Archive for the ‘Letters to the Editor’ Category

Writer responds to Antioch School Board Trustee’s comment on Friday night incident at Safeway

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Dear Editor:

A message to bleeding hearts justifying acts of vandalism or violence in Antioch.

Lack of planning plus lack of imagination equals boredom. Own up. Pick up a book or pick up a ball. Libraries and parks are free. The world is not responsible for your action or your entertainment.

Cynthia Ruehlig, Antioch

NOTE: This was written and submitted in response to a comment about the incident posted on Facebook by Antioch School Board Trustee Debra Vinson, who wrote “Terrible! Boredom is always bad!”

Share this:
email Writer responds to Antioch School Board Trustees comment on Friday night incident at Safeway su Writer responds to Antioch School Board Trustees comment on Friday night incident at Safeway digg Writer responds to Antioch School Board Trustees comment on Friday night incident at Safeway fb Writer responds to Antioch School Board Trustees comment on Friday night incident at Safeway twitter Writer responds to Antioch School Board Trustees comment on Friday night incident at Safeway

Writer explains need for Charter City as solution to Antioch’s financial challenges, unfunded liabilities

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Editor’s Note: The following was received via email on May 5 but not published, until now. I apologize for the oversight and delay. Allen Payton, Publisher & Editor

Dear Editor:

It is the process in today’s internet driven world that everyone should and seems to express their opinion. Criticism, finger pointing and blame are the actions of the day. Solutions seem few and far between. This is the case with the article written by Ms. Barbara Zivica aka Watchdog.

Alarmed? You should be alarmed Barbara. The City of Antioch is moving quickly to massively reduced services and possible bankruptcy in about five years. The necessary reductions in service and staff at the City will make the Great Recession look like a walk in the park. Why? Because this Council and recent previous Councils simply want to keep kicking the financial responsibility can down the road.

I know of no business including my own that runs in such a manner. At least not for very long.

What is your solution, Barbara?

This problem cannot be budgeted away with savings. Go back and look at the Finance Director’s General Fund projections for 2017 to 2023. Don’t look at the power point presentation for 2015-2016 which is on line. That is just fluff for today. The projected negative numbers are massive; and rises quickly to a negative $28,000,000.00 for a budget projected at $65,000,000.00 in 2020.

CalPERS [the California Public Employee Retirement System] calls the retirement program a “Golden Handshake”. Sounds similar to “Golden Parachute” doesn’t it? Just who’s gold are we dealing with here anyway and can we just walk away from the commitments we have made to past and current employees? Well; legally no we cannot; and morally it would be fundamentally wrong.

What we can do is close our participation in the current CalPers system, grandfather existing employees, and move all future employees to a City “Defined Retirement Contribution” system. Or, close all participation and move all current and future employees to a new system, vesting current employees to the date of termination of CalPers participation in the old system and paying our unfunded obligation.

And, the City must take a position that the full retirement contribution henceforth must be paid in the year it is earned in any new retirement system. This is called fiscal responsibility.

What I proposed as a possible solution is an income generation from transfer fees applied to real property transfers with the entire amount collected on an annual basis going to pay the unfunded retirement obligation the City is facing as noted in the Annual Valuation Report from CalPers. Nothing else to be funded by this income stream until the CalPers unfunded obligation is paid in full. No option by this or future Councils or staff for any other use of these funds.

Coming to a real number owed to CalPers is not easy to calculate. It appears to be somewhere between $35,000,000.00 and $133,000,000.00 for safety employees and for all other employees it is between $43,000,000.00 and $123,000,000.00.

A solid unfunded number to work from would be an average of the best and worst numbers stated by CalPers. Meaning the most likely liability by the City of Antioch for all employees would be approximately; $164,000,000.00.

Why is the range so large? Because based on the numbers provided by CalPers the only way one can truly come to some understanding of what is being processed is to look at the projected number if you continue in the plan infinite or if you terminate participation. There is no projection if you grandfather current employees and move future employees to a new system.

