Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Council approves 35-home in-fill project by Discovery Builders on split vote

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Thorpe, Wilson oppose

By Allen Payton

In other action at their Tuesday, April 10th meeting, the Antioch City Council split on the approval of a 35-home in-fill development project by Discovery Builders, known as the Oakley Knolls. The subdivision will be located off Oakley Road between Willow Avenue and Phillips Lane, next to the Almondridge subdivision in the northeast portion of the city. See the entire staff report and agenda item, here: Oak Knolls Project 04-10-18

Community Development Director Forrest Ebbs offered the report on the project and said staff recommended approval.

Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe expressed his surprise with the application for the project in light of the lawsuits filed by the same developer against both the city and DeNova Homes with a recently approved project in Antioch. DeNova Homes in turn submitted a letter to the city on Tuesday, with a copy of their lawsuit against Discovery builders.

“The audacity of Discovery Builders,” Thorpe said. “I can’t believe what I’m looking at. I sat down with Seeno, Jr. He was fine with everything. We’re trying to move forward this city…and there’s Discovery Builders standing in the way. It’s almost insulting.”

“The lawsuit Discovery Builders has with DeNova Homes…piece mealing the environmental,” he said to the developer’s representative.

“I’m not sure what you’re referring to,” he responded. “I got this letter three hours ago.”

Interim City Attorney Derek Cole interjected, “We have one developer who has filed a lawsuit against a city…then challenged another developer. Now they’re before the city asking for entitlements.

They’re making arguments that are inconsistent with that. For purposes of your actions, tonight those should be based on the merits.

Councilwoman Monica Wilson said, “I too am perplexed by this proposal. Talk to me about the EIR (Environmental Impact Report). I don’t see that in this process. They’re also asking for a lot of exceptions on this.

Ebbs responded saying, “They’ve determined that every impact can be mitigated. A mitigated negative declaration can be arrived at if they’re going to address each impact. Generally, a neg dec is appropriate for a project of this size. It would not normally trigger an EIR.”

Tiscareno had some questions on setbacks, then said, “I understand the confusion by some of my council mates. We received this same email this afternoon.”

Ebbs responded, “when the lawsuit is against us, we have to defend our own actions.”

The council then discussed and debated Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock’s idea to have more lots allowing for RV parking. They ultimately decided to leave it as was proposed to six lots.

The council then voted 3-2 to approve the project with Mayor Sean Wright, Councilmembers Tony Tiscareno and Ogorchock in favor, and Thorpe and Wilson voting against.

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Antioch Council districting workshop results in changed Quadrants map, gets heated at the end

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

The revised quadrants map finalized at the council workshop on Tuesday, April 10, 2018.

By Allen Payton

During the special workshop of the Antioch City Council on the maps for the district elections on Tuesday evening, April 10, they made changes to the Quadrants B map. It also got a bit contentious among the council members at the end. Fewer than 25 members of the public were in attendance.

The council considered realigning the Quadrants B map along the current congressional district boundaries. Councilman Tony Tiscareno and Mayor Sean Wright offered the most proposals for moving the lines to that map.

There was a discussion about the population growth since the 2010 Census, which the council must use for the basis of dividing the city into districts. One argument was that the population grew more on the south side of Highway 4. However, Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe disagreed.

“We can’t assume all the growth went to south and southeast Antioch,” he said. “I don’t put a lot of stock in the difference between 102,000 and 114,000 population. Many of the homes were empty.”

Interim City Attorney Derek Cole said, “Quadrants A would address the issues of illegally diluted voting. It didn’t really respect communities of interest.”

Wright offered some changes to the quadrants map, which the consultants from Q2 made.

Councilwoman Monica Wilson said, “It seems to be the changes that were made…we’re splitting communities of interest.”

Tiscareno said “I’ve gotten many calls.” Thorpe said, “I’ve gotten many calls over on Hillcrest and Deer Valley. People looked at me like I was crazy when I proposed the quadrants.”

Cole then suggested the council rename the revised Quadrants B map to Quadrants C.

The revised map uses major thoroughfares on the south side of Highway 4 as the dividing lines, such as Putnam Drive, Lone Tree Way and Deer Valley Road, as well as the Delta DeAnza Trail on the west side of the city.

