Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Antioch Council hires first African American as City Attorney

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

Thomas Lloyd Smith. Photo from his LinkedIn page.

Harvard Law School graduate, San Leandro Assistant City Attorney

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, the Antioch City Council voted unanimously to hire Thomas Lloyd Smith as the new City Attorney. He will receive an annual salary of $195,000 plus benefits. He replaces Derek Cole who has served as Antioch’s Interim City Attorney for the past six years.

As an attorney in the law firm of Meyers Nave Riback Silver & Wilson, Smith serves as Assistant City Attorney for the City of San Leandro. He also assists in the provision of general counsel services to the City of El Cerrito, City of Larkspur, and Central Contra Costa Sanitary District.

“In the spirit…in the course of our community, we’ve come a long way,” Councilman Lamar Thorpe stated. “At one point, Antioch was a sundown town where African Americans were run out of town. I think it’s an important occasion during this Black History Month, by appointing our first African American City Attorney for the City of Antioch.”

With that he made a motion to appoint Smith.

“We went through an extensive process,” said Mayor Sean Wright. “Thomas is an exciting appointment.

Smith then spoke, introducing his wife, Danielle Smith.

“This is one of the happiest days of my life, second to the marriage to my wife,” he said. “When we first came to Antioch to find a home…I truly believe this slogan ‘opportunity lives here’…I would also say ‘diversity lives here.’”

“We’ve enjoyed the food here, we’ve really enjoyed the culture, the people,” Smith continued. “We can really anticipate what’s ahead. We’re really excited to be a part of it. We really know the vision you’ve set forward.”

“This is an honor,” he stated “I look forward to working with you all…and helping create the bright future that Antioch has.”

The council then voted 5-0 to hire Smith.

“If you were worried, tonight, you didn’t need to be,” Wright added with a smile.

According to the city staff report, “while working for Garcia Hernandez & Sawhney, Mr. Smith supported a city, a special district and several community college entities.

“His earlier legal experiences were with two Boston based law firms where he supported public policy issues and provided advisory services for non-profits, star-ups and venture capitalists. Mr. Smith has extensive experience in public law, contract law, conflicts of interest, workplace investigations, employee discipline and DFEH/EEOC matters.

“He has dealt with issues of the Political Reform Act, Ralph M. Brown Act (open meeting law) and the Public Records Act. Prior to completing law school, Mr. Smith worked for three years as an administrative manager for a global law firm where he oversaw four departments with responsibility for business planning and the profit and loss statement. Mr. Smith also founded and was executive director for a Boston based charter school geared towards grades 6-8.

He started his professional career as a business analyst for McKinsey & Company in New York.”

According to his profile page on the Meyers Nave website, Smith’s current practice areas are focused on Municipal and Special District Law, Labor and Employment, and Public Contracts. His “senior management experience includes managing four departments across all offices of a global corporate law firm with more than 500 attorneys.”

He earned his law degree from Harvard Law School, a Master’s degree in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor of Science in Education, graduating magna cum laude from Seton Hall University.

Smith is a member of the Oakland Police Commission, currently serving as its chairperson.

He will begin his new position on March 1, 2019.

To read Smith’s complete biography, click here: ThomasSmith-Bio

 

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Man shot multiple times in Antioch Sunday afternoon, police seek suspect

Monday, February 4th, 2019

By Sgt. Rick Smith, Antioch Police Field Services – Patrol

On Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019 at approximately 1:55 P.M., Antioch Police Dispatch began receiving calls regarding shots being fired in the area of Lemontree Way and Sycamore Drive. Antioch Officers arrived in the area and found a 30-year-old male suffering from gunshot wounds. Officers rendered aide until medical personnel arrived on scene. The victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment and is currently listed in critical condition.

Officers are currently following up on investigative leads. No further information is being released at this time due to this active investigation.

