Archive for the ‘Letters to the Editor’ Category

Letter writer thanks the Herald for local reporting, publishing letters and commentaries

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Editor:

I have recently canceled my decades-long active newspaper subscription with the East County Times/Contra Costa Times/Bay Area News Group. Their recent 40% plus increase in the yearly subscription price finally caused me to do so, with other reasons involved also. That was on top of the previous year’s big increase of over 10%.

I started out over 50 years ago as an East County newspaper subscriber and had continued my subscription(s) throughout the years. I enjoyed holding the paper and reading the printed newspaper’s contents while relaxing, eating breakfast, etc. I also enjoyed being able to submit Letters To The Editor and Guest Commentaries, which in many years past occasions were published. The BANG/CC Times newspapers within the recent years has not even published my submitted Guest Commentaries in relation to local important area matters, even when I personally followed that up with their personnel. I even revised and/or expanded my submissions as they had requested in order to meet their guidelines (to no avail).

Their newspapers’ local area coverage also leaves a lot to be desired. Instead of, obviously, giving our communities’ submissions to them they instead very regularly give priority to already news broadcasts’ ongoing publishings from the very same outside commentators. We out in East County seem to be ignored and we just get fed the same ole, same ole, from their preferred outside submitters – who do not even comment on our areas’ events, opinions, or areas of concern. We may just as well just watch the television news broadcasts.

The Antioch Herald newspaper has been the exception. It has reported on, published, and covered our County and East County area news, events, opinions, etc., very well. The AH, as I perceive it, has not taken sides nor deprived our communities access to it and its availability of publishing submissions by its residents. It is to be commended for its journalism and fairness. We out here in East County should note that the AH has been a great source of news, even with its published advertisements no less. Thanks to you Mr. Payton and to your staff.

Ralph A. Hernandez

Antioch

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Letter writer shares positive experience at Antioch auto repair shop

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

Dear Editor:

I would like to take this time to express my sincerest gratitude to an auto repair shop in our local Antioch area.  The following is my story.

I moved out to Antioch approximately 17 years ago and my auto mechanic was located in Richmond CA.  I decided to continue going to Richmond for my auto repair needs, as they were reasonably priced.  The local car dealer’s hourly rate of $180 was cost prohibited.  Although the auto repair shop was okay, my cars were never really fixed, but patched up.  My vehicles would work for a few months and then breakdown again.  I and my cars were in a revolving door with the repair shop…Ugh.

I finally decided to investigate where to take my vehicles, as the Richmond auto repair shop was merely taking money and not fixing the problem.  A reasonably priced mechanic is hard to find, but if one has to go back, again and again for the same problem, it is no longer reasonably priced.

I was talking to a friend about my experience with my previous mechanic and she mentioned a place where she takes her vehicles and stated the customer service was fabulous.  She stated, “Take your care to AutoTek in Antioch, you won’t go wrong.”  Well….a month later my car overheated…a problem that had gone on for over a year, which the Richmond mechanics couldn’t seem to fix even after replacing the radiator and water pump.

Well, while I was caught in this desperate situation of having a non-operational vehicle, I heeded my friend’s advice and took my vehicle to AutoTek located at 2201 A Street.  Wow….This is the only word I can use to describe my experience with AutoTek.

The Manager, Jay, and his entire staff are extremely customer centric and understand all about cars and how to diagnose, repair and/or correct the problem.

I explained my car problem and the fact that the problem had been going on for a year now.  The team at Auto Tek got on it and kept the car for two days.  They reviewed the radiator, belts, water pump and even checked the head-gasket to make sure that it was not blown.  Well, after a total review, they found that it was a simple water hose that was not clamped on correctly.   And to make the total experience even more of a confidence builder, in Auto-Tek, the charge was nothing!  Can you believe that?  I have never taken a car to an auto shop and come out with money in my pocket and a smile on face.

I have had other issues with my car, but AutoTek was there for me and the price was extremely reasonable and done correctly, and in the time promised.  AutoTek is a God send to me, as I’m busy, as we all are, but getting it done right the first time makes it down right enjoyable to take your car to this repair shop.