Public Comments

Marty Fernandez was the first member of the public to speak.

“I favor that C, now in the districting,” he said. “If one council member is good for downtown, two would be better, right, Lamar?” No one has mentioned how this would affect Viera Lane. How many people live out there? How much is this going to cost the city? Let’s have some transparency, here.”

Garry Holman introduced himself as “a former two-term member of the city’s Economic Development Commission.”

“The city government has promoted or professed to promote a common interest,” he said. “Avoid the creation of a wrong side and a right side of the tracks, namely Highway 4. I don’t think Antioch is big enough for district elections.”

Holman said it will create “clear balkanization.”

“I oppose Working Draft 1,” he stated. “Working Draft 1 will only codify the right side and wrong side of town.” He concluded his remarks saying he supported the quadrants map giving downtown two council members.

Former Councilman Ralph Hernandez said he opposes districting and submitted a letter about his views.
“This started out as a racial threat, based on the Latino vote of other cities,” he said. “It does not represent Antioch. I’m very angered that the Latino community is being used for a lawsuit against Antioch. “

Former Councilwoman Norma Hernandez spoke next, saying “Looking at the maps to me that’s gerrymandering. The city attorney can only advise you. The decision is your own and the consequence is your own.”

“This totally disenfranchises the voters of Antioch,” she added. “A house divided against itself, you know that can’t stand.”

Jeffrey Klinger was the last to speak saying, “I haven’t heard anything that’s changed my opinion of districting. It’s difficult to feel good about it as a citizen. But you had my sympathies.

My personal preference would be Quadrants C. I have a visceral reaction to using Highway 4 as the dividing line.”

Cole said the the council will bring back the final decision on May 8 and you would bring back two maps.

“What I need tonight is do you want one map or two maps? he asked. “We have to publish these maps in the paper. We’re kind of at a critical juncture, here.”

Accusations of Self-Serving Gerrymandering by Councilmembers

The council members then discussed the matter and it got a bit heated.

Thorpe said “this is costing us something and the public should know how much. Marty, I would agree with you that North antioch deserves two council people. When you look at B section what you see there’s a lot of people who live in that area. If you’re an incumbent in that area you won’t be going anywhere for a very long time. The voting pattern…dilutes the voting power for north Antioch. What these maps don’t do, in any of these maps, it doesn’t create a Latino majority district. We won’t be creating a majority minority district. We’re a pretty integrated community. Your comments about downtown Antioch I couldn’t disagree more. I think it’s interesting how everyone uses Highway 4, uses this as a demarcation line. The survey we took the people north of the freeway are very unsatisfied with the city of Antioch. Two-thirds of the people in southeast Antioch were satisfied. People are not happy in north Antioch. Some of that has been caused by the continued expansion in south Antioch. We didn’t look at other cities, we looked at Antioch and that’s how we learned of the racially polarized voting.”

Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock said, “I too went out and walked. I went to the C Street area…showing them the maps. Most of them didn’t know we were doing the districting. I left over there and went to Beede Park. The majority of them I got signatures wanted Quadrants B. Several of them from C Street wanted Quadrants B. We are listening to what everyone is saying. We got several emails that were boilerplate emails. They’re talking about the school districts. They’re going to have five districts. So, what the school district does has nothing to do with what the city does. I know it’s a hard thing. We talk about Rivertown. It’s not everything below Highway 4.”

Tiscareno then said, “This is a very difficult situation. I had the pleasure to meet with some of the constituents, especially those who support Working Draft 1 and heard their stories. A lot of people did get a hold of me in regards to the Quadrants map. There are three maps that we’re looking at. This was really rushed…put toward us in a manner we might be making rash decisions. I thought we were going to have an ordinance on this. Putting forth a map before we have an ordinance is an oxymoron to me. We’re back down to two. If that’s what we’re doing then I would love to hear from the public. The ones who are adamant…I heard you. But there’s 116,000 people in the community and I want to hear from others. Working Draft 1 and Quadrants C.”

Wilson then said, “I haven’t put out my preference. I haven’t touched any of the maps. I’m uncomfortable with C because I feel like a little gerrymandering was going on. I too have been out in the community. The majority is Working Draft 1. At the end of the day moving the line there’s a preference to you.”

