Archive for the ‘Letters to the Editor’ Category

Writer supports Supervisor Burgis for re-election for her “integrity, brilliance and imagination”

Thursday, February 27th, 2020

Dear Editor:

I writing to express my genuine respect, admiration, and appreciation for Supervisor Diane Burgis and whole-heartedly support her re-election.

We are blessed to have a leader with the level of integrity, brilliance, and imagination that Diane has demonstrated in serving the people of Contra Costa. She is a woman who is relentless in her efforts to bring innovation to our region and has made significant strides towards job and business creation to support our local workforce.

I have witnessed first-hand Diane’s wisdom and her dedication to regional improvement through her work on business-based drone development in far east Contra Costa, the creation of a multimillion-dollar light industrial park at the site of the former DuPont plant in Oakley, and the launch of the Family Justice Center in Antioch that includes job training and support for people who have been victims of human trafficking as well as those who seek skills training in technology employment through the work of the “Love Never Fails” project that has made significant impact throughout the Bay Area.

Diane is accessible and genuinely loves our communities and those of us who live here. Please cast your vote for Supervisor Diane Burgis, so she can continue with the amazing work she is doing for the benefit of our families. My husband Keith is fully in support of this statement.

Iris Archuleta

Antioch

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Antioch Police Officer’s Association recommends Glover for Supervisor

Monday, February 24th, 2020

Dear Editor:

Our Antioch Police Officer’s Association is proud to recommend Supervisor Federal Glover on Election Day, March 3rd.

Please join us.

Under Supervisor Federal Glover’s leadership, Contra Costa County has opened a new Family Justice Center in Antioch to help victims of domestic violence, elder abuse and human trafficking. Supervisor Glover also fought for cameras to deter freeway shooters on Hwy 4. The Antioch Police Officer’s Association joins Antioch Firefighters and 911 personnel in supporting Supervisor Glover’s re-election.

Steve Aiello

President, Antioch Police Officers’ Association

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Homeless Antioch resident shares concerns, discussion group in downtown for mental health and wellness

Friday, February 21st, 2020

Dear Editor:

With pride, A Cup of Jo Bruno (ACoJB) presents a bittersweet blend of warmth and sacred space while providing an opportunity for delta life to be recognized for the unique attributes to downtown Antioch. While currently homeless, ACoJB is building a community with the folks who know the rituals of delta living. As seasons change, the early morning routines will be met with fresh coffee, baked goods and special guest appearances from local advocates and funders of upcoming development in the area. Before the normal business hours of downtown Antioch, there is a unique opportunity to strengthen what has since been lost; community. Community builds family, and downtown Antioch has lost family along the way because we have forgotten our community. We seem to have forgotten a lot.

Antioch is a shadow of what it once was. It’s at the dark side of the moon. The tides keep rising and falling and the fish are still biting, but downtown Antioch is the hidden gem that seems to be looked over. Surrounding cities, and even mid/up-town Antioch are being developed where folks are spending their money in the newly acquired space. However, from Highway 4 to the Delta waters and A Street to Auto Center Drive, not so much. I could even throw in the Antioch Mall to this region of Downtown Antioch. What’s really going on folks? Maybe we don’t want new people here. Maybe we don’t want the oldtown feel to change. Maybe we don’t trust outsiders. Maybe we are just too scared to open our arms to something that will change the unique beauty of our culture. As a matter of fact, it very well could be because we are still fighting amongst ourselves and blaming others for our inability to accept our unique culture for what it is. But, regardless of the reasons or opinions of others, we need to develop downtown Antioch.

There are layers here. There are dark corners, shady ledges, and some low-down places along these delta lines. The homelessness. The drugs. The death along the tracks. The hidden secrets of women and the most dangerous of situations. The missing girls and boys. Drug and human trafficking. The beauty of small-town business and their owners. The unseen truths of trade and barter. The respect and honor held between strangers as they share a joint and enjoy the colors of our delta sunrise and sunset. There are those who smell of the waters from coming back from a fishing trip and others who are still sleepy-eyed, going out for their first attempt at fishing that day. The piers have lines dropped every day. You’ll find, in some hidden corners, an attempt to take a life, save a life and even birth a life in the marshlands of the delta.