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

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Antioch Council to hold special Visioning and Strategic Plan Study Session Saturday, Feb. 2

Friday, February 1st, 2019

The Antioch City Council will hold a special Visioning and Strategic Plan Study Session in the Antioch Police Department Community Room at 300 L Street on Saturday, Feb. 2 beginning at 9:00 a.m. The public is welcome to attend and offer their comments to the council. ACC020219 

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Man, woman shot in Antioch Wednesday evening, police seek shooter

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

By Corporal Steve McElroy #2500, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On January 30, 2019, at approximately 6:47 p.m., the Antioch Police Department received a call from the 4800 block of Cushendall Way regarding two people shot.  Upon officers’ arrival, they located a 32-year-old female, and a 29-year-old male both suffering from gunshot wounds.  Neither victim’s injuries were life threatening, and both were transported to an area hospital and were expected to recover.

No suspect(s) were immediately located, and the case currently remains under investigation.

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

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Antioch resident Samantha Olive Barnhouse named Carnegie Hero for saving man from burning house

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

Samantha Olive Barnhouse (with glasses). Photo courtesy of City of Antioch.

By City of Antioch

We’re honored to share that Antioch resident Samantha Olive Barnhouse has recently been awarded the Carnegie Medal for an extraordinary act of heroism.

Thirty-year-old Samantha Olive Barnhouse saved Lobis Burton, 78, from a burning house on Feb. 17, 2018, in Antioch. Alerted to the fire, Barnhouse, who lived across the street from Burton’s apartment building, entered Burton’s apartment. She moved past the burning kitchen to reach Burton, who was sitting in a wheeled desk chair in a bedroom, unable to move due to an injured hip.

Barnhouse pulled the desk chair through the bedroom and into the hall, and as flames and smoke intensified, she moved the chair past the kitchen and to the front door. The chair became stuck, and Barnhouse pulled on it, freeing it and causing her and Burton to fall outside beneath flames issuing overhead through the doorway.

Within a minute, the apartment’s windows shattered due to the heat. Burton was hospitalized for smoke inhalation and a broken hip, but he was no burned. Barnhouse was treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation; she recovered

About Carnegie Hero

The Carnegie Medal is given throughout the U.S. and Canada to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. With this final announcement of 2018 recipients, a total of 10,062 Carnegie Medals have been awarded since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission Chair Mark Laskow said each of the awardees or their survivors will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the more than 114 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $40.5 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.

To get more information about Carnegie Hero, visit their website: https://www.carnegiehero.org/

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Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial seeks legal professionals to volunteer

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

Deer Valley High Law Academy team will be one of 17 competing

Bay Area soon-to-be, practicing, and retired law professionals are needed to provide assistance to their future brethren at the upcoming 38th Annual Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial Program, held on seven early weekday evenings during late January and early February, in the Martinez Court Rooms. Last year, close to 100 Bay Area practicing and retired attorneys and sworn judges, as well as third-year law students volunteered their time with the Mock Trials.

Coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), Mock Trial is an academic event provided for high school students. The hands-on educational program was created to help students acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society. This year’s case, People v. Klein: A young adult is charged with two felony counts: making a false report of an emergency (in this case, commonly referred to as “swatting”) and making a criminal threat.

“This program is a great tool to ensure that our students understand the workings of the trial courts and thus the importance of an independent judiciary, says,” says Contra Costa County Presiding Judge Barry Baskin. Judge Baskin, a long-time Mock Trial volunteer, encourages all of his local fellow law professional to join him in assisting with this year’s Mock Trial Competition.

Teams of high school students work with teachers and volunteer coaches to prepare their version of the criminal case, from both the prosecution and defense perspectives.  Students assume the roles of trial attorneys, pre-trial motion attorneys, witnesses, clerks, bailiffs, artists, and court journalists. Mock Trial judges and attorneys score their performance and provide immediate feedback. Winning teams advance through seven rounds of competition. The county’s champion advances to the State finals. This year, there will be 17 Mock Trial teams competing, representing high schools throughout all of Contra Costa County.

