Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Save the Yard supporters kick-off signature gathering for new initiative, during Cruise Night, Saturday

Friday, October 14th, 2016

By Lee Ballesteros

The Save the Yard campaign to build a Town Square on the former Beede Lumber Yard site in downtown Antioch has begun the effort anew to gather signatures to give the people of Antioch a voice in the decision for the future of this historic site.

Volunteers are needed. The Kick-Off of for signature gathering for the petition will be at this year’s Antioch Cruise Night on October 15, 2016 from 3PM to 11PM.

Dedicated people are needed to help gather signatures and training will be available. Even if you only have an hour of time to give, it would be appreciated. It’ll be a whole lot of fun if you would like to help and have a bit of time to volunteer. You can also just come down to enjoy the event and sign the petition.

The Save the Yard campaign will be collecting signatures over the next couple of months to ensure the people of Antioch have the ability to vote on such an important issue. It is the belief of the Save the Yard committee that this waterfront parcel, located at the entrance to the Historic Rivertown district of Downtown Antioch, should be enhanced to benefit all of our community. The Town Square Initiative has been forced by the City leaders who would rather sell our most valuable asset to a developer for high density housing. Don’t let this happen.

Lend your voice to this pivotal effort. Volunteer, today and help make the Town Square Initiative a success. The Cruise Night on October 15th, from 3PM to 11PM , is just the beginning. If you are able to donate some of your time please contact Antonio Hernandez at (925) 437-2058 or

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Drunk driver crashes truck into Antioch house, Thursday evening

Thursday, October 13th, 2016
A crew was still working at 11:00 p.m. to board up the house one Lone Tree Way in which a drunk truck driver crashed into Thursday evening. Photo by Allen Payton

A crew was still working at 11:00 p.m. to board up the house one Lone Tree Way in which a drunk truck driver crashed into Thursday evening. Photo by Allen Payton

By Sergeant Dee, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 7:21 PM, the Antioch Police Department began receiving calls of a pickup truck into a residence at 2915 Lone Tree Way. Upon arrival, officers discovered the driver of the truck was traveling north on Lone Tree Way when he struck two parked cars before leaving the roadway and colliding with a residence through the garage.

The driver of the truck was found still sitting in the driver’s seat uninjured.

There was only one occupant home at the time of the incident. The victim was struck by debris from the collision and taken to an area hospital for minor injuries. Due to a gas main break, officers evacuated area residents to a safe distance until the gas could be shut off.

The driver was eventually arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

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

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State Voter Information Guides in process of being mailed

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

By Allen Payton

Some voters, including this writer, are wondering why we don’t have our copy of the State Voter Information Guide, yet, since absentee ballots are being mailed, beginning this week, and we already have a copy of the county voter information guide. (Yes, I know that was a run-on sentence. So, apologies to my high school English teacher, Jo Fyfe).

According to the California Secretary of State’s Elections Division, mailing of the State Voter Information Guides started on September 29th and ends on October 18th.

The Secretary of State’s office mails the state guides to voters who are registered before the 60-day cut off. After that the counties mail them out.

If you don’t receive one by October 18th, call 1-800-345-VOTE to get a hard copy mailed to you. In the meantime, you can read or listen to the information in the guide online at


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East County African-American faith based community recommends Wright for Antioch Mayor, Wilson, Thorpe for Council, more

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

By Raymond Odunlami

Nine candidates running for various offices in East County received the recommendation from a coalition of African-American faith based leaders in the East County. The need for the coalition and subsequent recommendation was brought about by the necessity to address the highly contentious state of race relations. That, coupled with what has been called the most divisive political campaign season in the history of this country the coalition felt the need to act.

The coalition conducted interviews over a two period where all candidates who attended were asked their opinion on several issues. At the conclusion of the interviews deliberations were held by the faith leaders, after which it was decided to urge the East County electorate to support the following candidates who have promised to best support the community:

Federal Glover for Supervisor District 5
Dianne Burgis for Supervisor District 3
Sean Wright for Mayor of Antioch
Monica Wilson for City of Antioch City Council
Lamar Thorpe for City of Antioch City Council
Jelani Killings for City of Pittsburg City Council
Juan Banales for City of Pittsburg City Council
Laura Canciamilla for Pittsburg Unified School District Trustee
In addition to the recommendation above, the coalition also decided to urge all East County residents to support Hillary Clinton for President of the United States of America.