We are all shades of ghetto and rock and roll. We love low riders with miniature tires and hydraulic jumps. Don’t get us started with the sideshows and loud music. Or the spray paint tagging you’ll find along the train tracks. The trains themselves are constant with their horns, too. Road hogs, Harley’s, and crotch rockets can be found in parking lots all along the water line. There’s the industrial side of things where the dust is kicked up from outside forklift use. The semi-trucks are constantly in and out of our driveways. The grease is on our knuckles, mud on our boots, and weed in our pockets. In a blink of an eye, we’ve seen two dispensaries show up. Thank you! But we won’t ever forget the backwoods dank. Bottom line, we don’t do much, but we do it all together. We watch out for each other. We keep our distance when we need to. We are as dysfunctional as any other community family and it’s about time we show the Bay Area what we’re about.

The laughter, the tears, the anger and pain. The love, the compassion, the secrets and rewards. The humor, the slang, the language and cultures. We are a breed of river rats with foul mouths and a don’t-give-a-darn attitude. We’ll jump from pleasant to ratchet in a split second then buy you a drink. We are the misfits, the rejects and troublemakers. We don’t listen well, but we know how to talk. We break rules, create new ones, and we’ll change them regularly depending on the situation at hand. Those who live, work, and play along the entire delta are a special culture of folks. Within that delta line is the small corridor of downtown Antioch. We are like none other.

Many are ignorant and blind to the street life, however. Folks are consistent with their failure to shut their mouths and open their hearts. Or their wallets. The privileged don’t recognize the pain of the poor but the poor is rising in community. Watch out, y’all. Soon, you’ll see community gardens providing fresh food for our local schools. How about innovated solutions for our homeless? A place for our youth to kick it? Or what about a comfortable atmosphere to explore some of that deep-rooted delta trauma we’ve experienced? We’ll have workshops and trainings available to help with mental health wellness. We need it because, the truth is, those of us with roots along the delta know it’s a constant struggle. The old family roots come with new beginnings because things are changing so rapidly. Folks want to heal their ancestral pain. The development of oldtown Antioch is inevitable, and it’s intriguing to see who’ll succeed in bringing us new business. Where will the community decide to spend their money when the new developments come? Will these new developments try to kick us out?

If you pay close attention to the community of delta life, you’ll find a breed of folks who’ll love you deeper than anything you ever experienced. We watch out for one another and if someone’s in trouble, we tend to rally together and help. We are dirty but clean when we need to be. Sometimes we fight. Folks will pull a gun, shoot out your tires, talk shit all day long, but come to hug each other after smoking a blunt. And seriously, be careful. You leave your car running while you run inside to get something, it might get taken and later found along the backroads with no tires. We have that red, sippy cup lifestyle with straws and drinks on ice. You’ll find us taking shots, talking shit and playing pool. We’ll throw some dice, flirt with the visitors and maybe even hook up with a stranger. We love to eat. We’ll cook for you anytime. We know how to get something when we need it. You’ll find survivors out here.

And, one thing is for sure, what you won’t find out here, along the delta, is judgment. Sure, we may not like you but we ain’t gone judge you. Sure, we may ask you to leave our establishment, but you’ll never be judged. Most likely, you’ll become a story we tell the locals. Or maybe you’ll fit right in and become a local. The thing is, down here, you could be a person of color or transgender and come across someone who is uneducated who uses a derogatory word. It might make you mad. Or even piss you off. But it isn’t because we’re disrespectful, it’s just, truth is, we’re a breed of folks who don’t care. It’s not that we don’t care about you and your overall wellbeing, because we do want you to succeed in life. Truly. But what it comes down to is that we don’t care what you do or who you do it with or how you’re doing it. Just don’t interfere too much with our lives. It’s no joke down here, at the delta water line. You’ll find culture alright, just make sure you’re ready for it because we’ll never change. Or leave. Don’t come down here getting your feelings hurt. We don’t want your Starbucks. We don’t want your corporations. We don’t need any more liquor stores or mini markets. We have enough hair solons, tattoo shops, and thrift stores. Let’s calm down a bit with all the churches, huh. I don’t really want to get started on the massage industry either, but please stop. And seriously, the solution for restrooms at the marina are ridiculous. We can do better than outhouses and cement buildings that resemble a prison cell. Antioch, we can do better.