In simple terms CalPers projects for 2015 a return of 18%. Unrealistic nonsense. Also, what is very clear is that CalPers uses funds deposited this year and every year by participant Cities to pay retired employees if the return on investment does not meet the projection. We all call that in the real world a Ponzi scheme.

But wait there is more. Because it is a Defined Benefit Program, when it really gets economically bad, CalPers can just send the City a subsequent bill for the additional funds that are needed to pay the Benefits. Or the City’s unfunded liability goes up. There is no limit, ever.

So, let me ask you one more time, Barbara. What is your solution?

Mark Jordan, Antioch

Jordan is a Real Estate Broker in and resident of Antioch.

Share this:
email Writer explains need for Charter City as solution to Antiochs financial challenges, unfunded liabilities su Writer explains need for Charter City as solution to Antiochs financial challenges, unfunded liabilities digg Writer explains need for Charter City as solution to Antiochs financial challenges, unfunded liabilities fb Writer explains need for Charter City as solution to Antiochs financial challenges, unfunded liabilities twitter Writer explains need for Charter City as solution to Antiochs financial challenges, unfunded liabilities

Writer asks Is anyone paying attention?

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

Dear Editor:

Have you noticed anything lately?

“Believe we’re gliding down the highway

When in fact we’re slip slidin’ away

Slip slidin’ away

Slip slidin’ away

You know the nearer your destination

The more you’re slip slidin’ away…”

Paul Simon, Slip Slidin’ Away lyrics

economic collapse WND Writer asks Is anyone paying attention?

courtesy of WND.com

It has been the progressive spirit of the age wearing down the true masculine and feminine roles in family and society. But no one seems to care. We’re all just “slip slidin’ away.”

Today, decades of progressivism has paved the way for breakneck speeds down the slippery slopes of immorality and relativism (relativism: the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute). Politics are so filled with lies and compromise that true Statesmen, whether black, white or Hispanic are assassinated by innuendos and miss-characterizations and boldface lies.

The foundation of civilization, which is the family unit, has been dismantled, reinvented and co-opted (co-opt: to divert to or use in a role different from the usual or original one) that marriage to anything or anyone will constitute a legitimate family. The word love has lost its meaning and significance, and Christianity is just as guilty with the abuse of the word “love” and its true and authentic meaning.

God has been relegated (relegated: consign or dismiss to an inferior rank or position), to the single attribute of love. God, has been singularly redefined or overly stated as “love,” which diminishes his Holiness, his Justice, his Righteousness and Wrath.

If God is singularly loving, then there is no need for a Savior and there is no difference between sin and holiness. For why would you need to be saved from a loving God? Christ became our substitute sacrifice, thus taking upon himself all of God’s wrath. Therefore, without belief and obedience in Christ, people remain under the wrath of God. True compassion is to warn people about God’s wrath and not to cheapen God’s holiness, and justice by offering God’s love apart from Christ’s sacrifice!

Mainstream Christianity has been infiltrated with the progressive spirit of the age. We have forgotten Jesus’ warning about the leaven of the Pharisee and especially the leaven of Herod. Both the religious and political spirits of our time has seized control and influence of many pulpits, church boards and Christian colleges.

Our families, marriages, children, police forces, law and order; our educational systems, transportation, freedom of speech and the right to self-protection are under tremendous stress and attack. Even the bees are under attack!

The CDC and the world’s scientists have a name for what’s been happening to the global bee population, it’s called “CCD,” or “Colony Collapse Disorder.” Wow, how ironic! Even more so is the cause for the colony collapse. 1. The lack of adult bees in the hive, which protects the hive from invaders. 2. The nonexistence of the Queen bee. 3. Insufficient workforce to maintain the brood that is present. 4. The workforce is made up of too many young adult bees. 5. The colony members are reluctant to consume feed, such as sugar syrup and protein supplements.

bee Wikipedia Writer asks Is anyone paying attention?

courtesy of Wikipedia

This is no joke folks. This bee phenomena is much like our own cities, communities and neighborhoods and very similar to the breakup and breakdown of many families. Think about it! Check out the link to the Wikipedia article about Colony Collapse Disorder and read for yourselves:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colony_collapse_disorder

Even nature is trying to warn us that our human colony may also soon collapse!  Did you know that without the bee crops, plants and trees will suffer? Bees are a $200 billion dollar per year global business! Did you know that beekeepers rent out their bees to farmers and nurseries?

