Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

District 2 council candidate shares “Five Ways to Get Antioch Back on Track”

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

Mike Barbanica

  1. HIRE MORE POLICE OFFICERS… don’t DEFUND the Antioch Police. Fund body cameras on every Antioch Police Officer and put School Resource Officers in our schools. Work with our residents of color to identify ways we can eliminate racism in our community.
  2. BREAK UP THE HOMELESS ENCAMPMENTS… Antioch should NOT be the service city for our County’s homeless population, nor should we be housing the homeless in trailers/motel rooms that are within ¼ mile of our schools. Turn to the County for social/mental health services and housing assistance. Arrest those who are harboring weapons, dealing drugs and stealing/stripping vehicles.
  3. CAPITOLIZE ON OUR DOWNTOWN WATER VIEWS… Antioch has beautiful water views Downtown and at our marina. Smith’s Landing is a good start. Let’s turn our downtown into a place where people want to live, visit and hang out by the river!
  4. MAKE CODE ENFORCEMENT A NEIGHBORHOOD EFFORT… just like we did with Neighborhood Watch. City code enforcement officers can’t do this alone. To clean up blight, we need to institute a way for neighbors to get involved in reporting and helping to eradicate unsightly properties and trash dumping on our streets. We can do this!
  5. EMBRACE ONE DIVERSE, UNITED ANTIOCH … Antioch is one of the few cities in Contra Costa County where people of all ethnicities, all colors, come together and live as ONE COMMUNITY. We need to celebrate this diversity – NOT allow politicians to use it to DIVIDE us for their own political gain.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on how we can get our City back on track. CLICK HERE to send me an email. Thank you!

Mike Barbanica

Candidate for Antioch City Council, District 2

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Letters: Former Antioch Councilman opposes Wright for mayor, not a “unifier”

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020


Voters of Antioch do not vote for Sean Wright, our current mayor running for reelection! He is not a unifier, he is really a divider with his own unspoken agenda that excludes others’ interests. He needs to be fired!

In the past I have tried to communicate with him about our city government and its operations to no avail. He just ignores anyone he does not personally agree with. He also does not return phone calls or messages requesting his time! He just ignores, ignores, ignores those he said he wanted to hear from. Well, he is not who he claims to be, and he definitely does not serve the public’s interests.

As recent as early July of this year I also submitted to him a request to be placed on the city council agenda, favoring an allowable closed session, concerning some very serious police personnel matters. He has ignored that too. It could even have been placed on the open agenda, but I think that was unwise and preferred the closed session because of the seriousness of the matters I wanted to inform the entire council about. Ignorance is not bliss and the mayor again has failed the public in this and other things!

The very serious matters that I wanted to inform them about are not just going to go away. No, it will become very public very soon in publications pending for all to read and know about. I tried with the mayor and council but his and their choice to just ignore it is on him and them!

As a former peace officer, retired now, and former city council member of Antioch, I have tried to do the right thing via proper channels and methods. But I have been ignored mostly by Mayor Sean Wright and that is a serious mistake if you are an elected official. I have lived here and have served the public for well over 45 years now and will not be quiet when wrongs just go ignored and swept under the carpet. Sean Wright has been a great disappointment to me and many others. I did vote for him before based upon what he promised to do for the public. That was a mistake that I have since learned.

Remember, I tried it the right way, but Mayor Wright and the others just want it to remain unspoken and unheard of. Well, they can read about it in a published expose very soon. I wonder what his and the others’ excuses will be? No, Mayor Sean Wright in particular is not any kind of real leader, not a unifier, now one to not divide, and overall needs to go away and back to his private practice.

Do not vote for him, or any others who come forth with false campaign and false personal promises. Antioch is in a mess, financially and services wise also. This is the opportunity for true change and Antioch sorely needs it. Do not waste your vote on empty shells of political false opportunists.
Stay tuned ladies and gentlemen the near future published information will awaken even the dead.

Ralph Hernandez


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Op-Ed: Actions speak louder than words – campaign season begins

Monday, September 7th, 2020

By John Crowder

Today is Labor Day.  It’s a day to celebrate the workers of America, those who have helped our country to become the greatest nation on earth by showing up every day and getting the job done…whatever that job might be.

Labor Day also marks a political milestone.  It is the unofficial start to campaign season, as those running for elected office ramp up operations to get their message out to voters.

Unfortunately, now more than ever, it is also the time when disinformation, lies, and omissions are pushed on social media and on “news” programs.

