Archive for the ‘Letters to the Editor’ Category

Writer provides update on Measure O campaign expenditures

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Dear Editor:

I am a 45-year resident of Antioch,a senior, a homeowner, a professional businesssman (Consulting Civil Engineer)and a member of the “Residents for Fairness – Yes on Measure O” campaign committee. I have been promoting a yes vote on Measure O by writing letters to both the Internet and paper news media, helping with placement of 200 small signs and 20 large signs about town, and distributing flyers to voters’ homes explaining Measure O. A total of 2,500 flyers were printed and distributed over the past week by our committee members. I personally distributed over 1300 flyers. Unfortunately, due to a shortage of volunteers to continue distribution, the program was discontinued after Saturday 10/25.

The “No on Measure O Coalition” has through 10/24 raised funds to out-spend the “Yes on O” committee by a ratio of 13 to 1. According to their Form 497 Contribution Reports filed with the City, they have raised $173,575 from eleven contributers with the funds mostly coming from out-of town real estate investors and associations located in Dallas Texas, Scottsdale Arizona, Los Angeles, Roseville, Sacramento, Oakland, and Walnut Creek. The California Apartment Association in Sacramento contributed $50,000 alone. Only two of the eleven contributing entities are located in Antioch: Oak Village Apartments and ENN Property Management.

In contrast, the Yes on Measure O committee has raised only $13,680 through 10/27 from Antioch citizens and local organizations. Fortunately, we do have a knowledgeable dedicated group of volunteers conducting a minimum cost campaign. I urge all concerned citizens of Antioch to jump-in and help during the final days until Election Day to get out the yes vote on O. Don’t let the big money outsiders tell us how to run our City with their slick cartoons, twisted facts, and outright lies!

Larry L. Harrison

Residents for Fairness – Yes on Measure O” Campaign Committee

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Walter Ruehlig offers reasons for running, again for Antioch School Board

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Dear Editor:

As Yogi Berra would have it, it looks like deja vu all over again. Seems once again that  I can’t escape my sanity being questioned. Ten years ago I contemplated a race for Antioch School Board. I asked the late,great, Mno Grant his opinion on my throwing a hat in the ring. He told me it depended upon how big the hole was in my head.

After all, Antioch had suffered a spate of scandals, including a 9.8 million dollar deficit and entry on the ignominious county Fiscal Watch List. Running for office was like asking to be tarred and feathered.

In the end, I threw abandon to the winds; ran twice; and was deeply honored to win twice.  I was fortunate to play a role in summarily getting us off the Watch List, restoring public trust, starting a streak of seven of eight years of API score increase and initiating the linked pathways, career themed model that shined the reform spotlight.

In 2012,  I began a two year hiatus from school governance. Again, friends question the size of the hole in my head as I now  vie for office. It certainly isn’t for the money that I consider giving up having a real life. Heck, by my calculation,  the $400 monthly stipend comes out to about $4.85 hourly compensation. That’s if you don’t deduct the spent  gas and the paying functions you attend. 

Why then entertain abandoning the return to normalcy and of enjoying time for family, exercise, reading and hobbies? I guess I’m guilty of caring. 

I care about the eight million dollar settlement and the six 5-7 year old autistic kids who were physically and emotionally abused. I care about the achievement gap of minority, foster kid and English language learner students. I care about the overwhelming majority of our kids who graduate unqualified for U.C. system entry.  I care for twenty six million dollars in deficit spending.  I care about having a chair at the table for students of all niches; traditional, alternative. academy, charter, home study, remote and independent, I care about the disconnect between downtown and the grassroots that has spawned teacher dissatisfaction and parental revolts.

And yes, I care to the point of a sick stomach about schools, from elementary upwards, reporting their classrooms and yards riddled with disruption as an admittedly small number of kids terrorize teachers and fellow classmates. That’s outright unacceptable. 

Surely, we can do better than denial. Yes, Houston, we have a problem.  In fact, an emergency. Transparency, communication, partnerships, common sense and consequences seem shortchanged.