The coalition as a unit is not affiliated with any particular organization, religious or otherwise. It is a non-binding association of religious leaders who live and serve in East Contra Costa County. For more information or questions, contact Odessa Lefrancois at

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Contra Costa voters can drop off mail-in ballots at Vote-N-Go boxes, including at county libraries, beginning this week

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

Residents can save postage and time with this expanding vote-by-mail program

By Paul Burgarino, Community Education and Engagement Specialist, Contra Costa County Elections Division

Contra Costa residents will find it easier to vote in the upcoming November 8th Election, as the Contra Costa Elections Office once again partners with local agencies to provide convenient “CoCo Vote-N-Go” drop off locations, prior to and on Election Day.

There are six new drop-off locations in Contra Costa County for the November 2016 Election; the Discovery Bay Community Center, the Kensington Library, the El Sobrante Library, the Crockett Library, the Ygnacio Valley Library and the Dougherty Station Library.

Starting the week of October 10th, voters will find the drop-off boxes at these new locations, in addition to all Contra Costa city halls and the County Administration Building, located at 651 Pine St. in Martinez.

“We are excited to expand the CoCo Vote-N-Go program into some of Contra Costa’s local library branches for voters to safely drop off their vote-by-mail envelopes,” said Joe Canciamilla, Contra Costa Registrar of Voters.  “We urge voters to take advantage of this service.”

“The drop off locations at our libraries stretch into the deep parts of the county,” said County Librarian Melinda Cervantes. “We are thrilled to take part in this program and provide an additional service to our communities.”

Contra Costa voters can drop their ballots at any location, regardless of where they live. The distinguishable boxes will be available during the location’s normal business hours.

The postage for vote-by-mail envelopes this election is 68 cents; however, the drop-box service eliminates the need for those stamps. Staff members will have the popular “I Voted” stickers available for those who drop off their ballots.

For more information about voting by mail, call 925-335-7800 or visit the Elections Office website at

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Burgis files complaint against Barr campaign for possible financial reporting violations in Supervisor’s race

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

By Allen Payton

Candidate for County Supervisor in District Three, Diane Burgis filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) on Tuesday, against her opponent, Steve Barr, alleging his campaign failed to publicly disclose $19,457 in large donor contributions within the required 24-hour reporting period. burgis-complaint-v-barr

The FPPC is the enforcement agency for the California Political Reform Act. The Act covers campaign finance and lobbying reporting, campaign advertising disclosure, and conflicts of interest laws regarding public officials. The financial disclosure rules state that all campaigns must report monetary contributions of $1,000 or more within 24 hours of receipt, or within 48 hours for non-monetary, in-kind contributions beginning 90 days before an election using a 497 form. That period began on August 10th, this year.  fppc-reporting-rules

The complaint alleges the Steve Barr for Supervisor 2016 campaign failed to file the 497 reports on time, on at least ten occasions, only reporting the contributions on its first required campaign report, which he filed on September 28, 2016. Those contributions and dates they were received are as follows:

  •  $1,150 on August 18 from Richland Real Estate Fund, LLC of Irvine, CA (41 days past due)
  •  $1,000 on August 24 from Bloomfield Vineyards of Brentwood, CA (34 days past due)
  • $1,500 on August 28 from the Aloha Club of Byron, CA (29 days past due)
  •  $1,675 on September 8 from Balfour Properties (19 days past due)
  •  $1,675 on September 12 from the Committee to Re-Elect Robert Taylor of Brentwood, CA (15 days past due)
  •  $5,000 on September 12 from CREPAC-C.A.R. of Los Angeles, CA (15 days past due)
  •  $1,675 on September 14 from Premier Floor Care, Inc. of Walnut Creek, CA (13 days past due)
  •  $1,000 on September 22 from ASM Investment Properties, LLC of Oakley, (5 days past due)
  • $2,000 on September 23 from Build Jobs PAC of Walnut Creek, CA 9 (2 days past due)
  • $2,782 on September 24 from Pacific Union of Danville, CA (1 day past due)

If the state confirms misreporting, penalties could equal $10 per day plus up to $5,000 per violation, a potential penalty of up to $51,730, more than the value of all contributions combined, Burgis’ campaign stated in a Wednesday press release.