I cannot say enough about the wonder friendly and honest team of mechanics and staff at Auto-Tek.  I will merely state what was stated to me, “Take your car to AutoTek in Antioch, you won’t go wrong”

Regards,

Guadalupe Galvan

Associate Director

UCSF/MGBS

Antioch

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Letter writer doesn’t like religious newspaper insert inside the Herald

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Editor:

I was disappointed to see a religious publication as part of the Antioch Herald. Is this group paying for the space in the paper, which makes it an advertisement? Or is this content – an editorial decision reflecting the beliefs of the publisher? I don’t mind a column written by a member of the clergy, from any denomination or religion, but ceding so much space to one group clearly sends the message that Antioch is not a diverse community.

Sandra Follansbee

Antioch

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch School Board Trustee Ruehlig compliments school concerts, music programs

Friday, December 15th, 2017

Deer Valley High School recently held its Jazz Ensemble during which members of their instrumental music groups performed. Photo by AUSD – See more photos of the various school concerts on the district’s Facebook page.

Dear Editor:

This holiday season brings the usual cheer, but adds a personal festive exclamation point with the local bounty of school concerts.  I was personally privileged to attend the Black Diamond Middle, Antioch and Deer Valley High Schools and Dozier Libbey Medical School combined concert and the Park Middle Schools performance. We had heard about the overflowing 1,300 students at elementary schools taking band but now we tasted the fruit of that pipeline.

We’re in our third year with music alive and well in the AUSD and are reaping benefits in more ways than one.  As might be expected, motivation took a hit when the heart and sound that can soften the daily grind was taken from the schools to save dollars and allow doubling down on core subjects. Granted, reading and math remain fundamental, but face it, for many kids, music or sports are the sole connection and engagement keeping them from truancy.

Aside, though, from increased attendance and GPA, we’ve noticed that, in and of itself, music is aiding academics as a sort of super brain food, bringing a plethora of values.  No surprise to us music lovers as poll any group of physicians or engineers and you will find that an amazing number of these hi-achievers had studied music in their formative years.

You see, in one sense music is pure math. Understanding beat, rhythm and scales helps children learn how to divide, create fractions and recognize patterns.  It sharpens special, temporal skills associated with math comprehension.   Essentially, then, music is a sort of hard wiring for all kinds of basic and advanced math.

Studying music also instills short and long-term memory aides by using mnemonic devices.  It also physically develops the left side of the brain, the part involved in language acquisition.

Music employs multiple skill sets, exercising eyes and ears and both larger and smaller muscle sets. Certain instruments, like percussion, develop timing, coordination, motor skills and ambidexterity. Call it sports in a chair.

Good news moms and dad; a 2007 study by Christopher Johnson at the University of Texas showed students in elementary schools having superior musical programs scored 22% higher on standardized English tests.

So-called soft skills, cited by employers as invaluable workplace skills, also mature. Musical student attendance is cumulatively higher and discipline rates less. Poise under pressure and accepting and giving constructive criticism also benefit. The habits of discipline, perseverance and the ability to demonstrate deferred gratification also develop.

Musical students learn teamwork and collaboration in group performance, and how to patiently wait their turn and respectfully listen to others.  They also broaden horizons as they are introduced to various genres, styles and cultures.

We might ask, how, then, does our child pick a chosen instrument?  Treat it like a petting zoo and let your child explore for the right sound, feel and temperamental fit. Make sure the challenge is appropriate, the price affordable, and that you, the parent, can live for endless hours without going crazy over home practice of that instrument. Drums, after all, may not fit us all.

Thankfully, with School Board support, and LCAP funding, we have welcomed back the spiritual soundtrack of our lives.  The enrichment surely can’t hurt our kids and our collective humanity. It’s an opportunity to celebrate as we affirm Frederick Nietzsche’s charge that “without music, life would be a mistake.”

Walter Ruehlig, Trustee, Antioch School Board

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Celebrate Antioch Foundation announces winners of Lighted Holiday Parade and offers thanks.

