Archive for the ‘Letters to the Editor’ Category

Letter writer responds to Payton Perspective on Thorpe and card room initiative

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Dear Editor:

I wanted to respond to your “Perspective” concerning the Card Room issue and Commissioner Thorpe which will move to a ballot measure at a sizable cost to the citizens of Antioch.

I will not stand to criticize Mr. Thorpe or to analyze his position; nor will I defend him. I do not know if he was used or was an active participant, and truly I don’t care one way or another. What I do know is that Commissioner Thorpe serves at the pleasure of the Council and may continue or not based on an evaluation of his whole work for the City by the Mayor and Council.

The question is: How did the Council not see this coming? With the issues raised concerning Kelly’s Card Room, it’s failure and the reaction of the City something like this initiative was bound to come along.

There was a filing and a collection of signatures wasn’t there? This didn’t happen in a vacuum did it? Where was the City Administration to advise the Council? Where was the City Manager? Where was the oversight? Where was the leadership?

So we end up in a “bind”. “Bullied”? Well, that is because there is a lack of leadership and vision. After all, when you don’t keep your eye on the ball, you miss. Big miss here. Just swinging at air.

Throughout your article there is frustration almost to the point of anger. I understand. The cost to our City is substantial, but you and I both know businesses love monopolies and a lack of competition. It produces big profits. And there is obviously big money involved or an out of town Casino wouldn’t have stepped in and spent time and money creating this situation.

Bottom line this may be the most current time the City of Antioch is placed in this type of situation but without improvement in leadership and vision, I assure you that it will not be the last.

Mark Jordan

Antioch

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Commentary: Assembly candidate questions Frazier’s appreciation for police officers

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Editor:

This month brought us Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. On the calendar it’s only one day, the 9th of January. But in the eyes of the families and friends of police officers, it is every day, because they, like nurses, have earned it.

I honor, not only my family members and friends, but all who suit up in blue every day, not knowing, in these trying times, if they will come home to their families that night.

My opponent has previously garnered the endorsement from local Police organizations in both Solano and Contra Costa County. However, In this last legislative session, Assemblyman Frazier and his Democrat allies in the state legislature, passed SB-227, a bill which in essence denies due process to police officers.

“the bill would prohibit a grand jury from inquiring into an offense or misconduct that involves a shooting or use of excessive force by a peace officer, as specified, that led to the death of a person being detained or arrested by the peace officer, unless the offense was declared to the grand jury by one of its members, as described above” TEXT of SB 227

What has happened in this bill is nothing more than “a knee jerk, not in my back yard” reaction to the incident that took place in Ferguson, Missouri. Police officers should be afforded the same due process as the criminals that they protect us against. But, this new law that Frazier voted for has destroyed that.

That bill, SB-227, that Mr. Frazier voted for, is not only a massive slap in the face to police officers everywhere, but wholly unconstitutional as well.

The 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger;…”

Only after a Grand Jury has reviewed evidence of wrongdoing, should an indictment be handed down to the criminal court. This is our process. This is a check against prosecutorial misconduct at the behest of political expediency. The Grand Jury is impaneled to stay malicious prosecution, to ensure that a prosecutor can actually make a case for indictment. Without it, a politically driven prosecutor could indict for anything with no facts to back up their claim simply in the hopes of garnering public support and or notoriety. That’s because indictments are generally front page news, while acquittals get shuffled to the middle.

I would think we should all remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately Mr. Frazier, and other Democrats in Sacramento, seem to have discarded this tenet which is not only black letter constitutional law, but also sets us apart from many other nations in the world. And they have discarded it at the expense of our Police Officers.

In short, police officers place their lives on the line every day to both protect and serve the populations they work for. Criminals make the choice to do the nefarious criminal acts they do, that endanger both police officers and themselves. When a police officer is confronted with a criminal who attempts to harm the officer, I will back the police officer 100% of the time. For it is the job of the police to apprehend that alleged criminal, but also to get home to their families every night. And we should not treat our police officers worse under the law than we treat those whom they protect us from.

The symbol of our judicial system is a woman, named Justice. She holds in her hand a balanced scale and she is blindfolded. The blindfold represents objectivity, in that justice is or should be meted out objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of money, wealth, power, identity, race, creed, color or employment. But now if you look at her scale, Mr. Frazier and others in his caucus have added their thumbs to tip the scales out of balance.

Mr. Frazier’s words tend to make it seem like he fully supports our police officers. Unfortunately he has been found lacking, for his deeds do not match his words. His deeds tell a different story entirely.