Wright weighed in saying, “I’m still against this. But we’ve been told by our attorney that if we fought this we would probably lose. We have to be responsible with the fiscal. How do we keep Antioch the best that we can over the long run. I’m OK with Quadrants C.”

He then defended the changes he made to the quadrants map saying, “When you gerrymander you draw crazy lines to make sure you have the people in your district. When drawing the lines I went down the major thoroughfares. I didn’t look at which family is where. I’m in favor of Quadrants C going forward and Working Draft 1.”

Thorpe said, “she’s not referring to the changes that Mayor Wright was doing. She was referring to the area over here (pointing to the change in lines between Districts A and D of the Quadrants map). This is why I hate this process. It shouldn’t be in the hands of politicians. Don’t dismiss the people who are trying to participate in the process. Whether they are signing a petition or signing someone else’s letter. I find that particularly unfortunate.”

Tiscareno was not happy saying, “when pointing toward the Gentrytown are, when looking at Working Draft 1 or Quadrants B the Gentrytown area remains intact. Quadrants B or C go against me. Working Draft 1 actually benefits me. But I’m doing this for the benefit of the community. I do take some offense that (others were saying) gerrymandering is taking place.”

Cole then said, “either Working Draft 1 or Quadrants C, legally speaking either map would be sufficient if enacted…in compliance with the Voting Rights Act. I feel I have direction from council to move forward with Working Draft 1 and Quadrants C.”

The workshop adjourned and the council went into regular session.

The council meeting for deciding on which map the council will adopt was moved to May 8 from the special meeting that was previously scheduled for Monday, April 23. According to City Manager Ron Bernal the council can’t adopt an ordinance at a special council meeting and the City Attorney got permission from the other attorney threatening the lawsuit to extend the deadline to complete the process.

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Antioch Council to hold special workshop to finalize district elections map before regular meeting Tuesday

Monday, April 9th, 2018

By Allen Payton

On Tuesday night, April 10, 2018 the Antioch City Council will hold a special workshop at 5:30 p.m. prior to their regular meeting at 7:00 p.m. to consider finalizing the drawing of the map for district elections. The council is considering two maps, one which creates a district north of the freeway known as Working Draft 1 and a second, known as the Quadrants which splits the north side of the freeway into two different districts.  The council will make efforts to redraw the Quadrants map but decided at their last meeting to leave the Working Draft 1 map as it is. Please see related article, here.

During their regular meeting, the council will hold a public hearing on and vote whether or not to even move forward with district elections. See complete agenda by clicking, here.

If so, then at a special meeting on Monday, April 23 the council will vote on which map they will use and finally, whether to implement district elections in 2018 or 2020.

The meeting is held in the Council Chambers at 200 H Street in Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown. It can be viewed on local TV channel or via livestream on the city’s website at http://www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CityGov/citycouncilmeetings.htm.

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Los Medanos College to hold groundbreaking ceremony for new Brentwood Center

Monday, April 9th, 2018

Los Medanos College (LMC) will be holding a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Brentwood Center on Wednesday, April 18, at 1:00 p.m. at the site of the future facility.  The new site is located at Pioneer Square and Miwok Place in Brentwood (near the intersection of Vineyards Parkway and Marsh Creek Road, just off of Highway 4).  The public is welcome to attend and the event is free; RSVPs are not required, and complimentary parking will be available.

This groundbreaking ceremony celebrates upcoming construction of a permanent Brentwood Center, which will expand and enhance learning opportunities for LMC students and Contra Costa County residents in the easternmost part of the College’s service area.  The new one-story Center, designed by Ratcliff Architects, will be approximately 55,000 square feet.  The project will be constructed on a 17.5 parcel purchased by Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) in 2011.  It will feature instructional classrooms, science labs, student support services, library resources, tutorial labs, bookstore and food service areas, “linger and learn” space, faculty/staff offices, and more than 700 parking stalls.  The current Brentwood Center, located in a leased facility at 101A Sand Creek Road in Brentwood, first opened in 2001.  The existing space consists of 22,000 square feet and serves approximately 2,800 students – accounting for about one-third of LMC’s enrollment.