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

The dancers from Melody’s Dance Studio were the Overall Winners of the 2017 Antioch Lighted Holiday Parade. Herald file photo

Celebrate Antioch would like to say “Thank you” to the community and the City! We had a wonderful turnout for the Lighted Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting ceremony. You could feel the holiday cheer and the excitement of the children as they visited with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The parade was well attended by our residents both with entries and people watching the performers. Seeing the community gather in such a positive manner is what makes the planning of the Holiday Parade and 4th of July festivities seem like play instead of work.

A special thank you to the City, they did a wonderful job of decorating the tree and setting up for the tree lighting. Having the Music Masters singing Christmas carols before the lighting was a nice addition, this year.

Following is our list of winners for the parade in the various categories, as well as our overall winner.

OVERALL WINNER: Melody’s Dance Studio

Scouts: Delta Gateway Girl Scouts of America

Civic Community Service Clubs: Antioch Rotary Club, YWCA of Contra Costa

Commercial for Profit:  Antioch Delta Skimmers

Entertainment Performance: Golden State Soul Line Dancers, El Pinto Ranch

Cultural Costumed: Rancho Los Centenarios

Musical Instrumental: Antioch High School Marching Band and Deer Valley Marching Band

Clubs: Antioch Lapidary Club

Youth Children non-scouts: El Campanil Children’s Theater

Dance/Gymnastics: Elite Dance/Special Haven

Public Officials: Mayor Sean Wright making three laps

The Celebrate Antioch Foundation is looking forward to another year of bringing celebration to our City with the 4th of July Parade, fireworks all the festivities down out the Fairgrounds on the 4th of July and of course the Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting.

To everyone once again, Thank You!!!! We wish you Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

Celebrate Antioch Foundation

See photos of the parade on the Herald website by clicking, here.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Letter writer claims there’s deceit in the Republican tax plan

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

Dear Editor:

You know what the shame is with the Republican tax bill besides raising taxes on the middle class and giving billions of dollars to the upper 10%, it is when the $1.5 trillion budget deficit is not paid for by the supposed growth of the economy, they will not raise taxes to make up the difference, they will cut spending for the ACA, Medicare and Social Security. This is their strategy to do away with these middle-class benefits.

They, the Republicans, are not only despicable but criminally negligent in their responsibility as members of the US Congress. So be it, it is up to the rest of us to throw these carpetbaggers out of office in 2018.

Harry Thurston

Antioch

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch School Board president responds to criticism of district schools

Saturday, November 18th, 2017

Dear Editor:

If Antioch had a dime for every time it has been bashed, our streets would be paved with gold. Inarguably, our schools take a disproportionate share of that thrashing.

I am the first to admit that Antioch schools have their set of pressing concerns, particularly on what I call the ‘Big Three’: parental engagement, student motivation and behavior, and state proficiency on test scores, especially math. Let’s review.

If you can’t get Mohammed to the mountain, you bring the mountain to Mohammed.  Without parental support education is an uphill climb so we need creatively expand even more our already concerted efforts to get mom and dad involved, be it thru home visits, Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) meetings, social media or parenting skill workshops.

As to behavior, after several years of dramatic decline, suspensions are, perplexingly, up 16% this school year. We are working double time to address this.

With math, that’s an area where we need a radical departure in approach. Our 20% proficiency rate is simply unacceptable.

It takes a new seed to develop a new crop. We need ever-bolder actions, aggressive interventions and individuated, pull-out instruction to overcome this perennial thorn on a core skill.

That said, on our weaknesses, we can’t completely ignore social context. Some sample facts: from 2000 to 2012 the city’s violent crime rate doubled; our number of English language learners tripled; the number of homeless, public school students increased from 382 in 2011 to 706 in 2014; the number of students residing in group homes rose 144% in the past six years; 40% of district students live in homes without secure parental employment; 1 out of 5 students had suicidal ideation; 1 in 5 students reported prescription drug usage.

