Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Ogorchock announces Antioch Police Officers endorsement

Friday, September 14th, 2018

Dear Editor:

Improving public safety is my number one priority.

I’m honored to have the support of the Antioch Police Officers Association for my re-election as your Councilwoman. I have and will continue to work hard to make Antioch safe for all our residents. As your representative, I have supported the hiring of 58 new police officers, funded cameras in the Sycamore Corridor/Cavallo Road, and voted to put license plate readers on police vehicles to catch criminals in our neighborhoods.

I am especially proud to be working alongside Supervisor Diane Burgis to establish Antioch’s first Family Justice Center to provide much-needed support for victims of domestic violence.

If you should have any questions, or just want to talk, please feel free to email or call me anytime at (925) 628-7764.

Thank you.

Antioch Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock

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Former Antioch Police Chief endorses Rocha for school board

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018


As the Antioch Police Chief for six years, I worked often with Mary Rocha, then City Councilwoman.

I saw her work tirelessly for our City. She was experienced, but not jaded; extremely knowledgeable, but a team member; and she was caring – never “calling it in.” Most importantly, Mary is not beholding to special interest groups and will base her votes on what is best for the children, families and staff rather than on a personal agenda.

These are the exact qualities the Antioch Unified School District Board of Education needs right now. With three of the five trustees foolishly pushing through for-profit charters, which will result in massive layoffs and program reductions, this is the time for proven leadership. Additionally, with some current Board Members frequently showing displays of unprofessionalism from the dais and in the community, Mary’s sensibility and experience is much needed. Our school staff, teachers and, especially, our students need her clarity, heart, and integrity. (Editor’s Note: All the charter schools in and approved for Antioch are non-profit, public charter schools.)

Anyone who knows or has met Mary knows she has spent decades supporting the youth and families in our communities. This election is critical, and we need a proven champion for children like Mary to help lead the AUSD.

As the father of an eight-year-old, I know the importance of strong leadership in schools – and, it must begin at the top with the Board of Education.

Some of my favorite duties as Chief of Police were to visit Antioch schools, sit down with the students, talk with teachers, and engage with staff who represent the “boots on the ground.” AUSD is filled with incredibly talented students, supportive families, and a dedicated hard-working staff. All of these constituents deserve knowledgeable people making wise decisions that affect the AUSD.

I have so much respect for Mary and her commitment to our community. We need a leader with experience, proven integrity, and a heart for children and this community. Mary Rocha cares because she understands that our schools matter.

Thank you,

Allan Cantando

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Op-Ed: Thorpe, Wilson thank public for their feedback and support of tax increase measure

Saturday, August 18th, 2018

Thanks for Your Feedback, Antioch!

If you’ve ever tried to run a household while living paycheck to paycheck, you know how risky it is. When every dollar is already spoken for, it’s hard to keep up with the regular maintenance and sense of security your home needs. Small problems eventually become big problems—until eventually, you’re in big trouble.

The front of your house has so much garbage the neighbors won’t talk to you. Your backyard becomes so filled with junk and weeds, your kids won’t go anywhere near it. And your kitchen? Nothing works, the appliances are constantly shorting out and the pipes are leaking into the subfloor.

Get the picture? Now imagine that your home is Antioch—a city that is operating very close to paycheck to paycheck.

The front yard of your Antioch “home” is everything you see while driving through the city—the graffiti, overgrown weeds and trash dumped along the sides of our roads. The backyard is the city’s youth violence prevention programs—or rather, the lack of them. The kitchen, that’s our downtown, where we thirst for new and exciting amenities, but where few residents go.  

Of course, you should feel safe in your “home.” But after missing a payment here and there, you’re surprised ADT hasn’t shown up to take their sign back. In Antioch, our sense of safety is shared with our police department, and like other city departments, it’s under resourced and understaffed.  

So how do we upgrade our Antioch “home”? Well, that’s up to you.

A year and a half ago, the Antioch City Council formed a two-member ad hoc committee to engage the community around our Quality of Life issues. The mission was to get extensive feedback from the community on the priorities the City should address and use that feedback to create long-term solutions for improving our quality of life – and fully reach our potential as a safe, clean and beautiful place to live.