It has recently been reported that a deadly avian flu virus has infected more than 33 million turkeys, chickens and ducks in more than a dozen states since December of 2014. And this epidemic is still spreading from state to state. Price of eggs? How about the price of chicken and turkeys?

Drought 300x180 Writer asks Is anyone paying attention?

courtesy of www.dangerouscreation.com

Oh, and how about the apocalyptic drought in the Western United States? It is reported that some neighbors are actually stealing water from one another! Worried about your lawn? How about agriculture and the price of groceries? Maybe the up and coming summer blockbuster Mad Max Fury Road is more prophetic than action-packed entertainment.

Yet, as long as we have our goodies and gadgets, we will sell our liberty and freedoms for comfort and convenience. The world and nature is going to hell in a hand basket and we’re more concerned whether to buy an Apple or Samsung smart phone. God help us!

“For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (NKJV)

It’s not the fault of unbelievers, nor the fault of secularist for the condition of our Nation, but the fault of every believer who has sold their birthright as a Light Bearer and Salt Preserver for the warm stew of carnality.

Nothing short of the Church repenting and turning back to God and away from worldliness will this Nation’s disaster be averted. God has removed his blessing of this Great Nation because His people have removed God and His whole counsel from their homes, churches and businesses.

It is not because the unrighteous practice unrighteousness, but because the righteous practice sin that God’s judgment is upon us!

Inasmuch as the “race card” is ruining race relations, so also is the “love card,” ruining the image of the One True and Living God and the impact of His eternal Truth and Salvation. The “love card” depicts a benevolent god that requires no urgency to obey and no consequence for sin. This trend is synonymous with the Nicolaitans of the early Church.

The Nicolaitans were one of the heretical sects that plagued the churches at Ephesus and at Pergamum, according to Revelation 2:6, 15. The Nicolaitans taught that God is permissive, merciful, or tolerant of sin. As people subscribed to their teaching, they became subdued and conquered by this double standard lifestyle.

The first part of the name “Nicos” in Greek, means to conquer or to subdue, and the second part of this name “laitans” in Greek, means laos, or people. This heretical group’s teachings were conquering and subduing God’s people away from His Truth and making a mockery of His Grace. The love card has created a similar environment as the teachings of the Nicolaitans, and so many people have been duped into living double lives of sin for grace, and then falling into the loving arms of a “love god.” Is God love? Absolutely! But God’s love does not trump or nullify his other attributes, and this is where a great deal of Christianity has fallen into error.

The influence of Christianity has not been stolen, but given away. Its message has been diluted and cultural influence weakened. We have exchanged our place of an expanding Kingdom with the Gospel Mandate for a 501-(3) (C) status, and so the Church has become an apologist for Statism and has abrogated its moral authority to bureaucrats! (Statism: the belief in the primacy of the State over the rights of the individual).

Pay attention and check your oil, as the days are growing darker, and if you have no oil in your lamps, its total darkness forever!

Read Matthew 25: 1-13 for more important details.

Thomas Koester

Copperopolis, CA

Share this:
email Writer asks Is anyone paying attention? su Writer asks Is anyone paying attention? digg Writer asks Is anyone paying attention? fb Writer asks Is anyone paying attention? twitter Writer asks Is anyone paying attention?

Diversity vs. Equality – letter writer questions 8th grade African-American promotion ceremony in Antioch

Friday, June 5th, 2015

Dear Editor:

Pastor/minister Dr. Lamont A. Francies, also Counselor for Antioch Unified School District currently at Black Diamond Middle School campus, is the subject of community outcry this week as word of his “Antioch Unified School District 8th Grade African American Promotion Ceremony” began to spread on blogs and social media.

Starting with a column by Barbara Zivica in the online version of the Antioch Herald, entitled “Watchdog – Black only graduation ceremony in Antioch violates Supreme Court decision” published Sunday, May 31st, 2015 at 12:43 a.m.Barbara Zivica provides as support for her piece a photo image of a flier for the event and of an wmail containing it. The email was from an ASUD email address and addressed to other ASUD email addresses and included the text of the flyer as well as contact Information for Dr. Francies at his AUSD email and phone number. The flyer, clearly stating that it was an “Antioch Unified School District 8th Grade African-American Promotion Ceremony” also, like the email, includes Dr. Francies as the contact at his AUSD Email and Phone Number.

A subsequent article in the Antioch Herald by John Crowder entitled “African-American 8th grade promotion ceremony in Antioch raises concerns, organizer explains” on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015 at 5:33 p.m., related information from interviews and comments from various ASUD officials and Dr. Francies, indicating that the event was not intentionally sanctioned as an official ASUD sponsored event. Some even defending the event as appropriate, but not as an AUSD sponsored event. It was also noted that similar promotion celebration events have been held at Holy Rosary church.

In another Article on East County Today entitled “AUSD Explains ‘African American Promotion Ceremony’ flier” on June 6th, more comments as well as questions and answers from various AUSD officials were presented. The article includes an Editorial comment which expresses the opinion that the event was not endorsed or sponsored by AUSD and the district does not want to take any responsibility for it.

In further research I found an Article in the Contra Costa Times archive from 2/4/2014 by Trine Gallegos entitled “Antioch Middle School honors MLK and its top students, too,” in which were excerpts of an interview with Dr. Francies about an Antioch Middle School event honoring MLK combined with an “African-American Honor Roll Banquet”. Quoted in the article, Dr. Francies, repeated several times, the benefits to the community. He is sometimes referring to it as community and occasionally as African-American community as if they are synonymous.

It is my opinion that pastor/minister, Dr. Lamont A. Francies, who is also a counselor at Black Diamond Middle school, and as such a part of the school administrative staff for the school district, is the root of the controversy. I believe that this man is violating the trust of the community, by promoting his social and religious beliefs on the students under his and others responsibility. I believe that in his capacity as an educator, he is there to serve all students by furthering their education and achievements, regardless of their ethnicity or religious beliefs. I fear that the school district has been hijacked for one individual’s personal social and religious agendas.

The AUSD needs to take responsibility for the actions of its staff and deal with the problem by not only clarifying policy but acting on breaches of policy with expedience and authority. Dr. Francies should be fired from his position in order to bring the trust lost from all of the community back into the equation.

Lately, we hear the phrase “celebrate diversity” quite often, and I support the idea that we should celebrate the differences in us that makes us individuals. It is a very important cultural and heritage based concept. But we as a community are trying to make the celebration of diversity the evidence of equality. Diversity and equality by their standard definition are complete opposite concepts.

Dr. King was a very inspirational speaker and very significant catalyst to the creation of Civil Rights Act. His one speech, that I think is most often quoted is the “I Have a Dream” speech. In that speech he lays out what is his definition of equality. It was not treated “different.” It was not treated “better.” It was not “reparation.” It was “equality.” Equal treatment for all. I truly believe he is looking down on us now and shaking his head at what we as a community have done with his dream.

We are failing our community, children and future generations, by claiming diversity defines and demonstrates equality instead of doing the right thing inclusively by them. Civil Rights are about all of the things that we share equally and not about trying to compensate for current or historical inequities. Neither is it about celebrating diversity and emphasizing the individual or the group. It is about sharing and celebrating in equality, all of things that we have or should have in common. One nation created equal.

Doug Knowles, Antioch

Share this:
email Diversity vs. Equality   letter writer questions 8th grade African American promotion ceremony in Antioch su Diversity vs. Equality   letter writer questions 8th grade African American promotion ceremony in Antioch digg Diversity vs. Equality   letter writer questions 8th grade African American promotion ceremony in Antioch fb Diversity vs. Equality   letter writer questions 8th grade African American promotion ceremony in Antioch twitter Diversity vs. Equality   letter writer questions 8th grade African American promotion ceremony in Antioch

Letter writer asks Antioch residents for help on a “real” community watch program

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Dear Editor:

Hi, everyone I wanted to reach out and ask y’all what you think about an idea I have. I went by the Hudsons yesterday and had a moment to chat with a young lady that was collecting signatures for the recall and speed bumps. We chatted about how there is a group on the 11th block that looks out for the neighborhood and I expressed that I also was part of a smaller group on the 13th block. This made me wonder how I can make my city better. If I may digress slightly and briefly.

I’m an engineer, Eagle Scout and former Marine. The information that is being gathered is a huge asset to our cause of making our city a safe and desirable place to live. So, when I was over seas I was involved in some of the nastiest urban combat that our forces have ever seen but we made head way and took the cities back for the people to live safely and not in fear.

We would do things like walk and talks to get to know the people and show that we were approachable. We also frequently went to gathering places of the population, such as mosque, souks and bazarres to make contact with the population and the heads of households.

So, how can this help Antioch? Well, what I want to propose is if there aren’t any objections and that it’s all legal, why can’t we use the info gathered to start a real community watch program? This is an opportunity where we can have neighborhoods, all over the city, talking to one another and could work with our community policing officer with the APD to empower the people to take back our city.

I know from experience that if you empower the people and can get them all (the good guys) communicating you will have faster and lasting results that will make their communities safer and will give the enforcement agency, in this case APD, a better means in targeting problems and problem locations. This will empower us and create better community relationships with our police department and will make our city safe.

I would want to use this info to build on what formal neighborhood watch programs we have currently and do real meetings and classes once a month with APD and different parts of town to get the intel we can gather, to the people who can do something about it. So, if this sounds enticing let me know. Thanks for your time.

Patrick Wright

Antioch

Share this:
email Letter writer asks Antioch residents for help on a “real” community watch program su Letter writer asks Antioch residents for help on a “real” community watch program digg Letter writer asks Antioch residents for help on a “real” community watch program fb Letter writer asks Antioch residents for help on a “real” community watch program twitter Letter writer asks Antioch residents for help on a “real” community watch program

Writer claims independent effort to elect Glazer shatters $4 million mark

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Dear Editor:

During a debate with Assemblymember Susan Bonilla on KQED Forum, last week, State Senate candidate Steve Glazer claimed:

I have not sent out any mail. And I’ve not put on any radio ads or TV ads.”

That’s quite unusual for any campaign – even one for City Council or a Water Board, never mind a State Senate campaign in a competitive district.

How can Glazer not spend a dime on voter communication that’s part and parcel to nearly all political campaigns?

Because he relies exclusively on independent expenditures by special interests in a too-cute-by-half strategy that flirts with the law.

Those interests are shattering all records. As of last night, they have spent a record $4 million on his campaign:

- LA Republican developer Bill Bloomfield has now spent $ $1,771,013.95 [$596,000 in the first election, $8,400 in direct contributions from Bloomfield and his wife and $ $1,119,149.36since the March 17 election]

- JobsPAC, described by the Sacramento Bee as a political committee funded by tobacco, drug, and oil companies, has spent $1,242,322.85 [$376,476.53 in the first election and $865,846.32 since March 17]

- Charter Schools IE has spent $856,375.39 [$175,207.09 in the first election and $681,168.30 since March 17]

- EdVoice has spent $710,685.79  [$36,794.93 in the first election and $673,890.86 since March 17]

- Govern for CA Action Committee has spent $11,549.84, all since April 29

- Koch Brothers affiliated Independent Women’s Voice has spent $8,600 since May 6.

Meanwhile, as for the candidates:

- Glazer has raised $255,500.00 since March 17.

- Susan Bonilla reported $749,501.69 since March 17.

So how does the Glazer strategy work? Simple. Glazer posts information on his Facebook page and website. And bingo – they instantly become mail pieces and TV ads. In the last few weeks, this has included “letters” from his wife, his daughter, and even Glazer himself that turned into direct mail pieces. This is a far cry from the days when IE’s typically took images off a candidate’s website; Glazer knowingly posts this information directly for IE use since he admits his campaign has no direct mail, TV or radio effort.

(Glazer’s patron saint, GOP LA developer Bill Bloomfield, even owns and operates the website www.steveglazer.com).

So don’t believe Glazer’s consultant-talk about “special interests.” Without them, he’d have no campaign. And he knows it.

Steven Maviglio, Spokesman, Working Families Opposing Glazer for Senate 2015

Working Families Opposing Glazer for Senate 2015 is sponsored by labor organizations.  Major funding by California State Council of Service Employees Political Committee and California Teachers Association Independent Expenditure Committee.  Not authorized by a candidate or committee controlled by a candidate. 

Share this:
email Writer claims independent effort to elect Glazer shatters $4 million mark su Writer claims independent effort to elect Glazer shatters $4 million mark digg Writer claims independent effort to elect Glazer shatters $4 million mark fb Writer claims independent effort to elect Glazer shatters $4 million mark twitter Writer claims independent effort to elect Glazer shatters $4 million mark

Will L.A. businessman pass the $1 million mark in supporting Glazer for State Senate?

Saturday, April 11th, 2015

Dear Editor:

Smashing state spending records, as of today, Los Angeles businessman Bill Bloomfield has now spent $799,597.04 to elect Steve Glazer to the California State Senate.

That includes $195,197.04 since the March 17th election. And it includes $596,000 in the first round of the election plus the maximum $8400 in direct donations to Glazer (including $4,200 from his wife).

Who is Bloomfield? A long-time Republican who made a convenient switch to being a decline-to-state voter when he unsuccessfully ran against LA Democrat Henry Waxman for Congress, Bloomfield has a huge backer of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger along with President George W. Bush and John McCain. Bloomfield also is an Obamacare critic www.billbloomfield.com/credibility.

This special interest money is on top of the $493,805.02 JobsPAC has spent for Glazer and $223,496.78 from the Charter Schools IE.

What are all these wealthy interests putting their money behind Glazer? Because he doesn’t support increasing the minimum wage? Because he favors tax breaks for millionaires? Because he hasn’t have a word about income inequality on his website or campaign materials?

No one knows for sure. But as Bloomfield’s support of Glazer reaches the million dollar mark, it’s time to begin asking those questions.

Steve Maviglio

Forza Communications

Sacramento

Maviglio represents and is a spokesman for unions in California

Share this:
email Will L.A. businessman pass the $1 million mark in supporting Glazer for State Senate? su Will L.A. businessman pass the $1 million mark in supporting Glazer for State Senate? digg Will L.A. businessman pass the $1 million mark in supporting Glazer for State Senate? fb Will L.A. businessman pass the $1 million mark in supporting Glazer for State Senate? twitter Will L.A. businessman pass the $1 million mark in supporting Glazer for State Senate?

Letter writer challenges Glazer’s environmental record

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Dear Editor:

Steven Glazer is no environmentalist; I did some research. He’s an experienced pitchman who can help a developer distort a land grab by labeling it “creating open space.” A “communications expert” he helped turn a local forest into a golf course when he won approval of a luxury Novato housing project known as Black Point over objections of the Sierra Club. He opposed environmentalists again to defend a developer on the Humboldt Bay Waterfront. These aren’t the only times he helped a developer suppress public protests; ask Orinda residents where he’s mayor.

Glazer claims that his environmental leadership has been recognized by the Trust for Public Land and Save to Bay. Glazer was asked to advise on a finance handbook produced by the Trust. I suppose that could be seen as recognition of his leadership. He made a monetary contribution to Save the Bay that was recognized in the Annual Report. I couldn’t find proof that “Steve led efforts that raised hundreds of millions of dollars to permanently protect open space in California and 25 other states.”

He’s successfully repackaged land deals, propositions, and politicians. Now he’s selling himself the same way.

Carol Weed, Walnut Creek

Share this:
email Letter writer challenges Glazers environmental record su Letter writer challenges Glazers environmental record digg Letter writer challenges Glazers environmental record fb Letter writer challenges Glazers environmental record twitter Letter writer challenges Glazers environmental record