Unfortunately for all of us this is an old story, a story of a politician that says one thing and does another.

For example, Mr. Frazier has long touted his love for veterans, and has made many speeches to that effect. However, this past November, he announced his Veterans DMV Tax on Veterans Day – causing a hidden tax on any veterans that wish to be identified as such on their state issued Identification Cards. With Law Enforcement Appreciation Day being celebrated this month, I felt a need to highlight, to local law enforcement, what he has done for you while collecting your endorsement at the same time.

I would certainly like to be writing about my own positive change platform, instead of going after Mr. Frazier’s voting record from the last Session of the State Legislature. Highlighting the differences between Jim and myself, the voters of AD-11 need to be made aware of just how disingenuous their legislator is to the betterment of our community.

My goal is to change all that in November.

Dave Miller, Republican candidate for California State Assembly, 11th District

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Antioch School Board VP Ruehlig offers reflections on 2015

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Editor:

As time marches inexorably forward and we approach the New Year, I find it a good time to pause and reflect on where we’ve been, and where we’re headed, at the Antioch Unified School District.

As 2015 came to an end, we saw change come in double step, with the retirement of our Superintendent and the resignation of a School Board Trustee.  Yet changes are nothing to moan over.  Change should be welcomed.

As the voters so decisively indicated in the last election, a course correction was desperately needed.  But, just as large ships at sea don’t turn easily, so it is with large bureaucracies; status quo driven inertia keeps them moving in old lanes, even when a change in direction is clearly called for.

Eventually, however, a ship will turn, and so it is with AUSD.  With the addition of new Trustee Fernando Navarro to our board, we are seeing less divisiveness and a renewed sense of purpose. The absence of friction allows us to address long-standing problems within the District.

Granted, positive behavior interventions, advanced placement class participation, overall high school graduation rates and career themed academy expansion are among the areas of district improvement. The fact is, though, that with all the initiatives that have been implemented over the last several years, we’ve seen little progress with our lowest performing students.

Our current Board does not find the achievement gap of English language learners, children of color, or low economic status acceptable; nor is it tolerable that 81% of our students fail to show proficiency in math.  We can’t have two tiers, haves and have-nots. We must do better by all the 18,500 students in AUSD. All, after all, means all.

We have now begun the search for a new Superintendent; a critical step, since the person selected will most likely be at the helm of AUSD for the next several years.  Bold leadership is clearly needed.  As a Board, we’re committed to a selection methodology that ensures the local community has input in the process, and that the individual we choose to lead our district has the courage to take the necessary steps to effect the changes needed.

I grew up in Great Neck, Long Island, New York.  As a child, I can remember people leaving notes by our front door encouraging us to call them if we ever decided to move.  Why did they do this?  Simple answer; because they wanted to buy into the area due to the quality of our school district.  The quality of the education available made living in our community that desirable.  That is my dream for Antioch…that it would become a city that people clamor to move to, because of the education their children can achieve.  Quality of schools is pivotal in civic promotion, so having kids or not, we all want a great school system.

The first necessary step in effecting change is to recognize that you have a problem.  As a board, we’ve done that and we are taking the steps needed to fix it. Our students, their parents, and our community deserve no less.

Walter Ruehlig

Vice President, Board of Trustees, Antioch Unified School District

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Challenger questions Frazier’s veterans driver’s license bill, due to fee charged

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

Dear Editor:

Assemblyman Frazier’s AB-935…a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

In April, 2013, Assemblyman Jim Frazier (of Oakley) introduced AB-935, a bill which, among other things, allowed veterans to have a veteran designation on their drivers’ licenses.  After its passage in the August 2014 session, he held a press conference in every town in AD-11, touting how hard it was to pass this legislation, as well as talk about the speed bumps along the way in its passage.

I would agree with him that the veteran’s designation is a useful designation, to all California veterans, the affluent as well as the homeless, and something that has been a long time in the making, to help veterans attain the services they have earned by serving this great nation.

After a careful legislative analysis, the designation was deemed “non-mandatory” in its current state, but what Assemblyman Frazier failed to mention in his press conference is the $5.00 fee to receive the designation, with the agency (CA DMV) reserving the right to raise that fee to a figure as high as $15.00.  Meaning, if you want the designation, which you deserve, you’ll need to pay for it.

In my estimation, the introductory program amounts to a promo code time period in which the DMV will assess the success of the program. At that point, if successful, they will unleash Section 14901.1 of the Vehicle and Traffic Code to raise the veterans’ designation fee, to the fee they wanted to charge all along, which is $15.00 per veteran.