Our first task was to conduct a professional community survey in late 2017. The survey results were presented to the entire city council at a special meeting on January 20, 2018. The goal of this survey was to gather statistically reliable information on the issues our community cares about. We then used the results as a foundation for engaging the community and gathering additional input, eventually collecting over 2,000 responses from residents. You may recall receiving an invitation through your water bill or social media to “Join the Conversation!” If you were one of many who responded, thank you.

Finally, we conducted a second community survey in June of 2018. We were thrilled to learn residents were more optimistic about the city’s direction than they were in prior years. With this data, we were able to finalize our recommendations.

Our recommendations were to renew Antioch’s existing sales tax at the one cent rate, and use the funds for the following priorities that you, the citizens, had identified for us:

       Maintain 911 emergency response and maintaining the number of police patrol officers;

       Ensure water quality and safety;

       Enhance Antioch’s quality of life and financial stability;

       Clean up parks and illegal dumping; and

       Restore youth after school and summer programs.

On July 24, 2018 we presented our recommendations to the full council, and they were unanimously approved. In keeping with our tradition of listening to the public, the community had additional suggestions that were incorporated in several follow-up City Council meetings.  Measure “W” has been placed on the November 2018 ballot for your consideration. It’s important to point out that this measure requires independent financial oversight (which currently exists in the form of the Sales-Tax Oversight Committee and will continue) in addition to guaranteed annual independent audits to ensure funds are spent properly.

Our work has not been easy, and the results may not be perfect, but it’s a chance to let regular citizens set the course to where they believe the city should go. The ballot box has always been the most powerful tool voters have. With it, you have the opportunity to think big–and change the course of our city. Thank you again to residents who took the time to give us your views, which were incorporated into this measure, and remember to participate in the election this Fall.

Lamar Thorpe, Mayor Pro Tem         

Monica Wilson, Council Member

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Antioch Council to hold third special meeting on Tuesday to make changes to sales tax increase ballot measure

Monday, August 6th, 2018

By Allen Payton

After holding two special meetings last Tuesday and Friday to make needed changes to the ballot language for the one-cent sales tax measure for the November election, the Antioch City Council will be holding a third special meeting Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. to discuss adding language to include a 20-year expiration date to the tax and independent citizens’ oversight. ACC080718

The tax would double the current half-cent sales tax in the city, approved with the passage of Measure C in 2013, which sunsets in April 2021 and includes the Citizens Oversight Committee. However, the current committee has basically served as a rubber stamp to reports by city staff and hasn’t challenged the council’s use of the incorrect figure of 82 sworn officers as the base, instead of the 89 that were in the city’s budget at the time Measure C was placed on the ballot. The difference means 111 sworn officers from the half-cent sales tax rather than just 104. The committee also hasn’t challenged the base figure of $25 million in the budget since 2013 for those 89 officers, which hasn’t changed each year despite those and all officers being given pay raises unanimously by the then-council on Election Night in November 2016.

To date, the City has added a net six sworn police officers from Measure C funds, as of last week (see related article), out of the 22 that the then-mayor and council members promised in their ballot argument in favor of the measure, if the voters approved the half-cent sales tax.

According to the staff report for the item on Tuesday’s council meeting agenda:

“On July 24, 2018, the City Council adopted a resolution and ordinance calling an election in November to extend the City’s transaction and use tax (Measure C) and to increase that tax from one-half cent to one cent beginning April 1, 2019.  The City Council then held two meetings regarding the extension of this tax.  At the Special Meeting held on July 31, 2018, City Council amended the resolution to call for new ballot language (specifically, to bring the number of words in that language below the maximum of 75 words).  At the Special Meeting held on August 3, 2018, City Council convened to consider an amendment to the ordinance to correct a drafting error (specifically, the omission of language increasing the transactions tax to a rate of one cent).