Volunteers will score two competing schools that argue the case in their assigned court. Each night, will begin with a 15-minute rules and regulations training, then the volunteers will go into their scheduled courtrooms to serve as Mock Trial judge and scorers.  The Mock Trials’ scorers are made up of Bay Area deputy district attorneys and deputy public defenders, as well as public-sector, private-practice, and corporate lawyers. In addition, seasoned law students are also welcome to participate. A practicing or retired judge or commissioner will preside over each trial, and also serves as one of the trial’s scorers.

“We applaud the hard work and time our students and their coaches put in to prepare for our Mock Trial program,” said Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey. “In addition, we are grateful for the continued generous volunteer support we receive from our county’s Judicial, District Attorney, and Public Defender offices, as well as so many of our current and retired public- and private-practice attorneys. This successful program would never come together without so much support from the community.”

Teams from the following 17 Contra Costa County high schools will be competing:
Acalanes (Lafayette), Alhambra (Martinez), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Carondelet High (Concord), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), De Anza High (Richmond), Deer Valley Law Academy (Antioch), Dougherty Valley (San Ramon), El Cerrito (El Cerrito), Hercules Middle/High (Hercules), Heritage (Brentwood), Kennedy (Richmond), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Miramonte (Orinda), Monte Vista (Danville), and Richmond (Richmond).

Last year, several students from the Dear Valley High Law Academy earned individual awards including Loren Paylage, Kyle Lewis, Jafar Khalfani-Bey Kiara Chatman, Tristen Patel, Orianna Todd, and Elizabeth Vargas.

Schedule for 2019 Contra Costa County High School Mock Trials:

Preliminaries: January 29 and 31; February 5 and 7, – 5:00-8:30 p.m. (Nine competitions each night)

Quarterfinals: February 12, 5:00-8:00 p.m. (Four competitions)

Semifinals: February 14, 5:00-8:00 p.m. (Two competitions)

Final and Consolation: February 19, 5:00-8:00 p.m. (Two competitions)

Mock Trial will be headquartered at the A.F. Bray Courthouse, 1020 Ward Street, in Martinez.

Interested volunteers can learn more by visiting the CCCOE’s Mock Trial Web page, or contacting Jonathan Lance at jlance@cccoe.k12.ca.us or (925) 942-3429.

The two highest-scoring teams will advance to the finals on Tuesday, February 19. The winning team will then represent Contra Costa County at the California State Mock Trial Competition, held in Sacramento, Calif., March 22-23. The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held May 16-18, Athens, Georgia.

In 1977, the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) introduced the concept of mock trials to the Los Angeles schools. In 1980, the program expanded to the state level. The California Mock Trial Program currently involves more than 36 counties and over 8,000 student participants from more than 400 teams. Approximately 1,500 attorney volunteers serve as team coaches and scorers, and 500 Municipal, Superior, and Appellate Court judges preside over the trials.

Preliminaries: January 29 and 31; February 5 and 7, – 5:00-8:30 p.m. (Nine competitions each night)

Quarterfinals: February 12, 5:00-8:00 p.m. (Four competitions)

Semifinals: February 14, 5:00-8:00 p.m. (Two competitions)

Final and Consolation: February 19, 5:00-8:00 p.m. (Two competitions) 

Mock Trial will be headquartered at the A.F. Bray Courthouse, 1020 Ward Street, in Martinez.

Interested volunteers can learn more by visiting the CCCOE’s Mock Trial Web page, or contacting Jonathan Lance at jlance@cccoe.k12.ca.us or (925) 942-3429. 

The two highest-scoring teams will advance to the finals on Tuesday, February 19. The winning team will then represent Contra Costa County at the California State Mock Trial Competition, held in Sacramento, Calif., March 22-23. The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held May 16-18, Athens, Georgia.

