties to meet the accessibility standards of the ADA.

The legislation also prohibits damages from being awarded to plaintiffs who were not denied reasonable access or reasonable use to a facility because of an ADA violation, in an attempt to curb “drive-by” plaintiffs” that prey on businesses without ever entering them or attempting to engage them in a business transaction.

Lastly, the bill requires the Department of Justice to submit a report to Congress two years after the bill is enacted, which:

·        Determines how many people were categorized as a “high frequency litigant” during the two year period in each state

·        Provides analysis on whether the bill’s provisions had an effect on the number of ADA accessibility lawsuits filed

·        Provides analysis on whether the bill’s provisions have negatively impacted an individual’s ability to bring a legitimate, good-faith accessibility claim

·        Recommends whether an attorney’s fee cap should be introduced in the future to reduce ADA abuse

“Most businesses are unaware of what violations they potentially have on their property, and when served with a complaint, they are forced with a decision to fight against the lawsuit, or close their doors. Most often, complaints allege minor, if not trivial violations, that are easily correctable without much difficulty or expense. It is imperative that federal legislature catch up with California state law and provide a notice and opportunity to cure before a lawsuit can be commenced. The COMPLI Act would allow businesses the opportunity to learn of and correct ADA violations before they are forced to engage in costly litigation,” added Golden.

The COMPLI Act is supported by small business and small business advocacy groups.

The Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors took action on Thursday, February 25, 2016 to “support in concept” Congressman McNerney’s new bill to protect businesses and the community from “drive by lawsuits” in regards to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Harassment and threats by the unscrupulous is not the way to accomplish full compliance!  Fairness and cooperation will allow businesses to fully comply with the law if given a fair chance. It is important that the State of California follows the lead of Congressman McNerney and does the same,” said Judith Buethe, President of the Greater Stockton Chamber for 2015/16 and owner of Judith Buethe Communications.

Compliance with ADA has also hit many Antioch businesses including Celia’s Mexican Restaurant and the owners of the building where the New Beer Garden is located on West Second Street. The latter had to cut a doorway in the old, brick building and install a new handicap-access door.

“The Antioch Chamber of Commerce is excited to support the new legislation that Congressman McNerney is bringing forth to update the Americans with Disabilities Act to give our businesses the opportunity to improve their facilities in a timely manner and avoid unlawful suits that are ruining their businesses, the jobs they create, and the ability to support their family,” said Sean Wright, CEO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce.

Excessive ADA compliance lawsuits forced Chuck’s Hamburgers in Stockton to relocate after 55 years of service at the same location.

“I believe that this particular law was a good one when written.  The problem lies with the few people that take advantage of the loophole. I’d like to thank Rep. McNerney for his support on such delicate matters,” said Steve Grant, owner of Chuck’s Hamburgers. “I felt that this law wouldn’t be seen for the negative impact it has on our communities and small businesses because it is lawyer versus lawyer and they manipulate the law. I’d like to thank Rep. McNerney for asking people like me to share my experience and offering small business owners hope that laws such as this will be changed.”

“We are excited about the introduction of the COMPLI Act. This is a necessary bill to ensure that the intent of the ADA is unchanged while providing relief to business to come into compliance without frivolous lawsuits closing their doors. We believe this is a great opportunity for the ADA community to work together with the business community to better educate business on the needs and partner on compliance. We look forward to supporting Congressman McNerney on these efforts and advocating for the bill’s passage,” said Bob Gutierrez, Chairman-elect of the San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“We are so very glad Congressman McNerney has authored this badly needed bill,” said Pat Patrick, President and CEO of the Lodi District Chamber of Commerce. “Small businesses have been unfairly singled out and targeted by predatory lawyers taking advantage of ADA laws. The law without an enforcement clause has become an unfortunate opportunity for predatory lawyers. The provisions in Congressman McNerney’s ADA bill will give small businesses a 90-window to bring their business into ADA compliance.”

“This bill will allow businesses the opportunity to comply with ADA irregularities within a reasonable 90-day period without the burdensome legal costs of a civil suit. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy and this bill would protect them from predatory lawyers and individuals who target them to obtain a financial settlement. CVACC supports Congressman McNerney on this legislation,” said Dennis Lee, CEO and President of the Central Valley Asian-American Chamber of Commerce.

“The California Delta Chambers & Visitor’s Bureau fully supports Congressman Jerry McNerney’s COMPLI Act. ADA abuses cost local businesses much time and money. We feel this legislation will help curb some of the excesses,” said Bill Wells, Executive Director of the California Delta Chambers & Visitor’s Bureau.

The COMPLI Act is now referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.

Rep. Jerry McNerney serves California’s 9th Congressional District that includes portions of Antioch and Contra Costa, San Joaquin and Sacramento Counties. For more information on Rep. McNerney’s work, follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @RepMcNerney.

 

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