At the Special Meeting held on August 3, 2018, the City Council did not adopt the proposed ordinance revision but instead directed the City Attorney to bring back a revised resolution and ordinance that does the following:

Continues the codification of the Sales Tax Citizens Oversight Committee in the Antioch Municipal Code (the prior version of the ordinance deleted the code section creating this committee); and

Provide for a ‘sunset’ of the ordinance in twenty years (the prior version deleted the code section of the Antioch Municipal Code creating an expiration date for the ordinance); and

Amends the ballot language to be submitted to the voters to reflect the new sunset date and reference the independent citizen oversight committee (the prior version stated that repeal would only occur by act of the voters and did not mention the existence of the committee).”

The proposed language for the ballot measure reads as follows:

“Antioch’s Quality of Life Measure. To maintain Antioch’s fiscal stability, police patrols, 911 emergency response, youth violence prevention programs; ensuring water quality/safety; repairing streets; cleaning up parks/illegal dumping; restoring youth afterschool/summer programs; other essential services; shall the measure be adopted approving an ordinance to renew the sales tax at the one-cent rate, raising approximately $14,000,000 annually,  expiring in twenty years, with mandatory annual independent financial audits, and independent citizens oversight?”

The meeting will be held at 4:00 p.m. in the Antioch City Council Chambers at City Hall located at 200 G Street in historic, downtown Rivertown.

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Letter writer has concerns about Antioch’s branding effort, proposed tax increase

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Dear Editor:

Tell me again what your plan is?

A big chunk of money has been spent to hire professionals to come up with a plan to improve the image of Antioch as a place people want to work and live.   Why then would the city council work against itself by opening up the city for the sale and distribution of marijuana and byproducts?

All the talk of how it will revitalize economic development and stimulate the economy seems to makes dollar sense.  But somewhere along the line common sense has been pushed aside.  So far, all the city has in place is a licensing tax.  They haven’t come up with a business tax yet, so no one has an idea just how much revenue can or will be generated.

The council is considering increasing the tax on Measure C.  If it stays as it was originally created that would be a good thing.  To tack on other departments or uses would be a misuse of funds.

Everyone has known from the beginning Measure C would sunset.  That clause was put in to get people to vote for it.  To sweeten the pot, the council created an oversight committee.  Having a citizen watchdog committee reassured voters that the money would be spent as it was intended.  Why would you dilute funds intended for the police department while at the same time creating a situation that will require even more enforcement personnel in the future?


Many people spoke out at council meetings against what they perceive as a mistake in the marketing of their city.  They felt disappointed, powerless and very angry.  Maybe it’s time to take a deep breath and see if the council can deliver.  If they truly believe that they’re going to generate lots of money from these new business ventures, then divert the new tax money to those programs.

Barbara Herendeen


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Writer offers alternative solution to illegal immigration from illegal immigrants

Monday, July 16th, 2018

Dear Editor:

As we celebrate the 242nd anniversary of the Declaration of Independence this year, I find myself writing to my fellow Americans in a rebuttal to Supervisor Federal Glover’s saddening attempt to smear our country.

As a former (for now) civil servant to a sitting public servant, I must vocally protest!

Mr. Glover, whenever I am confronted with liberal slanderous and ignorant platitudes. I must surmise which of two camps the offender stands in.

The first is the “forgive them for they know not what they do” populace that has yet to verify all the misinformation that has been pumped into their heads since grade school through college and even now through pop culture. Vladimir Lenin’s coined description as “useful idiots”.

The second and more insidious camp lies in the viperous pit of knowing perfectly well that misinformation and deceit is an acceptable means to an end.

“To make an omelet one must break a few eggs.” – Karl Marx

I will leave your dubious stance to the court of public opinion.

This new diatribe from liberals about the Trump administration’s positions and stands on major issues are an affront to our America values, is, in fact, an affront to the public’s collective intelligence, as it mocks us by being cute, by half.

Whos American values, sir?   The liberal Socialist’s values? well, then you would be right!

This sad attempt to conquer by division is contrary to the very concept of America’s value.

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr’s values of unification not division. where he declared at the Lincoln Memorial:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

There is but only one race, the human race. In all my journeys I have met albino Norwegians, yet they are not white.  I have grown up around very dark-skinned brothers, yet they are not black.  There is no such thing as a black or white person.