If a fine is levied, more likely the maximum amount would be $1,740 for the 174 cumulative days past due at $10 per day, since each of the contributions have been reported.

“We were disappointed to find such significant financial mismanagement on the part of Mr. Barr,” said Rebecca Barrett, Burgis’ campaign manager. “He built his candidacy on his fiscal know-how and ability to follow the rules, yet it appears he’s been unable to meet his obligation to inform voters about who funds his campaign. It should make us wonder if Mr. Barr is truly ready for the job.”

When reached for comment, Barr offered the following statement:

“I received the complaint and have attempted to contact the FPPC and we are awaiting a response. It appears we made a mistake in our reporting deadlines. I take full responsibility for that mistake. We will work with the FPPC on any amendments and accept any remedies that they see fit.”

“What we don’t know is whether or not we still need to file the forms after the fact, since the contributions have already been reported,” he continued. “We have filed the 497’s for two contributions received since the last reporting period, including one, just yesterday.”

When reached for comment, County Clerk Joe Canciamilla was asked if Barr has to still file the 497’s if all the contributions in dispute have been reported on his latest 460 form all the contributions and who levies any fine that might be assessed.

“The forms are to be filed with us, since it’s a local office,” he said. “It’s sort of a moot point at this stage, since they were disclosed but not within the time frame of the 24-hour reporting.”

“We’ve never fined anybody,” he continued. “We have to do some research to talk about whether we have the authority to levy the fine or the FPPC and if it’s discretionary. Until we get a formal complaint here, we’ll have to deal with it when we get it.”

A call and email to the FPPC garnered the following response:

“If people file a complaint with us, we can release a copy of the complaint five days after we receive it,” said Jay Wieringa, Communications Director for the FPPC. “The Commission made a decision to give people a chance to find out about a complaint against them before they read it in your paper, especially during non-campaign season.”

“But, during campaign season sometimes campaigns file complaints against another and then inform the media,” he continued. “We frown on it. We don’t like it. But we recognize it happens.”

Canciamilla later provided additional information.

“We did get an email about three weeks ago from the FPPC that any of these complaints be referred to them, to the Enforcement Division,” he said. “So that’s where it will go. It would be the FPPC or the District Attorney who would levy any fines.”

When asked again if Barr still had to file a 497 form for the contributions since they’ve already been reported on the 460 form, Canciamilla responded, “Retroactively? No. I’m not sure what the value would be to go back and file the 497’s, now.”

A letter was sent by the FPPC’s Enforcement Division, yesterday, to Barr, his campaign and his wife Kathy, who serves as his campaign treasurer, informing them of the complaint. The letter states the agency will inform Burgis within 14 days if they intend to investigate the complaint, refer the complaint to another agency, take no action either because the Commission doesn’t have the authority or the allegations do not warrant any further action. fppc-letter-to-barrs

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Antioch School Board to review petition for public, non-profit Rocketship charter school, tonight

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

Community organizations and hundreds of families support new, high-quality charter school

Rocketship Education annou​nced today that the nonprofit public charter school network filed a petition with the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) to open a public elementary charter school for grades TK through 5th for the 2018-2​019 school year.

​Rocketship Education is a non-profit network of public elementary charter schools serving over 6,000 students in Bay Area neighborhoods with limited access to excellent schools. Nearly nine out of ten Rocketship students in the Bay Area are socioeconomically disadvantaged, over half are English Learners and 83 percent are classified as ethnic minorities.

This proposed school is already seeing a groundswell of community support, with more than a dozen organizations and community leaders pledging to back the project. Furthermore, several hundred parents signed on to bring a Rocketship school to Antioch, demonstrating a strong demand for high-quality public school options in their city.