The permanent $65 million facility is made possible through funding from CCCCD Bond Measures A (2006) and E (2014), thanks to support from voters in Contra Costa County.  Construction is expected to be completed in 18-24 months, with the new Brentwood Center projected to open in Spring 2020.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Adams, jadams@losmedanos.edu or (925) 473-7302.

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Couple sees what appears to be a UFO over Antioch Wednesday morning

Friday, April 6th, 2018

Antioch resident, Paris Price and her fiancé witnessed and took a video of what appeared to be a UFO over Antioch, early Wednesday morning, April 3.

“I feel a little weird doing this but, I’ve never experienced something so fascinating,” she wrote. “I was referred to find an editor to see if anyone else can come forward to this event. Or have witnessed similar experiences in our area. The object came close in contact nearly landing while my fiancé was driving. It was no ball of light up close. I know what I saw. Happened Tuesday (night, Wednesday morning) at 12 AM around Country Hills and Deerfield.

Did anyone else see the phenomenon? 

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Chase Bank branch in Antioch robbed Friday morning

Friday, April 6th, 2018

Chase Bank branch on Lone Tree Way. Photo courtesy of GoogleMaps.

By Sergeant James Stenger 3604, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Friday, April 6, 2018 at approximately 9:51 AM, a black male adult walked into the Chase Bank at 4300 Lone Tree Way in Antioch and gave a teller a demand note, for cash. The suspect indicated that he was armed with a gun, but no gun was seen. The male fled the bank on foot with an undetermined amount of cash. The suspect was not located, and this case is still being investigated at this time.

This preliminary information is made available by the Field Services Bureau. There will be no further information released regarding this case at this time.

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

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Attempted armed robbery of Antioch jewelry store Friday morning

Friday, April 6th, 2018

Inside Lauryn Jewelers. Photo from Yelp.

By Acting Lieutenant Rick Martin #3343, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On April 6, 2018, at approximately 10:41 a.m., the three males suspects were armed and attempted to rob the Lauryn  Jewelers store, located at 5887 Lone Tree Way in Antioch. As the suspects, a 16-year-old male from Pittsburg, and a 15-year-old male and 26-year-old male from Oakland, fled the store, the store clerk called 9-1-1 and provided a detailed description of the suspects and the vehicle they were driving.

An Antioch PD Officer located the vehicle on Highway 4 and a vehicle pursuit ensued. The pursuit ended when the suspect vehicle became disabled and stopped in the area of Highway 4 (bypass) and Fairview Avenue. The suspects fled on foot from the vehicle and into a nearby retirement community in the City of Brentwood. Antioch PD with the assistance of Brentwood PD and Pittsburg PD quickly established a perimeter in the neighborhood. All three suspects were located and taken into custody without further incident.

Anyone who may have information regarding the incident is encouraged to contact the Antioch Police Department at 925-778-2441. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

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CASE Team arrests Antioch man for illegal gun running

Friday, April 6th, 2018

Guns seized in arrest by CASE Team included an AR-15. Photo by CCCSheriff

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

The CASE (Contra Costa County Anti-Violence Support Effort) Team last month launched an investigation into a person who was allegedly buying guns in Nevada (that were illegal in California), transporting them into California and selling them. Following the investigation, the CASE Team obtained an arrest warrant for 50-year-old Virgilio Salazar of Antioch and a search warrant for his home.

Salazar was arrested on March 27, 2018. During a search of his home, the CASE Team seized a .223 Colt AR-15 as-sault rifle, CZ 9mm semi-auto assault pistol, three large capacity rifle magazines, and two large capacity pistol magazines.

Salazar was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on the following charges: importing an assault rifle, possession of an assault rifle, and importing large capacity magazines. He is being held in lieu of $300,000 bail. He has since bailed out.

The CASE Team is a joint effort by the Office of the Sheriff, California Department of Justice, California Highway Patrol, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Pittsburg Police Department, Walnut Creek Police Department, and Probation Officers from the Contra Costa County Probation Department. CASE was created in November 2011 as a collaborative effort to reduce violent crimes in Contra Costa, especially those related to illegal firearms.

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