We have already seen this with the latest smear of President Donald Trump in a recent magazine article.  In the article, it is claimed that the president is disdainful of veterans, and that he made remarks indicating such.  Those pushing this ridiculous narrative ignore the fact that several people who were present where this supposedly took place have said the story is false, and that people with no love lost for Trump have discussed the event in depth and provided a completely different story.

The sad fact is, leftists in this country hate the president, hate America, hate law enforcement, and, if you support any of them, they hate you.  They also hate the military, which makes the narrative they are pushing even more absurd, as they stake their claim for righteous indignation.

But we do not need to wonder who to believe.  As the adage states, “Actions speak louder than words.”  When you hear statements…and you’ll hear a lot more of them…about the president saying this or that, stop for a moment, and consider the actions of those making the claims, and compare them with the actions of the president.

President Trump has been the greatest friend to men and women who are serving, and who have served, in the military that they have ever had.  Just a few of his accomplishments include:

  • Supporting military spouses with increased job opportunities
  • Supporting veterans’ access to educational opportunities, including online classes and STEM
  • Dramatically improving the quality of care at the Veterans Administration
  • Investing heavily in rebuilding the American military
  • Signing into law the largest military pay raise in a decade

Trump’s opponents also have a record.  A record of lying to a FISA court to obtain bogus warrants on members of Trump’s campaign team (including veterans), a record of lying about a “Russian conspiracy,” a record of lying about, and impeaching the president on, the Ukraine hoax, lying about Trump statements, and running a nonstop “orange man bad” narrative with their propaganda arm, the mainstream media.

Behind this latest nefarious hoax are two things.  First, as I have already mentioned, is an intense hatred of the president and those that support him.  Second, a desire to put doubt in the mind of Trump supporters, those who can see with their own eyes what the president has done for them, and to suppress their votes.

So, no matter what you hear over the next two months, remember the adage, “Actions speak louder than words,” then take a minute to look at what actions each side has taken.  Your choice will be clear.

Crowder is a former reporter for the Herald.


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Commentary: Doctor says get the health care you need during COVID-19

Friday, September 4th, 2020

By Dr. Jeffrey McManus, Desert Pacific Regional Vice President for Health Services, Humana

Dr. Jeffrey McManus. From his LinkedIn profile.

Contra Costa County residents have been turning to medical virtual visits, also known as telemedicine, more than ever during the coronavirus pandemic.  While telemedicine companies have been around for years, the pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in virtual visits as primary care doctors, specialists and hospitals began offering the service as a way to help keep patients safe.

Now that most medical offices and hospitals are accepting patients for in-person visits and elective procedures, you may be wondering if you should go to your doctor’s office or stick to a virtual visit.  Rest assured, your health care providers can help you decide what’s best as they work to ensure safe care for patients and staff. This includes changing the ways they deliver care like screening patients ahead of time to help determine if it’s best to go to a medical office or stay at home.

In-person Visits

If it’s determined that an in-person visit is best for you, you’ll find that to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, many facilities are taking the following steps:

  • Screening arriving patients for COVID-19 symptoms and providing a mask and hand hygiene supplies before entering the center.
  • Screening every employee for COVID-19 every shift and requiring them to wear masks at all times and appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Treating suspected and symptomatic COVID-19 patients in designated areas only.
  • Promoting physical distancing with new clinic layouts.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting exam rooms between each patient visit, and regularly disinfecting high-traffic and high-touch areas.

Virtual Visits

If you don’t require in-person attention, a virtual visit is still a good option. Many people are choosing virtual visits in non-emergency situations for routine follow-ups and non-life-threatening conditions. This option allows you to consult your doctor or other health care providers in your network via a secure video or phone appointment, all in the comfort of your home. Before your telehealth visits:

  • Make a list of all the medications – prescription and over-the-counter – that you take and include the name, address and phone number of your pharmacy.
  • Write down details about your symptoms, concerns, pain and feelings.
  • Take digital photos of any injury, rash or other visible concern.
  • Have your insurance ID card available.
  • Use a phone, tablet or computer that’s connected to the internet. If you’ve never video-chatted before, consider a practice run with a friend or family member to work out the process and check the microphone and speakers. Headphones or ear buds provide better sound quality and more privacy.
  • Have your home thermometer, bathroom scale, glucometer or blood-pressure monitor nearby.

Many area medical offices like John Muir Health, which serves Contra Costa County, offer both virtual and in-person visits.  John Muir Health has enhanced safety protocols for patients receiving care onsite, such as a universal mask policy, temperature and symptom screening and increased cleaning and disinfection.