In 1977, the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) introduced the concept of mock trials to the Los Angeles schools. In 1980, the program expanded to the state level. The California Mock Trial Program currently involves more than 36 counties and over 8,000 student participants from more than 400 teams. Approximately 1,500 attorney volunteers serve as team coaches and scorers, and 500 Municipal, Superior, and Appellate Court judges preside over the trials. 

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To prevent wildfire Frazier bill would require utilities to move electrical equipment, bury or fireproof it

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

Says “PG&E must be required to pay every cent it owes victims”

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) has introduced a bill to require the state’s electric utility companies to move their equipment and transmission lines out of forests, and other regions where the potential for fire is high, or bury or fireproof it, to prevent the ignition of devastating and deadly wildfires.

“Like all Californians I am horrified that our state has become increasingly powerless against wildfires indiscriminately destroying communities and taking lives every fire season,” Frazier said. “Climate change has made us more vulnerable and California’s major utility companies have failed to keep up with this new reality. Their equipment has ignited thousands of wildfires in recent years and many of these blew up into destructive and deadly infernos. The environmental damage caused by these fires is appalling. Forests are scarred for decades. The loss of life due to an inattentive safety net is unconscionable. We need common-sense solutions now. Requiring utility companies to take responsibility for their equipment in order to safeguard California is reasonable and just.”

AB 281 would require utilities to relocate their transmission lines out of forests and other areas where the potential for fire is high. If relocation is not possible, they would be required to bury the lines. If it’s not possible to relocate or bury the lines, they would be required to improve the equipment to “prevent, and minimize the risk” of the equipment igniting fires.

A recent Los Angeles Times investigation found that equipment owned by California’s three largest utility companies started more than 2,000 wildfires in a 3-1/2 year period ending in 2017. The report found the state lacks the resources to monitor whether utility companies are properly maintaining their transmission line right-of-ways to protect against vegetation coming into contact with their equipment and sparking fires.

“The current system, with the state relying on the utility companies to police themselves, is not working,” Frazier added. “There is no bigger issue facing our state than this right now, and we cannot wait to take action any longer. The way of doing business with these utilities needs to change by recognizing what’s been done in the past doesn’t work anymore.”

Frazier issued the following statement after California’s largest investor-owned utility company, Pacific Gas & Electric, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today.

“PG&E is solvent with a guaranteed revenue stream. To evade responsibility for the devastation caused by the company’s negligence would be unconscionable. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2001 and came back stronger than ever. Whatever happens, PG&E must be required to pay every cent it owes to victims of the devastating wildfires the company caused.”

Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.

 

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Police help three escape from hallucinating gunman inside Antioch home Sunday evening

Monday, January 28th, 2019

Ex-boyfriend of one of the residents

By Lieutenant Powell Meads #3917, Antioch Police Field Services

On Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019 at approximately 5:18 PM, the Antioch Police Department began receiving reports of a male subject who was armed with a gun inside a home, in the 3900 block of Finch Drive. It was reported that the male was possibly under the influence of a controlled substance, acting irrationally, and had pointed the gun at other occupants of the home. Three adults were inside the home and were hiding in an upstairs bedroom. Antioch Police Officers arrived on scene and set up a perimeter on the residence. They were able to make contact with the three victims, two 18-year-olds and one 22-year-old, through a second story window, and confirm the responsible was on the first floor, still armed and hallucinating / acting erratic.

After a short time on scene, a gunshot was heard from inside the residence. Officers quickly approached the residence and prepared to make entry, while simultaneously beginning to evacuate the three victims from the second story window and onto the driveway. As this was occurring, the responsible began to exit the front door of the residence, where officers were able to detain him peacefully.

The responsible was a 40-year-old resident of Antioch, who was determined to be in a previous dating relationship with the primary resident. The responsible was a convicted felon who was on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS), with an active warrant for violating his PRCS terms. A loaded semi-auto handgun was located inside the residence, along with additional ammunition and evidence the gun was just fired. The responsible was booked into County Jail for various weapons violations, violation of probation, and assault with a firearm.

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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