Archive for the ‘Letters to the Editor’ Category

Congressional candidate responds to accusations of anti-Semitism

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

John Fitzgerald


I find it interesting that simply pointing out the fact that Jews played a predominant role in the African Slave Trade along with questioning Israel and challenging their control over U.S. foreign-policy, consequently gets me labeled an anti-Semite and NAZI by Former Republican Chairman, Ron Nehring. I will bet that he has NEVER taken the time to read the numerous and informative links I have provided on my website that substantiate my claims. Does Mr. Nehring find it interesting that the ONLY historical issue that lands people in prison– in eighteen countries and counting– is the holocaust? This is a fact! Why is this and why do so many people get imprisoned under Orwellian Hate-Speech laws, simply for challenging any aspect of it outside the “official narrative?” Please read:

Also, watch this video of Monika Schaefer, who is also serving time in prison for apologizing to her mom’s spirit in a video: Isn’t debate good to rule out falsehoods, etc. and to glean fact? So why is the holocaust off-limits but no other issue? Also, why did South Carolina recently pass a similar Hate-Speech law strictly focusing on Israel and anti-Semitism in public schools and college campuses. Please read:…/south-carolina-passes-bill-to-fig….

Now Tennessee is soon doing the same and a federal law was just introduced last week in Congess to cover all 50 states for a similar anti-Semitism bill:…/. I find this remarkable and, even moreso, troubling! No matter the issue, taboo or not, why is our 1st amendment (free-speech) being eroded and only for questioning Israel and/or Jewish interests and no other country or people? We supposedly live in a free and civilized society, yet how free are we if we cannot express contrary opinions without fear of being deemed afoul of the law? Also, isn’t this a slippery slope that may lead to more draconian laws and/or measures in the future? After all, shouldn’t one’s opinion– no matter how offensive it may be to some– along with what’s deemed “truth” stand on its own merit when scrutinized? I think so.

I challenge people to go to my website and find any information that I post that is incorrect or anti-Semitic. I research every issue extensively and take what I claim very seriously and I hope you will do the same. I am not an anti-Semite by any means, but only a person of strong values, morals and character who has the courage to challenge controversial and, what many people perceive to be “taboo” subjects that a certain sect of society try to suppress and/or, subsequently, deem off-limits. Thank you and please remember to vote June 5th. Here is my website:

John Fitzgerald

Candidate for Congress, CA District 11

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Letter writer: Let’s talk about the City of Antioch’s brand

Friday, June 1st, 2018

Dear Editor:

Let’s talk about the really poor marketing of the marketing campaign to listen to the citizens of Antioch. I love this city, and I am happy to give input as to why Antioch is great, why folks should move here, etc. What I’m not happy about is the embarrassing debacle that surrounds this effort by the company hired to survey residents:

I read about this series of events on Facebook Thursday morning. The first event shown was Friday 10-6 at the Somersville mall. I was surprised to be the first person in a city of over 100,000 people to register for the “listenting session” (the typo is theirs, not mine).

I showed up at 10 am and found no signage, no indication of anything happening in the main courtyard where the session was to take place. After asking around, I was directed to a storefront lined with black curtains where three people were standing around with rolling bags. I asked if they were associated with the brand event, and, hallelujah, they said they were.

I understand why they may have been defensive when I asked why it was so difficult to find them. But if you are a professional listener, I would recommend less arguing and more acknowledgement of the problem. Furthermore, this event that I signed up for was not an all-day meeting or session. They were simply there to pull shoppers in to ask the questions that, I assume, are the same ones on the electronic survey.

Come on, Antioch. If you hire a “professional” company to help with the brand for the city, at least make sure that they know what they’re doing.

Jacquelyn Higgins

Antioch resident

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Letters: Former Antioch Mayor and School Board Member Rocha wants reconsideration of approval for East Bay Tech charter academies

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

Dear Editor:

At the Antioch Unified School Board of Education meeting held on May 9th, against the advice of staff and legal counsel, AUSD Board Members Crystal Sawyer-White, Debra Vinson, and Walter Ruehlig voted to approve East Bay Tech High School Charter (EBTHS) and East Bay Tech Middle School Charter (EBTMS) with the following conditions: “Delegate the Superintendent to negotiate the MOU that addresses the Findings of Facts included in Resolution No. 2017-18-9, including the revised budget, SPED and operations, by June 18th”.  Despite legal counsel concerns and Board Member Gibson-Gray pointing out that there was nothing in the motion to deny the charter if they did not meet the conditions the approval still stands. The motion was passed 3-2, with Hack and Gibson-Gray voting against it.

The EBTHS and EBTMS Charters are based on the Clayton Valley Charter High School (CVCHS) which has recently made headlines, “Contra Costa County Office of Education To Conduct Forensic Financial Audit of Clayton Charter High School After Sudden Departure of Administrators” (Claycord May 17, 2018).

One of the lead petitioners, Meagan Moilanen, is currently on staff of CVCHS and during the May 9th meeting spoke glowingly about the successes at CVCHS and they would be bringing that success model to the Antioch Charters.  This is very concerning and until the investigation is completed, Antioch Unified School District needs to put a stop to both charters.

Unfortunately, only AUSD Board Members who voted to approve the charters may request that the item be brought back to the board for discussion or a revote. For the sake of our students and community, I feel that action needs to be taken quickly.

Please contact the AUSD Board Members below to encourage them to reconsider their vote while the Contra Costa County Office of Education conducts a Forensic Financial Audit of CVCHS and the actions of their Administrators and Board Members.

Thank you.

Mary Helen Rocha

Past AUSD Trustee, Antioch Mayor and City Council Member

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

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018


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


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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”


Guadalupe Galvan

Associate Director



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

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018


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



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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

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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.

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