Whether you choose a virtual or in-person visit, check with your health insurance provider to see if they’ve taken steps to help ease the burden during the health crisis. For example, Humana is waiving cost sharing (including copays, coinsurance and deductibles) for in-network primary care, outpatient behavioral health and virtual visits for our Medicare Advantage members for the remainder of the calendar year.

Getting the care you need is always important. Consider these options to stay safe and healthy. And remember, for life-threatening emergencies, such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, or suicidal thoughts, always call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Bottom line, don’t delay care because you are worried about contracting COVID-19.


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Letters: Antioch Police Commission Chair, businesswoman shares why she’s running for City Council in District 4

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

Dear Antioch Voters:

Sandra White. From her council campaign.

As an Antioch resident of nearly 10 years, I am running for Antioch City Council District 4 to implement real results and to put a stop to the empty promises from our current council.  If the City of Antioch is going to reach greater heights, we will need real leadership in City Hall; someone who will prioritize our needs and do right by its citizens. I am that someone.

As a professional businesswoman with 20 years of Human Resources, I have experience in supporting organizations to meet their business objectives.  I will bring those skills to:

  • Support smart growth.
  • Improve and enhance community safety.
  • Aid and support local businesses development, and infrastructure improvements.
  • Ensure we continue to live in a community that emulates the high standards and values our citizens aspire to restore.
  • Create well-paying jobs for Antioch residents, while working to support economic development.

Public Safety:  As the current Chair of Antioch Crime Prevention Commission, I have built partnerships and will continue to work to provide the resources that our police and firefighters need to keep our neighborhoods safe. I will fight to increase our code enforcement team, reduce homelessness, and prevent gang violence.

In addition to experience in the corporate environment, I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master of Associate degree in Counseling Psychology. As your councilwoman I will leverage my business acumen, background and my hands-on mental health experience that will bring value on my first day in office.

Visit or visit my campaign Facebook page, email me at, or call me with any questions or ideas you might have at 925-437-9361.

Sandra White

Candidate, Antioch City Council District 4

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Letters: Antioch City Clerk shares why he’s running for re-election

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

Dear Antioch voter:

It has been an honor to serve you these past eight years as your Antioch City Clerk and I ask for your vote to continue to serve the residents of Antioch.

Understanding the responsibilities of a City Clerk, I graduated from Technical Training for Clerks alongside appointed & elected City Clerks; and in August 2017 the International Institute of Municipal Clerks designated me a Certified Municipal Clerk (CMC).

I continued alongside City Clerks from throughout California attending the annual New Law & Elections Seminars, the City Clerks Association of California Annual Conferences and graduated from the Master Municipal Clerk & Clerk of the Board Academy in February 2020.

In April 2020 the IIMC designated me a Master Municipal Clerk (MMC), becoming the first Antioch City Clerk to obtain that designation and become only one of some 1,300 Master Municipal Clerks worldwide!

Antioch is the 54th largest city in California and the 259th largest city in the United States. With the increase in population, the workload has increased significantly; but the staffing of the City Clerk’s Office has not. The elected City Clerk needs to be returned to the full-time salaried status that it was from 1872 to 2010 to properly serve you, our residents, in a prompt and timely manner.

The City Clerk is also the City Elections Official and Records Manager. As such, I have instituted electronic filing of Campaign Finance Reports and Public Record requests to better serve you.

I respectfully ask for your vote on November 3rd.

Arne Simonsen, MMC

Antioch City Clerk

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Letters: Antioch District 3 Council candidate offers why she’s running for re-election

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

Dear Antioch voters:

As your Councilwoman, my biggest strengths are that I’m big hearted and solution-minded. I have a big heart and genuinely care about people; and once I set my mind to doing something, I won’t give up. Your trust in me has enabled us to accomplish many things together.

  • COVID-19 Assistance for Seniors – Whether it’s delivering meals, providing resource information, or leading a team of volunteers to clean/repair seniors’ homes … We must continue to help/protect Antioch’s elderly citizens.
  • More Police, not Less – Since being elected, we’ve hired 20 additional police officers. Crime is down. Chokeholds are banned, but we need to do better. I support body cams for every officer, NOT “defunding the police.” I’m proud to be supported by our Antioch Police Officers.
  • Helping Victims of Domestic Abuse – Together we celebrated the opening of Antioch’s Family Justice Center, where victims of domestic violence, elderly abuse and human trafficking can get hands-on help/support.
  • First to Stand Up – I marched with Black Lives Matter, organized Antioch’s first women’s march for equality, and brought the first Veterans’ Memorial Banners to Antioch to honor our fallen servicemembers.
  • Protecting Our Open Spaces and Hillsides – I support the Urban Limit Line and preserving our beautiful open spaces from development.

