Mayor Harper’s response to the recall can be summed up in a few salient points:
Mayor Harper has sworn in 10 police officers.
The mayor’s claim is years late. In 2010 he started his getting tough on crime and had zero tolerance to crime.campaigns. Again in 2012, same thing and in 2013 was going to hire 22 officers. In 2010 the Antioch Police department staffing was authorized for 102 positions, they had 90. In 2015 they are still authorized for 102 positions and they still have 90. Doesn’t seem like much of an emphasis on zero tolerance or being tough.
Mayor Harper claims the recall will cost $198,994, the cost of two officers.
The mayor’s claim is so exaggerated it is ridiculous. Measure O cost one-fourth of that amount and is likely to be the same if not less and if an officer costs $100,000 then why didn’t he authorize the hiring of 42 officers instead of spending over $4.5 million on overtime in 2011, 2012 and 2013. That was OT only, not benefits or base pay, OT only. Obviously the city had the money.
Mayor Harper says “under his leadership” he got a grant for $625,000 to hire 5 officers.
The mayor’s forgot to mention that is for 3 years only. What happens to the 5 officers when the funding runs out after 3 years. When is this going to happen since it took 5 years to get to a net zero in police staffing?
Mayor Harper says, “Police Department conducts weekly crime suppression operations – one of which resulted in 87 arrests in just a five-day period.”
Which is a true statement, but if you were at the council meeting when the chief explained there were 150 officers and 8 agencies involved and only 7 of those 87 arrests were Antioch’s. Yet another gross exaggeration by the mayor.
Mayor Harper states twice, regarding safety that, “Our families deserve to feel safe, ” and “Nothing is more important than keeping our neighborhoods and children safe.”
Mayor Harper, the problem is we don’t need to “feel safe”, we need to “be safe” and if nothing is more important then why haven’t measures been taken to ensure success in maintaining safety of the neighborhoods and children. Ensuring safety is not abandoning children after a couple of visits to Deer Valley Plaza and then coercing the AUSD to hire security to detain the children and let the APD arrest them. What happened to “no child left behind”. The Deer Valley Plaza takeover by Strategic Threat Management has done nothing but move the problem to neighboring establishments. What the Mayor has been successful in is promoting their disrespect of the APD and fear of the STM. They know the APD won’t arrest them so they go where they are safe. Their fighting, en mass, has not stopped, just moved. Their problems have not been addressed, just moved.
Mayor Harper claims to have, “ended work furloughs city-wide”.
That is correct, but only after withholding information from the voters to ensure passage of Measure O. The City of Antioch received the following payment and never let anyone know until voting had started on Measure O it appeared passage was successful. The following payments were received and the information withheld on:
Apr, 2014 – $2,698,000+
Jun, 2014 – $550,000+
Oct, 2014 – $269,000+
A total of over $3.5 MILLION
The City of Antioch waited over 6 months to bring the city back to full-service for the sole purpose of withhold that information to help ensure the passage of Measure O. Measure O only passed by less than 600 votes. How people do you think would not have voted for Measure O had they known how much the City of Antioch was sitting on. How many city employees would have preferred to be working full-time instead of waiting nine months. How many residents and business do you think would have preferred to have the city full-service instead of waiting nine months.
Mayor Harper wants everyone to believe that he is powerless and does not have the ability to do what he said he was going to do. The fact is, he shouldn’t, the reality is, he does. A recent article in the Antioch Herald exposed another power play by Mayor Harper to take control of the city council for the last two plus years. The City Manager not only condoned what the Mayor has done, he supported it and argued that it’s existence has been around long before Harper, a fact dispelled by the prior mayors and council members.
The fact is that the leadership of the City of Antioch must be changed and replaced with person(s) that care about Antioch, not just political aspirations.
Mayor Harper makes all kinds of claims and promises, but the reality is none of them are real or have happened. What is real is how much the average person is losing because of higher costs and lower housing resale amounts, both of which amounts to huge losses in revenues to the city. Additionally, residents end up paying higher auto and housing insurance premiums. Shopping visits include trips to other cities for security reasons and because so many businesses have moved out of Antioch. The list goes on and on and is never ending – all because of a lack of tolerance toward crime and being soft on crime.