The new developments will be challenged by the locals if it doesn’t already fit into our culture. Some folks have tried, and they’re no longer in business. Sorry, not sorry? Folks from other parts of the Bay come into Antioch, thinking they can add to it by creating something new. Not quite. Stop trying. It doesn’t work. Learn the culture and community before you build here. Learn the voice of the delta before you start telling us to change our ways. Learn the pain of our homeless before you tell us to leave. This is our home, too. Take our word, trust us. Listen to us. We know. We’ve been doing this for many generations, and there is a new vision coming. Work with us.

We ask that you learn something before you come into our hood and try to rebuild us. City representatives and the old money still in this town need to learn from us, too. Y’all think you know what we want? Come talk to us and I bet you don’t. I’ll throw my money on any bar to bet that you have no idea what we want down here. Or what our interests are. Or how we see our own community being developed. Honestly, in some situations, we’re still arguing amongst ourselves. The bottom line is that it’s time y’all start throwing your money where it’s needed. Come talk us. We have answers. We have innovated ideas and solutions for the millions of dollars you’re confused about spending for your community’s needs. The land that is owned by the city needs to be used for proper structures, programs, and development. We’re such a unique culture down here, don’t try to change us.

This piece is solely the voice and opinion of Jo Bruno, a Pittsburg native who has called Antioch home since 2002. She spent many hours along the tracks as a young adult, working in the deep industrial side of delta life. Jo’s lived experience and education allows her the authority on Peer Support in Contra Costa County. Currently a Peer Action League Member for California Association of Mental Health Peer-Run Organizations (CAMHPRO), she is advising on how to build policy so Peer Specialists can finally be recognized in the state. California is one of only a few states that don’t recognize their Peer Specialists, so Jo is advocating for more Peer Programs in east Contra Costa County. Jo Bruno is also working with Contra Costa County Behavioral Health Department, Mental Health Services Act, and advising multiple committees and organizations (i.e. 211, Health Leads (BALI) and more). Together, throughout the Bay Area, they are working on changing the stigma of homelessness and mental health while encouraging advocacy and self-expression to change public policy in Contra Costa County. Jo is a significant bridge between millions of state and federally funded dollars and East Contra Costa County. The system is flawed, and she believes we can make forward movement without disrespecting the already strong community in downtown Antioch. Starting in the early morning hours of Spring 2020, ACoJB will be open for discussion and solutions regarding the topics of how we can develop our city together.

Tony’s Beer Garden is established by a long-time entrepreneur in the restaurant and bar business. The opinions, discussions and projects are in no way associated with Tony, but the Beer Garden’s outside environment will hold space for discussion and event planning. It’s where we will fundraise, have open forums, and concert events to bring awareness to our unique culture. At this establishment, we will begin providing Peer Programs that Jo is establishing with an up and coming peer community, The Delta Peers. The Delta Peers is a collaboration of Peer Specialists throughout Contra Costa County who have lived experience within the mental health systems. We are peers who have lived experience with many platforms and systems. We are trained professionals who can bridge resources to the community needs. Tony’s Beer Garden is located at 809 W. Second Street in Antioch

Jo Bruno

Antioch

www.acojb.com #CupOfJoBruno – a long time self-publication platform for mental health wellness and healing trauma

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Antioch resident writes “that’s it” vote no on Measure T

Monday, February 17th, 2020

Dear Editor:

Did you get asked by the AUSD on how you feel about another tax? I sure didn’t as well as many of my neighbors. AUSD have alternative ways of raising funds for school maintenance and pushing for a 36-year tax is not the answer especially when 3 of our school board members will not be impacted by this tax if passed.