We are living in challenging times. We can get through this together by remaining compassionate toward others and staying focused on creating meaningful solutions. I am here to serve you and am honored to be working on your behalf.

Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock

Cell (925) 628-7764

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Letters: District 3 Council candidate introduces herself, why she’s running

Saturday, August 29th, 2020

Marie Arce. From her campaign Facebook page.

Dear Antioch,

I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and share some of my thoughts on how I can serve Antioch.

My family moved to Antioch in 1988 where they purchased our first family home. I attended Antioch schools starting with Sutter Elementary, Park Middle School and eventually Antioch High School where I played softball for four years. My love for softball started on our Antioch Little League fields which sparked a love for the game that would eventually lead to lifelong friendships, the foundation for my work ethic and the love for my community.

Over the last 10-years I have worked in nonprofit finance administration working for various organizations in Northern California.

Growing up in a family that owned a small business and I experienced and observed the challenges that family businesses face. Small businesses play a key role in our local economy. As we continue to deal with COVID-19, we need to start thinking about a post-COVID-19 future. Developing solutions that will help our businesses here in Antioch remain open and to keep their employees employed. I support expanding our current small business grant program, developing tax incentives for small businesses to hire employees from Antioch, and building engagement with the city to help our local businesses prosper.

In addition to the importance of small business growth I am a firm believer in taxpayer accountability. The residents of Antioch have the right to have access to easily digestible financials, for transparency, accountability and to promote a more informed community. The taxpayers of Antioch want to see a return on investment for their tax dollars.

The recently approved ballot measures (C and W) called for: cleaner streets, a restoration of police officers patrolling streets, job opportunities, and a plan to attract small businesses. Our tax dollars should be spent responsibly, transparently, and with cost consciousness to improve the livability in Antioch for all its residents.

I am a firm believer that building engagement between our residents and the police department improves trust and strengthens our community. We have an opportunity to be the model for how policing is done in communities like ours by reviewing our existing policing practices and looking for ways to evolve as necessary. Continuing to evolve our policing will empower our police department and protect our residents. I do not support defunding police. The voters in Antioch voted to support Measure C and W to increase police services.

Blight is another issue that plagues our community. I plan to attack blight by developing blight initiatives such as the one passed by the Brentwood City Council that fines neglectful owners that don’t maintain their vacant properties. We need to provide our code enforcement the tools that they need to enforce our codes on illegal dumping and littering. And developing codes that will punish the illegal dumpers further than they are today.

Sadly, homelessness is plaguing our community as well as California and the nation as a whole.

We should approach the unhoused individuals and families with a compassionate lens that provides resources for those seeking help. At the same time, we need to continue to support our businesses and neighborhoods, by preventing homeless encampments near their storefronts and within neighborhood side streets.  Antioch is not equipped financially to solve homelessness alone.

Reducing homelessness will need to be a regional effort. We need to collaborate with our neighboring Delta cities on how to resolve an issue that impacts all our communities. Taking a regional approach will prevent Antioch from having to absorb the financial burden alone and allows more collaboration and opportunity to develop an impactful strategy for those seeking assistance.

I care deeply about our community. This is my home. I grew up playing in our parks, playing ball on our diamonds, swimming at the water park, hiking in our hills, going to the Big Little Game (Go Panthers), and boating in our Delta. I am a parishioner & parent of a child at Holy Rosary Church, volunteer in Antioch Little League and Chair of the Parks & Recreation Commission. This is where I chose to raise my daughters and build my community.

My campaign team is made up of friends and family that grew up here in Antioch. These friends have donated their talent and time because they care about Antioch as much as I do. These are unprecedented times and it is more important now than ever to shut down the divisiveness and come together as a community to promote forward thinking, new solutions and to do the right thing. I personally understand the hardships that some families are experiencing at this time. I want to be your candidate. I want to help.

If you want to know more about me, please visit or ‘like’ my campaign Facebook page to get the latest news and information from our campaign. Reach out if you would like to connect and be part of the change Antioch needs and deserves.

I am Marie Arce and I am fighting for a better Antioch for our families and for our future. I look forward to connecting with you online or around town.

I hope to earn your trust and your vote.

Marie Arce

Candidate for Antioch City Council District 3




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