I may not have all the answers, but I promise not to sit and hope that answers somehow drop in my lap; I’ll demand accountability, respectfully disagree when needed, ask questions, civilly poke and prod staff, and stir the pot with dialogue and best practice research. Together, we can start by breaking open the silos and getting all stakeholders to the table; students, parents, teachers and community leaders. We know it all starts at home, so we need engagement.

Simply put, I don’t want to wallow in, and wring hands over, our litany of challenges. I want, instead., to vigorously seek out solutions because our kids and teachers deserve the best education that we can give them and that begins with safety…and, your Honor, yes, if caring translates to a hole in the head, then I am guilty as charged.

Walter Ruehlig

Antioch

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Writer says Antioch needs to pass Measure O to avoid bankruptcy

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Dear Editor,

Voting Yes for Measure O is one of the most important things Antioch seniors, homeowners and business owners can do at this moment in time.  This city is on the brink of bankruptcy while thugs and filth try to turn Antioch into another ghetto.

Public records show that the California Apartment Association (CAA) in Sacramento CA along with other out of town groups have contributed over $173,000 to defeat Measure O.  Our group of seniors, the Friday Morning Breakfast Club has raised about $13,680.  It is hard to understand people that have business investments in Antioch demanding they should be exempt from paying for a business license.  The money they contributed to defeat Measure O could have been used towards the business license and the revenue could have gone for city services, paving the way for a safer, cleaner Antioch.

The CAA and their cronies lie when they say Measure O is dishonest.  Please don’t let out of town special interest groups deceive you.  You can go online to “antiochmeasureo.com” and read the facts.  Please vote Yes on Measure O.

Marie Livingston

Antioch

 

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Parks Director Beverly Lane endorses Burgis

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Dear Editor:

When you vote, be sure to support Diane Burgis who is running for East Bay Regional Parks Director District in Brentwood, Byron, Discovery Bay, Oakley, Antioch, Pittsburg, Bay Point, Martinez, Crockett, Hercules and Pinole. Diane brings new energy, a knowledge of environmental education, and great experience working with Boards and Councils.

She is executive director of Friends of Marsh Creek and has a devotion to open space and parks which in unrivaled in this election. Both retiring Director Ted Radke and Congressman George Miller support her.

I am an EBRPD Board member whose Ward extends east to Round Valley and north through Concord who would love to welcome a new Board member with Diane’s dedication to public service.

Vote for Diane Burgis for EBRPD Director of Ward 7 on your November 4 ballot.

Thank you,

Beverly Lane

Director, EBRPD Ward 6 in Contra Costa County

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Walter Ruehlig offers an approach for kids who are acting out after school

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Dear Editor:

Student, staff and public safety is vital. Start with the parents. Face it, we are going around in circles if we don’t get their support. Reach out by home visits, phone calls, e-mails, evening assemblies.

Then implement a two-pronged approach of serious consequence mixed with serious rehabilitation, One without the other guarantees a revolving door. Yes, meter out the rules, but, being constructive, identify student offenders who are failing (which, I promise you, most of the acting-out kids will be). With parental support, put the kids in a period eight and nine tutoring and credit recovery class. Connect to individual needs: counselors, social workers, psychologists or simply adult mentors.

Now our at-risk kids are no longer out on the streets but raising their academics and getting guidance. Have guest speakers from the community talk on life skills and the consequences of wise and unwise life decisions. If they become repeat offenders, move students away from their buddies to an all-day credit-recovery site. No games or free pass, but tough love and a helping hand.

Walter Ruehlig, Antioch

Ruehlig is a candidate for the Antioch School Board in the November election.

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Retiring Board Member Radke endorses Burgis for East Bay Regional Park District Board

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Dear Editor:

I have decided not to run for reelection on the East Bay Regional Park’s District Board in 2014.  I would like to thank you for your years of support and I have been honored to serve you.

A friend and environmentalist, Diane Burgis, is running to replace me on the EBRPD Ward 7 Board, in November. Diane is currently Executive Director of the Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed and serves on the Oakley City Council.