We are all flesh toned humans that bleed red, cry wet and dream in multi colors. Not until and when we unlearn this “adult” fairytale and embrace this self-evident reality, will we ever see the true color blind promised land.

We cannot be sliced and diced by way of sexual or psychological preferences.

That cannot be what separates us, that is very private and personal.

Not a tool to use as leverage for destruction, alienation, and kindling for an unsustainable ideology that feed off human subjugation and misery.

We cannot continue to be divided by economic class, age, sex, religion, thought nor skin color. For on this Independence Day:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain un-a-lienable Rights, (as in no man can take it from you, nor can you give it away.)

Which brings me to a more important point. Thomas Jefferson’s original draft stated:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain un-a-lienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of property.”

For his goal was to abolish slavery at the genesis of our independence. however due to immense pressure from the liberal southern factions. and the need to not fight a revolutionary war on two fronts. One being the world power of England as well as the slave colonies. But be unanimously united. He had to relent but not without a stern warning that the blood of this unattended injustice will be paid down the road in a tragic civil war.

We must not cower in the face of injustice especially not on this 4th of July.

As it has been said many times, if we do not learn the lessons of history we will be doomed to repeat it.

We are now faced with a new “slave race” that of the plight of the illegal alien.

For many amongst us are truly not free on this Independence Day.

For political gain, they have been exploited or decades on purpose and like some sick case of national Munchausen by proxy.

This ends now!

I present to you my fellow Americans a new Declaration of Independence.

Before you is a document created in the Spring of 2006 by Hispanic illegal youths as a written solution from their point of view. For too long the immigration conversation has been an A, B so “C” you later.

This one developed and drafted by the illegal community on how to constitutionally and fairly reboot the broken American Immigration system.  not by pitting one group against another. but by locking arm in arm to fix it together.

Don’t believe the mouthpieces that ‘represent’ the illegal community. They do not. Ask them, for they live this unnecessary existence every day.

I give you “La Patria Declaration”.

Fernando Navarro



The signed La Patria Declaration.

In Peace and Justice… and Being of Good Courage…

We the people of the United States and of the whole AMERICA….

Declare on this (two thousand and six years) our intent of Union and

Support of the Constitution Of the United States, and our commitment to her peoples and her Laws……to take up our task, through our shed blood and drained tears, make fertile freedoms roots!


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Right to the pursuit of Happiness..”


“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”









Our battle cry:


********************** BORDERS **********************

WHEREAS … We recognize our status as “illegal”

We the signatories declare our desire to totally secure and close the southern border and frontiers…To support AMERICA’S SOVEREIGNTY … Protect Her people and her laws in the post-September 11th era.

“It is our mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers that are perishing in the wilderness.”

We also Declare that the legal portals be justly open and properly filtered to allow eager Immigrants to process orderly and be documented!

“Let us be “REBORN” legally under liberty’s watch.”

“For an attack of Mass Destruction does not discriminate LEGAL from ILLEGAL”

WHEREAS We DO NOT support an amnesty, but reform the immigration process!!!

WHEREAS we declare our union to STOP the black market of HUMAN, NARCOTICS and TERRORIST traffickers….AND Support all patriots that wish to aid on America’s domestic frontline.

********************** LANGUAGE **********************

We the signatories Declare that We come together to accept and adopt English as the official Language of the United States of America.

We also declare that our natural language, not be a burden on America, but that We take the burden upon ourselves to speak her tongue.

“He who knows MORE than one language is capable of more than one MAN.”

********************** CULTURE  **********************



The signatories Declare that they come together to embrace America’s mission of excellence and doing things right…TO NOT CUT CORNERS..

WHEREAS We embrace PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY….to accept and RECTIFY our discrepancies.



Due to design or by OVERT CONSEQUENCES …We have been DENIED OUR OPPORTUNITY  for the pursuit  of happiness.   And thus declare in good FAITH our commitment to PEACEFULLY  and ORDERLY  process our status into the sunlight.

Inspect our background, DOCUMENT our Genesis and invite us into the AMERICAN FOLD!!