“The historic and prevalent impact of systematic oppression on school systems has produced racially disproportionate outcomes that are all too familiar. Education must continue to serve as a vehicle of social mobilization for at-risk communities. Under-served families must have access to high performing schools that are based on a model of equity, excellence and efficacy. Our community needs a school model that demonstrates coherent cultural responsiveness and authentic community engagement,” said Dr. Lamont A. Francies, Pastor Delta Bay Church of Christ.

Families in Antioch are helping to bring Rocketship to their city due to the lack of high-quality public schools in the area. For the 2015-16 school year, only 19% of all students in grades 3-5 in the AUSD met or exceeded state mathematics standards, leaving thousands of children behind grade level. Only 15% of both socioeconomically disadvantaged and Hispanic students met or exceeded these standards. In English Language Arts (ELA) just 30% of all AUSD students in grades 3-5 met or exceeded grade-level standards on the California state assessment, and less than one quarter of socioeconomically disadvantaged studentsmet or exceeded standards.

​Yet on this same 2015-16 California state assessment, Rocketship’s Bay Area network of 10 schools ranked in the top 10% in both math and ELA among all elementary school districts serving a similar student population across the state.

“As someone who has been working with and for children in and around Antioch for years, I’ve seen far too many who give up, and never go on to college. This is especially true for students of color,” said Angel Luevano, Executive Director of Todos Unidos. “Rocketship schools have a college-focused mindset beginning with the youngest students. Their goal to eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime is not just rhetoric, but is real, and seen every day at Rocketship schools. They bring with them hope for success, and they know how to get the job done.”

“I’m very excited that Rocketship Education is coming to Antioch,” said John Crowder, Director of the Math Intensive program in the district. “​I’ve personally visited two of their ten schools in San Jose, and have seen first-hand the positive impact they’ve had on student achievement. This is great news for our students, our parents, and our community.”

About Rocketship Education

Rocketship Education is a nonprofit public charter network of 16 elementary schools serving low-income communities with limited access to excellent schools. Founded in 2007 in San Jose, California, Rocketship has since expanded to Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Nashville, Tennessee; and Washington, D.C. By building a scalable and sustainable school model that propels student achievement in underserved communities, Rocketship is working to eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime. Visit to learn more.

The school board meeting is at 7:00 p.m. in the School Services Building at 510 G Street in downtown Antioch. To view the complete meeting agenda, click here.

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Murillo suspends campaign for Antioch Mayor, endorses Wright

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016
Gil Murillo

Gil Murillo

Gil Murillo, candidate for Mayor announced today he is suspending his campaign and will be supporting Dr. Sean Wright.

“After reviewing recent online poll numbers, I see that all candidates are in a tight position to win. It is important for Antioch to have a new voice in City Hall,” Murillo stated in a press release, Wednesday morning. “I would hate to see the community robbed of their voice due to votes being divided. We saw this happen in 2012 and it should not be repeated in 2016.”

Sean and I have sat down and discussed the differences in our platforms,” he continued. “We align in many areas and he ensures me he will:

  • Develop a jobs program to bring well-paying jobs to Antioch
  • Form a committee to bring county, city, police, social services and schools together on issues that impact our youth
  • Ensure community services (e.g. fire, schools, police, city services) are fully funded before new planning (e.g. rezoning) or development starts
  • Enhance downtown Antioch with positive family theme events
  • Support Charter School program that provides Antioch families with options
  • Creative solutions to address the homeless challenge
  • Engage adjoining cities for a joint vision of tomorrow
Dr. Sean Wright

Dr. Sean Wright

“It is important for Antioch to have a leader that understands business and can have a realistic outlook for tomorrow. I plan to be available to Sean and support him in his quest to make Antioch a safer and more productive city.

I encourage those that support me to support and vote Sean Wright for mayor of Antioch. I appreciate everyone’s support during this time and the friends and relations I have made over the months I will hold close to heart. I plan to continue in supporting the community through other channels. Thank you and God Bless.”

“I appreciate Gil’s support and look forward to working with him to make our vision for Antioch a reality,” Wright said, when reached for comment. “He and I see a lot of things alike.”

No deal was cut regarding appointing Gil to any commission if Wright is elected. Only the issues that they agreed upon, he explained.

The election is November 8th and voting begins this week as absentee ballots were mailed to voters on Tuesday.

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