Sadly, we haven’t even touched on the distressing subjects of broken homes, latch-key kids, parental abuse, transiency, the epidemic of attention deficit syndrome; societal permissiveness, the erosion of public civility; the seduction of electronic gadgetry, etc.

Amidst the societal chaos, though, our educators seek solutions, not excuses, and do their best, against great odds.  Day in and day out much good goes unheralded.

  • We can celebrate Antioch’s graduation rate soaring above state average.  Its’ 6.3% increase last year was one of the highest California increases in the State.
  • Dozier-Libbey Medical School has been honored as a California Distinguished School and Deer Valley High as an Honor Roll School.
  • The Antioch School Board, Chamber of Commerce, Planning Commission and City Council all approved Rocketship, a third Antioch public charter school. to be housed in a 14,5 million dollar state-of-the-art, zero net energy campus off 18th Street. The school underscores our openness and community richness in recognizing many unique seats at the table; traditional, private, alternate, charter and home study schools.
  • Unquestionably, Antioch is known as a trailblazer in linked learning with real-life career paths in law, the medical field, engineering, green energy, digital arts, business, research and the performing arts with GPA, attendance and graduation rates prosper.
  • Music is back, alive and well, with 1300+ students involved at the elementary level, allowing a pipeline tor the higher grades and a great outlet for creativity, self-esteem and brain development.
  • The number of students taking Advanced Placement exams has grown 71.6% over the past 5 years.
  • The number of U.C.-system qualified graduates rose 6.9% over the last 5 years and more of our high school students are now co-enrolling at community college, gaining credits and exposure.
  • Counselors, for the first time, are present in all of our schools, from elementary to high.  Not long ago we had no counselors. Now our ratio of counselors to students is one of the highest in the state and at 500 to one double the California average of 1,000 to 1.
  • In a recent LCAP funding evaluation the State determined that Antioch met or exceeded expectations in eight of nine categories. (To little surprise, we fell short on math in grades 3-8),

This letter, then, hopefully. demonstrates that we have a mixed bag with ample good, bad and, yes, sometimes ugly; but while we squarely face our undeniable flaws we don’t have to dwell on challenges alone.   We can also acknowledge and build upon successes.

Each of us can do our bit by involved parenting, by having high expectations of our children and schools, perhaps by civic volunteering, joining PTA, or tutoring. Yes, there is considerable work to be done for Antioch to become the destination city many of us dream of it being. To that end, we must honestly self-reflect and then roll up our collective sleeves and become part of the solution and not the problem.

Walter Ruehlig

President, Antioch School Board

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Writer says Frazier again gets ‘F’ on taxes

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

Editor:

You can thank Assemblyman Jim Frazier for that pain at the pump you’re feeling now that gas is an extra 12 cents per gallon.

Frazier and his fellow Democrats in Sacramento raised taxes $52 billion annually, including a 12 cents/gallon gas tax hike, 20 cents/gallon diesel gas tax hike and a $25-$175 vehicle fee increase. The average household will be paying an extra $600 a year.

Frazier not only voted for the tax-hike legislation, but sponsored his own version of the tax-hike bill, Assembly Bill 1. So it’s no surprise that Frazier once again received an “F” on his legislative report card from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. He voted in favor of taxpayer interests only 16 percent of the time on 22 tax bills in 2017.

This makes the fifth year in a row that Frazier, whose campaign slogan is “People before politics,” has received an “F” from HJTA for putting politics before people when it comes to their taxes.

Unfortunately, Frazier is not alone – a record 79 legislators flunked the tax scorecard. “By approving major new burdens on middle class taxpayers, the current crop of Sacramento lawmakers is exhibiting an outright hostility to the taxpayers who pay the state’s bills,” said HJTA President Jon Coupal.

How bad is the hostility? State lawmakers this year proposed $373.4 billion in higher annual taxes and fees, according to the California Tax Foundation. That’s nearly $200 billion more than the total taxes and fees annually collected by state government.

When will it end? Only when taxpayers decide they’ve had enough and stop sending taxaholics like Frazier to represent them in Sacramento.

Dave Roberts

Oakley

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter