Archive for the ‘Letters to the Editor’ Category

Letter writer opposes American intervention in Syria

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Editor:

In April of 2011, there were serious negative implications towards citizens of Syria who challenged and protested against the authoritarian like government they lived in. Protesters were killed for their activism by troops, which caused many Syrian citizens to rebel and fight for their basic social rights. Ultimately, the controversy resulted in a civil war between these two parties who feuded over a style of government. Recently, there have been claims that Syrian officials have been using chemical weapons against their own citizens. The Obama administration felt that these acts by al-Assad were inhumane and that the United States needed to set a degree of limitation in the current civil war in the Middle East. Al-Assad’s regime has tested the supposed consequences of the Obama administration and will not back down to United States authority. Now, the United States is faced in a dilemma on whether a war on Syria should be declared.

According to the article titled “Syria Death Toll: More than 110,000 Dead In Conflict” by the Huffington Post in September 2013, “The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the toll since the beginning of the 29-month uprising now stands at 110,371 people, with at least 40,146 civilians killed including nearly 4,000 women and more than 5,800 children.” The United States is trying to promote global peace and enforce their power as world police, but wouldn’t a war just add more violence to both Syrian citizens and American troops? According to October 2013 statistic on AntiWar.com, there have been 32,021 American soldiers that have been wounded from the Iraq War. The United States needs to learn from its mistakes.

The national interests of the United States are to not invade Syria. Avoiding intervention will help save the lives of Syrians, as well as American troops. While the United States has made a red line that should not be crossed, it is not worth the unfortunate effects of war. Policy makers and government officials of the United States need to make nonintervention in Syria as a way to promote global peace, not to start another war.

Karan Arora

Antioch

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Antioch School Board President writes regarding CPUC fine of PG&E

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Dear Editor,

As a member of the Antioch Unified School District Board of Education, I recognize that our primary goal as a board is to ensure the safety of all Antioch students. Our capacity to do that relies heavily on the partnerships within and outside the school system. PG&E has continuously provided support to our school by safely operating the Gateway Generating Station, rebuilding the Antioch City Park after a senseless act of arson, and supporting the development of the Antioch Community Center so that we can provide educational opportunities for our city’s youth through specialty programs focusing on the environment and sustainability.

Because of our successful partnership, the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion deeply saddened our board and the entire Antioch community. We were concerned about what this type of explosion may signal about the safety of our local infrastructure. It also left many parents wondering if an outdated pipeline existed near or around their child’s school.

Since then, I am happy to see the significant progress PG&E has made in rebuilding the trust of our parents and community members. After the disaster, PG&E has made critical leadership changes, paid over $70 million in restitution to victims, and, most important, has invested over $2.2 billion in pipeline and infrastructure safety upgrades.

Now that three years have passed since the tragedy, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) staff has recommended a fine so severe it ranks as one of the largest penalties on record, estimated at more than $4 billion including the $2.2 billion PG&E had previously made in pipeline safety upgrades. A large portion of the additional $2.5 billion fine, $300 million, will be directed to the state’s general fund; instead of the safety and infrastructure upgrades that so many of our communities desperately need.

I urge CPUC to focus its attention on safety and infrastructure upgrades and not the political needs of Sacramento. This is one opportunity where we can stand up and demonstrate to parents and families that their children’s safety matter to all of us.

Respectfully,

Joy Motts

President, Antioch Unified School Board of Education

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Letter writer gives reasons to oppose Measure C

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Editor:

Vote “NO” on Antioch’s proposed Measure “C” General Fund Sales Tax.  It’s not a dedicated Police Tax. This General Fund Tax can be used for whatever any Council majority (3) wants!  Measure “C” increases your Sales Tax to 9 cents on the $1 for the taxable items purchased.  Don’t be fooled by their misrepresentations, questionable claims on their misleading signs and mailers!

The claimed police manpower shortage situation has been greatly created and contributed to by the Antioch Police themselves!  It’s also been a result of the weak City Council majorities, City Manager, City staff, unknowing volunteer groups purposely misled, and even the news media who don’t investigate or expose their pretentious charades.  They’ve allowed this to happen, not you!

The APOA always vigorously insisted on pay and benefit increase for themselves, not more manpower when given the choice!  Once the highly paid Police got what they wanted for themselves they then cried out about the lack of manpower and pushed for the need for more taxes (e.g., - the APOA’s President Tom Fuhrman signed the Argument In Favor)!  Do you really know what they’re paid and compensated in Antioch?  Well, we do!  Police recently received 9% in wage increases and an additional 4% more effective on 9/1/13, with more guaranteed yearly increases, costly multiyear contracts, and are keeping their generous “3% at 50″ retirement package (where they can retire with 100% of their highest pay)!

Some outrageous Antioch Police and City estimated salaries’ and benefits’ costs are; City Manager $350,000; Chief $330,000; Lts. $285,000; Sgts. $240,000; Corporals $200,000; Officers $180,000.  The public gets far less, and some with no retirement pay at all. It’s disgraceful!

They’re again using scare tactics to just tax you more!  This tax increase is unnecessary!  Increasing existing taxes isn’t the solution!  More taxes benefits those favoring its passage and those receiving future increased raises, benefits, and extremely generous pensions!  You shouldn’t pay for their uncontrolled overspending and mismanagement!

Property values are continuing to increase and as adjustments are made the City will receive more tax revenue!  The State has recently raised gasoline taxes by 3.5 cents more per gallon!  We have continuing increases in costs for our foods, utilities, sewer, groceries, medical, and unemployment! Antioch’s already raised water, garbage rates, business fees, etc.  Enough already!

City officials must do more to cut costs, or get out and let others do the right things!  Stop overspending, and definitely cut back excessive salaries and benefits for those overcompensated employees.

Vote “NO” on Antioch’s Measure “C”.

CITIZENS FOR DEMOCRACY

Ralph A. Hernandez, Chairperson and former Antioch City Council Member

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Writer shares thoughts on Councilman Agopian

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Editor:

Knowing City Councilman Gary Agopian as I do, I expected nothing less from the man than his spirited resolve to fight brain cancer with every ounce of his faith and his pledge to continue public service.

In four years serving with him on the Antioch School Board, through thick and thin, I never saw him flinch from challenge. I never saw him bitch, moan or whine, He’s a trooper and a certified positivist and if anybody can beat cancer, this warrior is the one to do so.

Knowing Mary Rocha, I again expected nothing less from this big-hearted woman than her glowing praise for Gary’s character. She, like so many of us, have grown to love Gary and to see him not as a towering 6’4” giant but as a teddy bear at heart.

You hit the bulls eye, Mary, when you characterized Gary as enormously dedicated to public service and a policy wonk who is always prepared. I found the same in him. There’s never any mistaking his unflappable commitment to homework, to the public goodwill, to speaking his mind and  to sticking to his conviction.

His charm is that beneath the passion is a gentleman’s soft streak. if Gary disagrees with you it is never personal and always respectful.

Certainly, all voters will, and should not, always agree on every policy decision but life is bigger than politics. I would daresay that all Antioch citizens of good faith are rooting for your recovery, Gary. You’re, after all, a good man, Charlie Brown. Antioch’s proud to have you.

Spit in the eye of this nemesis. Trust, a legion of prayers are with you.

Godspeed your recovery, my dear friend.

Walter Ruehlig

Antioch

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Letter writer offers advice for a successful school year

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Dear Editor:

Now that the dust has settled on another school year start, it’s a good time to take inventory with a parental quiz.

Are you assuming that everything is going swimmingly or are you taking nothing for granted and communicating vigorously with your child on what they’re doing and how’s it going? Any classwork problems, any bullying? Obviously, your kid doesn’t have a crystal ball and won’t know you value education unless you show it by showing interest, probing for issues, setting high expectations and insisting on hard work.

Are you on School Loop where with the touch of a computer keyboard you can assess your child’s attendance, assignments and grades? Today, there is no excuse to be surprised at a report card; you can catch the problem before it mushrooms.

Are you monitoring your child’s sleep habits? Remember, sleep deficit is a national epidemic and without those crucial 8 to 110 hours rest behavior, attitude, energy and focus all suffer. Be proactive by structuring homework time and limiting internet and T.V. usage.

Are you making sure your child gets a daily jump start with a good breakfast and maintains energy with a balanced lunch?

Have you set aside a quiet, comfortable work area with dictionary for your child to do their homework?

Have you pledged to read to, or with, your child, if not daily for twenty minutes, at least weekly?  Are you a role model of life-long learning who they see reading and do you use daily life experiences as teaching moments?

Do you praise your child’s achievements and honest efforts and, in the face of shortcomings, seek interventions?o If your child is struggling there are after school programs, real-time tutors thru the county library site at ccclib.org and over 3,000 heralded and, yes, free, on-line tutorials at www.khanacademy.org.

Education is a three legged stool of students, teachers and parents. It’s a simple fact that involved parents make a difference. Be an unsung hero as a mom or dad active in your child’s education. After all, you are their ultimate teacher. It all begins at home.

Walter Ruehlig

Antioch

Ruehlig is a former Antioch School Board Trustee

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Letter writer shares official argument against Antioch sales tax increase ballot measure

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Editor:

The following is our Argument AGAINST the Antioch Sales Tax Measure set for voting on November 5, 2013.  We ask that your readers consider the facts and information we’ve submitted before they vote.