WHEREAS We are a conservative people that SHARES AMERICAS VALUES.  GOD, FAMILY and PATRIOTISM thusly…

WHEREAS We embrace the American concept of owning one’s actions and consequences and the concept of fairness of getting in line.

THUSLY To offset our influx we propose and endorse the following platforms:

WHEREAS We support VOTER I.D. Reform.


WHEREAS We support School VOUCHERS.




This is our projection and timeline!


LET US START A-NEW………. We Propose the following GOALS

Immediately closure of the southern Border, be it by a physical structure or by a manned presence (military or federal, civilian)

Open the legal Gates…

We Propose processing facilities such as FORT ISLAS ANGELES,… FORT NOGALES,… FORT LAREDO  AND POINT ELLIS.

Let us the “illegal” Immigrants process… go to these new “ANGEL” and “ELLIS Island” ports and DECLARE ourselves… Document us, To establish our official I.D.’s, to take our fingerprints.

“Let us be “REBORN” Legally and above board… become taxpayers.

Let us Prove ourselves to the American People.

Let us PAY as we GO.


Let us own and earn our remedy!

Present us with two options.

1) If our goal is ultimately the American dream of becoming U.S. citizenship, they our penalty is for us to leave the country and get in line.

2) If our goal is only residencie then our penalty and path will be to BE PERMANENTLY BARRED from U.S. citizenship. Report to an immigration processing and orientation center.

A} Document and Start as a EXPLORE level migrant worker “ he who wishes to

work here after processing wishes to come and go, pays taxes but is not

eligible for any social assistance …no welfare, etc.

B} After 7 years an EXPLORE class immigrant can apply for a ENDEAVOR level Status “he who wishes to become a resident” can qualify for residency if migrant has kept his or her criminal record clean and learns English. They are now eligible for public assistance but cannot vote…

C} For illegal immigrants who opted for the goal of citizenship and have left the country and After 7 years an immigrant can apply for a ENTERPRISE level status “he who wishes to become a citizen”  can qualify for citizenship if said migrant has still kept his/her criminal record clean. And must pass a thorough civil entrance exam.


********************** TIMELINE **********************


The rebooting and reformation of the immigration process will take 1-2 years to complete.

DAY ONE.  – Full deployment of national guard/ military to augment border patrols and to fully cover the Northern and southern borders.

DAY TWO  – Start full construction of the double security fence with manned watchtowers from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.

DAY THREE – Announcement in advance of the NEW documentation process for undocumented/illegal alien migrants is to start. (orderly processing and documentation/filtering at the NEW border processing stations) Full public dissemination THAT THERE WILL BE A 1-2 YEAR opportunity TO DOCUMENT, That after that 1-2 year window, ALL IMMIGRATION LAWS WILL BE EXTREMELY ENFORCED AND APPLIED. “Anyone still holding out must have ulterior motivations to not come clean!”

DAY FOUR –  THROUGH END OF DOCUMENTATION PERIOD…   Migrants checking in at the border will be processed for criminal records, health screening, I.D. processing and RE-documentation.  DEBRIEFING  OF THE AMERICAN experience AND THE EXPLANATION OF RULES OF their STATUS.





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This July 4th on America’s 242nd birthday and Antioch’s 167th anniversary of its naming, we have much to celebrate

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

By Allen Payton, Publisher

This year’s Independence Day on Wednesday, July 4th marks the 242nd birthday of our nation. It was on this date in 1776 that our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence sending a message to England that we would no longer be ruled by their king, and that we would be a sovereign nation and each of our citizens sovereign people, as well.

In Antioch, we also celebrate the 167th anniversary of the naming of our city, today. It was on this date in 1851, 75 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, that the townspeople gathered together with co-founder Rev. William Wiggins Smith to rename the town from Smith’s Landing to Antioch, after the city in Syria where the followers of Christ were first called Christians. They did that out of respect to Smith’s twin brother, Rev. Joseph Horton Smith who had died the previous year. In 1849, after traveling from Boston, the Smith brothers each purchased 160 acres from Dr. John Marsh along the Antioch waterfront, where the city’s historic, downtown Rivertown District is located, today.