Diane is the most qualified person to take my seat on the Board and I look forward to her environmental stewardship for our Parks. Her professional life is dedicated to conservation, protecting open space, habitat restoration, and clean water. In 2011, she was awarded the “Watershed Champion” award by the Contra Costa County Watershed Forum for her work to build partnerships and provide leadership in protecting, restoring and enhancing creeks and watersheds.

Diane has been endorsed by Congressman Jerry McNerney, State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, Assemblwoman Joan Buchanan, Assemblyman Jim Frazier, Contra Costa County Supervisors John Gioia, Mary Piepho and Federal Glover, Mayor Rob Schroder and other mayors throughout our area.

I can think of no one better suited than Diane Burgis to serve on the East Bay Regional Parks District Board. Diane’s commitment to bettering our environment and ensuring access to open space, conservation of habitat, and environmental education programs makes her an excellent choice to replace me on the Board. I expect Diane to inject new energy and ideas into the Parks District organization.

I urge you all to vote for her on November 4.

Ted Radke

Director, East Bay Regional Parks District, Ward 7

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Ruehligs support new community college location, closer to Antioch

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

Dear Editor:

The September 10th meeting of the Contra Costa Community College Board was at least a partial victory for the voice of common sense. First, BART President Joel Keller and a number of supporting people spoke. They advocated exploring a possible land swap for the 17 acre proposed campus at Marsh Creek Road behind Trilogy Retirement Village.

After Board comment, the College Board President, John Marquez (Area I) formed a feasibility committee to assess the viability of Mr. Keller’s proposal. This consisted of Board Vice President John Nejedly (Area IV) and Trustee Greg Enholm (Area V). Since then the Chancellor, Helen Benjamin, has suggested hiring a professional consultant with site evaluation expertise.

I am heartened that the College Board is not blindly lurching forward as any final decision will have generational consequences.  The new site is five miles from Lone Tree on a dim two way road down the Highway bypass. A representative from Tri-Delta spoke adversely of the site saying, that at best, transportation would be spotty.

At the Board meeting my wife, Cynthia Ruehlig, a Trustee with the County Board of Education, but speaking as a private citizen, concurred. She stated that that those with disabilities and economic hardship would suffer most as many people in East County did not have cars.

On the other hand, the proposed new site, off Mokelumne Trail between Lone Tree and Sand Creek Roads adjacent to Highway 4, has acsessability.  An e-BART station is projected for that site and it is much more central to all area high schools. That weighs importantly as there is an increasing trend towards high schoolers taking concurrent college classes.

Lastly, we’re all hoping that our senior citizens be spared a horror show.  Picture up to 11,000 car trips daily streaming into the now peaceful retirement area of Trilogy and Sumerset.  Many of the students will, invariably, be late to class and rushing. Imagine the dangers of many taking ancillary side roads like Fairview.

For the interests of young and old, then, there are challenging questions to be answered.  Much rides in the balance.

Walter Ruehlig

Antioch

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Writer says Frazier scores low on tax bills

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

Dear Editor:

When Jim Frazier first ran for Assembly two years ago, he promised to put people before politics. Unfortunately, like most politicians, he has failed to live up to his campaign promises, too often putting politics before people (also known as taxpayers).

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has given Frazier the grade of ‘F’ on its report card for the 2013-14 legislative session. Frazier voted in favor of taxpayers only 21 percent of the time on 15 important bills, including votes supporting tax increases and attacks on Proposition 13.

Frazier did better on the California Taxpayers Association report card for 2013, voting in taxpayer interests 41.7 percent of the time. But this year Frazier has voted with taxpayers just 30 percent of the time. That’s based on 35 bills “that would have a lasting impact on California’s tax structure, and would affect economic certainty, equity, transparency and the complexity of California taxes,” according to CalTax.

Only six of the 80 Assembly members scored worse than Frazier on the CalTax report card. And only 12 Assembly members received a worse score from HJTA.

If you believe your taxes are too low and that government spends your money better than you do, then give Jim Frazier two more years in the Assembly. If you feel that you are over-taxed and prefer to keep your hard-earned dollars, then Alex Henthorn, who favors lowering sales and business property taxes, deserves your vote.

Dave Roberts

Oakley

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