Vote “NO” on increasing your Sales Tax to 9 cents on the $1 for all taxable items purchased.  The State just raised gasoline taxes by 3.5 cents more per gallon!  Antioch’s proposed tax increase also affects jobs and businesses (it’ll drive customers elsewhere)!  More taxes doesn’t mean better decisions.  It’ll benefit those favoring its passage and those receiving increased raises, benefits, and extremely generous pensions!  Pay more, get less!

Antioch’s Police salaries, retirement pay, and benefits have significantly increased again, making the public pay more!  Some employees’ outrageous estimated salaries’ and benefits’ costs; City Manager $350,000; Chief $330,000; Lts. $285,000; Sgts. $240,000; Corporals $200,000; Officers $180,000.

APOA always vigorously insisted on pay and benefit increases for themselves, not more manpower!  Police recently received 9% in wage increases (and 4% more effective on 9/1/13), more guaranteed yearly increases, costly multi year contracts, keeping their costly “3% at 50″ pension package.  The public gets far less, some with no retirement at all.  It’s shameful!

This General Fund tax can be used however any Council majority (3) wants!  They haven’t listened to you before!  You alone are the best “Oversight” on how your money’s spent, not their Appointees!

They’re again using scare tactics to just tax you more!  You shouldn’t pay for their uncontrolled overspending and mismanagement!  The Council majorities caused this, not you!

Property values are continuing to increase and as adjustments are made the City will receive more tax revenue!  This tax increase is unnecessary!  We have continuing increases in costs for utilities, sewer, groceries, medical, and unemployment!  Antioch’s already raised water, garbage rates, business fees, etc.  Enough already!

Increasing existing taxes isn’t the solution!  City officials must do more to cut costs!  Stop overspending, and definitely cut back excessive salaries and benefits for those overcompensated employees.

Vote “NO”

CITIZENS FOR DEMOCRACY

by – Ralph A. Hernandez, Chairperson,

and former Antioch City Council Member

Antioch, Ca. 94509

#(925) 565-9659

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Letter writer supports sales tax increase

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Dear Editor:

Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face,” was a comment I often heard from my grandmother whenever I would complain, as a teenager, about how I had been wronged in some way and wanted to get back at those that hurt me. She’s been gone now for over forty years but her advice is as good today as it was back then.

If the half-cent sales tax in Antioch is rejected by voters, the community will need a complete face lift, not just a nose replacement. It’s true that we need more police officers, but we also need a whole spectrum of other important things; community development, code enforcement, job growth, road repairs, care for our seniors and young people, water treatment, transportation and many others.

That’s why I accept the council’s decision not to dedicate all the new revenues to just police services and public safety. To do so at this time would be short sighted. If Antioch is to have any kind of a future we need to plan for it now while we still have the chance.

As to the argument that our residents will leave this area to shop in neighboring cities, I don’t buy that argument. Pittsburg and Brentwood residents haven’t flocked to Antioch because of their tax increases. They’re still shopping at the stores they like – it’s just human nature. The fact that the tax will be eliminated in seven years means that the economy is expected to grow and eventually be self-sustaining; making our community a place we can all be proud to call home.

I’m not happy about it but, it is, what it is and it won’t get any better until we all put our money where our mouth is. I‘m confident there are a multitude of people out there who will make darn sure our money is spent wisely!

Barbara Herendeen

Antioch

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Writer opposes Antioch sales tax increase ballot measure

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Dear Editor:

I have turned in the following argument against the proposed sales tax increase measure for the November election 2013.

Argument against the Sales Tax increase

Vote NO on increasing Antioch sales tax beyond the current levels.

The tax dollar would NOT be dedicated to police services and public safety, the number one priority among citizens, but go to the general fund. The sitting council has failed to produce any solutions to Antioch’s crime problem. There is NO plan from our Mayor Harper, Councilman Agopian, and Council woman Rocha, even all three run their re-election campaign in 2012, “tough on crime” Our sitting council had not offered any public discussion, nor produced a plan, how and where the anticipated money will be spend. The City needs to buy locally, and award contracts to local businesses. We need to have open discussions about budget reviews, pension reforms, and reducing the City’s business permit process. We need to conduct independent audit‘s, and a “Workload Study” of our police department. We need to be “brutally honest” if we want to stop our “crime emergency” (Agopian) A created “Crime Sub-Commission”, (Nov/Dec, 2012) has never met. If that measure passes, it does NOT create a steady flow of money, it’s depend on the economy and spending ability/ location of Antioch residents, on top of it, the proposed sales tax increase is eliminated in 7 years. On July 30, 2013, our Chief of Police announced a dramatic, double digest, crime drop for the first 6 month of 2013. We cannot afford to paralyze our businesses with higher taxes, and drive customers to shop in neighboring cities. Antioch residents cannot afford to pay higher taxes.

Vote NO on this tax increase. It is NOT a solution.

Karl Dietzel

Antioch

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