County Counsel has stated that “Approval of the measure does not guarantee that the proposed project or projects in the District that are the subject of bonds under the measure will be funded beyond the local revenues generated by the measure.” In other words, there is no guarantee that projects that start will be completed or even get off the ground.

Please review the County Counsel’s Impartial Analysis of Measure T:

“The California Constitution provides that school districts may issue bonds for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation or replacement of school facilities, including the furnishing and equipping of school facilities or the acquisition or lease of real property for school facilities, with the approval of 55% of the voters voting at an election for that purpose.

By resolution, the Antioch Unified School District has proposed that bonds of the District be issued in an amount up to $105,000,000. This measure provides that proceeds from the sale of the bonds will generally be used to “provide up to date classrooms, renovate athletic fields and related facilities, replace underground water sewer and gas lies, and replace old and inefficient electrical, lighting, heating, plumbing and ventilation systems.” The specific projects are set forth in the bond project list attached to the resolution of the Board of Trustees. The measure provides that a citizens’ oversight committee will be established to ensure that bond proceeds are properly expended and that annual performance and financial audits will be conducted. The measure further provides that bond proceeds will only be used for the purposes specified in the measure, and not for any other purpose.

Approval of this measure authorizes the levy of ad valorem taxes upon taxable property to repay the bonded indebtedness, both principal and interest, in each year that bonds are outstanding. The Antioch Unified School District has prepared a Tax Rate Statement, which represents the District’s best estimates of the property tax rates required to service the bonds. The estimated highest annual tax rate required to be levied to fund the bonds is expected to be $60 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.

Approval of the measure does not guarantee that the proposed project or projects in the District that are the subject of bonds under the measure will be funded beyond the local revenues generated by the measure. The proposed project or projects may assume the receipt of matching state funds, which could be subject to appropriation by the Legislature or approval of a statewide bond measure.

A ‘yes’ vote authorizes the issuance of the bonds and the levy of taxes as estimated in the Tax Rate Statement to repay the bonded indebtedness. A ‘yes’ vote by 55% of the voters within the District voting on the measure is required for passage of this measure. A ‘no’ vote on this measure disapproves the issuance of the bonds and the levy of the taxes for the bonded indebtedness.”

Tell the AUSD bullies “That’s It” and vote “No” on Measure T!

Gil Murillo

South Antioch Resident

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East Bay Leadership Council offers five reasons to vote yes on Measure J

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

The East Bay Leadership Council is proud to endorse Measure J in Contra Costa County and wanted to share a few reasons why we believe it deserves a YES vote on March 3.

All the Money Raised Here Stays Here

That may sound simple, but recent transportation funding initiatives have pooled revenue among all nine Bay Area counties and then divvied it up based on a number of factors. In these situations, the East Bay has not always received an equitable share.

Measure J is a chance to raise $103 million per year for Contra Costa County that is guaranteed to go back into our community to ease bottlenecks, improve transit access, and make roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

Funding for Bus, Bike, and Pedestrian Improvements

If Contra Costa County is ever going to get off the “worst commutes in the nation” lists, then we must make it easier and more efficient for commuters to opt for alternative transportation options like express buses, protected bike lanes, and pedestrian over-crossings.

These investments will ease congestion on our roads and improve air quality. It is one of the reasons why the East Bay Regional Park District, Save the Bay, Bike East Bay, TransForm, and Save Mount Diablo all joined us in support of Measure J.

Did we mention free and reduced fares for students, seniors, and people with disabilities? That too!

Innovate 680

If you were a fly on our office wall, you would hear a lot about innovation opportunities on Interstate 680.

Measure J will prioritize this critical commute corridor by helping to get express buses running on the shoulder of the freeway that could connect BART stations to job centers in the Tri-Valley. Other 680 innovations include smart freeway signs and metering lights, express lane extensions, and self-driving shuttles.

There is so much we can do to make commutes on 680 more efficient and Measure J will help us get there.

The Economy

We cannot expect businesses to attract and retain employees while Contra Costa County makes headlines for long and inefficient commutes.

Investing in the transportation system is an investment in helping businesses start, stay, and grow in the region. That means more jobs close to home for Contra Costa residents.