According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, there are 1,851,470 living veterans, from all branches of our nation’s service, residing in the State of California.  What Mr. Frazier is seeking, is that $15.00 “cover charge” from each California veteran, which translates into over $27 million over five years’ time, into most likely transportation/infrastructure  earmarks.

If I were to speak to every veteran from around this state, I would tell them to not get too excited about this very long, overdue veterans designation on their driver’s license.   I would tell them to wait until your current DMV License expires in a few years before committing to a new one, or wait until Republicans in the Legislature, can offer this at a price it deserves to be offered at, which is free of charge.

If Democrats are going to insist on charging for this, they should put it where it will do the most good, that being county veterans service agencies.   We’ve already seen the federal government whitewash how they handle things at the Veterans Administration, and the state is no better.   Now, when they finally come up with a great idea, to help veterans earn the benefits they deserve, they find ways of making money off your service to our nation.  I won’t even bore you with the statistics that Assembly Appropriations came up with when they drafted this bill, suffice it to say, that was their first and only consideration.

If elected to replace Mr. Frazier, in California’s vast 11th Assembly District, I will introduce new legislation to amend this otherwise well-meaning law, striking the fees to veterans from it.  I agree with Mr. Frazier that we should always honor our veterans; what I vehemently do not agree on is imposing a tariff to receive the veteran designation. What I see is nothing more than a revenue generating bill, that Mr. Frazier and his colleagues are secretly imposing on our veterans…and it is utterly despicable.

Dave Miller, Conservative Republican Candidate for California State Assembly 11th District

California’s 11th Assembly District includes Antioch, Brentwood, Knightsen, Bethel Island, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Vacaville, Fairfield, Suisun City, Rio Vista and a portion of Pittsburg.

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Letter writer: Eagle Scout Court of Honor in Antioch a nice respite from bad news

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Dear Editor:

In a season of terrorism, foreign and domestic, and of relentlessly bickering national politics, and other assorted bad news, attending an Eagle Scout Court of Honor November 7th, was just what the good doctor ordered. It was pure balm applied on the wounds of cynicism to applaud four young men dedicated to the pursuit of the Scouts’ charter virtues; trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

At the event held at Antioch’s Church of the Rock Travis Bartlett, Aaron Butler, Nicholas Gutierrez and Kendall Rowley accomplished what only 4% of all Scouts do; attain the highest rank of Eagle.

The four joined the ranks of two million others over the 105 year history of Scouting who have become Eagle. That distinguished group includes a large number of past Presidents, titans of commerce, military leaders, artists, sports legends and community leaders of all stripes. It includes the likes of Neil Armstrong, Hank Aaron, Steven Spielberg and 39 of the 312 astronauts the country has boasted since 1957. As a note, consider that 207 of the 312 pilots and scientists in the astronaut program have been in Scouting at some level.

Our four local young men earned their rank with requisite sweat and perseverance. As required, they donated hundreds of hours to community service; exercised progressively higher leadership roles; completed a major Eagle Scout service project that involved raising funds and organizing volunteers; spent scores of overnights on camping trips learning the use of a compass and navigating by the stars, as well as acquiring other survival skills, including how to treat things like concussions, fever, stomach cramps, and wounds. Furthermore, they met with parent advisers and earned a minimum of 21 merit badges from a field of over 100 in topics as diverse as astronomy, cooking, photography, changing a flat tire. personal finance, fitness and oceanography.

The young men stand on the shoulders of 83 years of Troop 153 history here in Antioch. The Troop was chartered in 1932 and, to their credit, the Methodist Church has supported the troop all these years. The first Eagle rank was earned in 1962 and now numbers 59 from the thousand plus young men who have passed through the Troop.

One of these young men, I am proud to say, was my son Joshua who earned Eagle in 2007. His maturing into a young man of confidence convinced me that the Scouts are the best thing since sliced bread; the organization is like a character catch-all; it covers such a myriad of practical, moral and leadership skills.

As a practical bonus and godsend to any parent, the camping trips help constructively channel all that pent-up teenage energy while building lifelong friendships in the process. When my son went on to high school and the close to 3,000 Deer Valley student campus, I didn’t fear he’d get lonely in the maddening herd, or corralled into the wrong crowd. He had, after all, an affinity group of friends that had his back as he climbed mountains, repelled caves, built snow caves and shot the rapids in their company.