Matching Funds Get Projects Done

Money raised at the local level will not be enough to pay for every transportation improvement that Contra Costa County needs. The good news is that there are state and federal funds available to help complete important projects.

The secret to winning that funding is that the state and federal government both prefer to contribute the last dollars for a project, not the first.

By raising funds locally first, Contra Costa County will be able to win more grant funding and make more efficient use of every dollar for decades to come.

To learn more about Measure J and its benefits visit www.friendsofcontracostatransportation.org. To learn more about the East Bay Leadership Council visit www.eastbayleadershipcouncil.com.

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Contra Costa Taxpayers Association: vote no on Measure J transportation sales tax increase

Saturday, February 8th, 2020

Dear Editor:

The chief selling point to Measure J on the March 3 ballot is to “reduce congestion”, a laughably empty promise. The 75 words on the ballot create a smokescreen for a 1/2% sales tax increase.

Measure J allots $148 million to BART, who has their own mega-budget and a long history of wastefulness. Only Contra Costa would shoulder the additional tax to be handed over to BART with no assurance that Contra Costa would benefit.

This measure contains hiring restrictions that will drive up costs of taxpayer-funded projects. It requires that all apprenticeship labor must come from certain politically favored sources, rather than the largest qualified pool of applicants. Construction labor short supply due to recent wildfire rebuilding efforts. As a result, projects everywhere are currently facing massive cost overruns. This is the wrong time to impose even further hiring restrictions.

Residents may see signs on the highway referencing Measure J for current projects. This refers to a Measure J generously passed by voters in 2004. The suspicious letter designation is confusing, but clearly this is not the same. This is an additional increase for 35 years.

We encourage a no vote on Measure J.

Susan L Pricco

President, Contra Costa Taxpayers Association

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Writer prays for healing and hope over fear in response to shooting death of Deer Valley High student

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

Dear Editor:

The shooting and death of the 16-year-old at Deer Valley High School puts a mark of fear and dismay in the hearts of all Antioch residents.  We are praying that our school board members along with school administrators will come together in one heart and mind to bring healing and hope to students, faculty, families and residents in a very dark hour in our city. Perhaps even local pastors of our many churches can rally together in promoting peace, love, forgiveness and reconciliation in our high schools.

During the President’s State of the Union Address he spoke of allowing prayers in schools – does this mean teachers and pastors can initiate prayers on behalf of students’ needs – it would certainly be beneficial to those students involved in last week’s shooting, and to any that have been traumatized by it.

Our community, as a whole needs to be united in bringing closure and resolution to this serious problem.

Nick Culcasi

Antioch

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Writer shares reasons to re-elect Diane Burgis supervisor

Monday, February 3rd, 2020

Dear Editor:

Political tribalism is a growing danger to our country. People select their Party/tribe and can then retreat into in a bubble where they believe that their Party is right about everything and the other Party is universally wrong. That mentality leads to elections where candidates often stop trying to win votes from around half the population to have a chance at victory. Those officials who legitimately try to represent everyone, and who work each day to improve the lives of all of their constituents regardless of Party are rare and valuable. Supervisor Diane Burgis is one of those precious public servants.

I’ve had the pleasure to be a constituent and a nearby neighbor of Supervisor Burgis for years, and I have found her accessible, accountable, and devoted to her community. She doesn’t pay lip service to the ideals of non-partisanship, hard work, and of legitimately wanting to serve her community: she lives those ideals. Supervisor Burgis puts the needs of her constituents over the desires of her Party. And most importantly, she is committed to serving every person in her district regardless of whether that person voted for her in the past or is likely to vote for her now; she will never sell us out in order to stay in office. Personally I know that if I make Supervisor Burgis aware that I need her help, she’ll be there for me, and I know that I have someone in my corner fighting for me, and not because I’m a Democrat, but because I’m her constituent, her neighbor, and a human being.

All of that is why I support electing Diane Burgis to another term as Supervisor of Contra Costa District 3, why I supported her in the past, and why I will continue to support her in the future.

Heath Lenoble
Oakley

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