Thanks to the Church of the Rock for all these years of unfailing support and to Scout Master Dave Johnson and all other parent mentors who give tirelessly in mentoring our youth. Just when you feel forlon on human nature, along comes an inspired group like the Scouts who champion the best in human nature and have a proven, time-tested program to back up their good intentions.

Thank you Messrs, Bartlett, Butler, Gutierrez, and Rowley for making my day at the Court of Honor by sharing your stories. Your family, friends and acquaintances are fortunate to have you in their midst as you make the world a better place,

There is a Scout saying that typifies the exuberance of the organization. My wish is it stays with you all your days.

It’s a good day for Scouting.”

Walter Ruehlig

Antioch

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Delta Advocacy Foundation thanks all who helped with annual Roundup at Roddy Ranch

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

Dear Editor,

A thank you to all for helping The Delta Advocacy Foundation by supporting our Charity Roundup at the Roddy Ranch held October 3, 2015.

The Sponsors were:

Blackhawk – Nunn Partners, Paradise Skate and Roller Rink, The Libbey Family, Stephanie Anello, The Green Family, Heritage Bank/Becky Manning, Scott Bergerhouse, Roddy Cattle Co., Roddy Ranch Racing, John Jimno, Umpqua Bank, John Ramirez, Painting by Stefan, K2GC Inc./Ken Turnage Construction, Houghton International, Contra Costa Electric, The Agopian Family in Memory of Gary, Twin Rivers Insurance/Twin Rivers Marine Insurance, and Patricia Bristow.

The In-Kind Sponsors were:

The Dinelli and Reeves Families, Antioch Lions Club, Far West Sanitation, Roddy Ranch Golf Club, Republic Services, Tom Hartrick and Crew, Fast Signs, Rev. Roger Kuehn, Umpqua Bank, Markstein Beverages, Boy Scout Troop 450, Brentwood Future Farmers of America, Antioch Herald, Contra Costa Fair Grounds, Walaine Hankins., C + R Memorabilia, Rivertown Impressions, Kids N Cribs, Divine Voices of Deer Valley High School, Frigard Chiropractic, Gexpro, Cummins Pacific LLC, Electrorep Inc., G and S Farms, and Mark Dwelley.

Our very special thanks to Jack and Donna Roddy for their generous support and to you, the people who attended this year’s Charity Roundup and braved the hurricane winds. Because of your generous support, The Delta Advocacy Foundation will continue to support local charitable, educational and cultural causes in Eastern Contra Costa County.

Nancy J. Green

Treasurer

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Writer supports Supervisors’ vote for renewable energy study

Saturday, October 24th, 2015

Dear Editor:

Last Tuesday, (October 13) when the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to pursue a study on Community Choice Energy (CCE), I was proud to state that my city – San Pablo — has already chosen to allow our residents and businesses to receive 50% or more renewable clean energy over dirty energy. It’s rewarding to know that I am lowering greenhouse gas emissions and also by me paying my utility bill it contributes to building the 10.5 MW Solar farm located in Richmond which is on a brownfield site and will be built by local union workers. It provides more local green jobs as well as clean air and health.

I hope the folks in Conta Costa will tell their leaders to support CCE so our supervisors can proceed without delay.

Lynette Robinson

San Pablo

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Writer asks why wait until 2030 to implement renewable energy plan

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Dear Editor:

CCA. Before long, everyone will know what these letters mean — just like we do PG&E. Community CHOICE Aggregation or CCE, Community CHOICE Energy. Lousy name, but a very good thing. The emphasis is on the word CHOICE. It’s the choice that residents, businesses, and schools in California have of 50% or more renewable energy instead of PG&E’s 28%. In case you’re keeping track of the numbers, that’s the amount of renewable energy the new California law mandates . . . by 2030. But, why wait?

Two Bay Area counties already have a CCA: Marin and Sonoma. Also a few cities: Richmond, El Cerrito, San Pablo and Benicia. CCA is available without putting solar on the roof, or buying anything. CCA provides solar and wind energy through the cables that we already have. In Sonoma county, most of the renewable energy is geothermal -– from the geysers. The renewable energy from a CCA does not include nuclear nor fossil fuels like natural gas. Certainly not coal. And you can always choose PG&E instead.

This past week, the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors unanimously declared their interest in CCA. Nearly every county’s joining the trend: San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Yolo, Mendocino, Humboldt, Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey, Los Angeles and San Diego.

CCA’s mean thousands of green jobs and an environmentally sustainable revenue stream for the economy. Lousy name, but a very good thing.

Carol Weed

Walnut Creek

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