As we celebrate, we have so much to appreciate this year, both about our country and our community. Nationally, things have been turning around with a growing economy, and the lowest unemployment rate since 2000 down to 3.8% in May. That’s directly due to the repatriation of billions of dollars that have been held offshore by U.S. corporations, which along with most Americans are benefitting by the $1.5 trillion federal tax cut approved, late last year.

Locally, things are improving, as well with violent crime decreasing by 20% this year over last, the opening of the Antioch BART Station, the completion of the Highway 4 (Bypass) to Balfour Road in Brentwood and home values continuing to increase. In addition, the former Humphrey’s restaurant at Antioch’s marina is soon to reopen as Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill, which will help breathe more life into downtown Rivertown where other businesses are also opening.

The future looks bright, both nationally and locally, and we can celebrate our freedoms, enumerated in the Bill of Rights, and which now have more protections thanks to recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Enjoy celebrating and remember to thank God for the freedoms we get to exercise and experience each day in our country.

Also, just a reminder of the pancake breakfast from 8:30-10:30 a.m. in the City Hall parking lot, followed by the parade down W. 2nd Street at 11:00 a.m. both in Rivertown. Then enjoy the live music, food and fun during the July 4th Celebration organized by Celebrate Antioch Foundation at the Contra Costa Event Park (fairgrounds) beginning at 4:00 p.m. and ending with the fireworks show about 9:30 p.m.

Happy Independence Day and may God continue to bless the United States of America. Freedom!

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Supervisor Glover offers a July 4th message – Reviving the American Dream

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

Federal Glover from his Facebook page.

By Federal Glover

As we celebrate July 4th, 2018, Americans stand at a crossroads:  do we stand up for those ideals our founding fathers put before us in the Constitution or do we our head down a path that continues to erode the institutions and values that Americans have held for 242 years.

Over the past 18 months, our country has been undergoing a sea change that is remaking the way the world sees us and – more importantly — the way we see ourselves.

This Fourth of July, I almost don’t recognize this country anymore.

The America I knew growing up in Pittsburg was a land of opportunity that allowed a laborer from Mississippi to find a well-paying, blue collar job in the steel mill, buy a car and home and allowed our family to live in relative comfort and security. There was opportunity here. There was hope. We dreamed about a better country and the possibility of Martin Luther King’s Dream of worshipping and living in a land and time when we were judged by the content of our character – not by the color of our skin.

I was fortunate enough to go to school in a city where I had classmates from all around the globe.

We were not isolated from the events that were happening in other parts of the United States. We kept tabs of what was happening in Selma, in Memphis and other parts of the South. Many African American families in town still had relatives in those far away places where history was being written.

Still, those events seemed far away. My best friend was Italian American. We grew up eating at the New Mecca Restaurant, pizza from Carlos’ Pizzeria and hamburgers from The Pirate drive-in. We expanded our taste buds to include lumpia and adobo cooked by our Filipino friends’ mothers and grandmothers. We bought groceries from the market a few blocks away which was owned by a Chinese American family.

As a member of the Pittsburg High School football team, my teammates were made up of a multitude of nationalities from families that had roots in Italy, Greece, Great Britain, the Philippines, Ireland, Mexico and, of course, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana.

Even when a major retailer was picketed in downtown Pittsburg for not hiring African Americans and King’s shocking assassination broke the peace and calm of our city, the residents and political leaders came together to examine the city and how it could weather the violence that hit other U.S. cities.

Even with the civil rights battle at our doorstep, our community found a way. Change was in the air. It didn’t happen overnight and we had obstacles to overcome, but we had hope. Our dreams – our common dreams — were still intact.

Today, that hope is withering away. Our dreams seem to be fading away. The gains and progress made over the last 60 years is in serious danger. The foundations that made our country strong is more fragile and the beacon of freedom and light for people throughout the world has grown dim.

Refugees who believed in the Statue of Liberty’s “send me your tired, your poor, your wretched refuse,” are being treated like criminals; the needs of our planet seem to taking second place to need for profit; more obstacles are being placed in front of voters; corporate profits are not trickling down to the workers who toil for 20th Century wages shrinking our great middle class; home ownership –- a critical part of the American Dream – is out of reach for most people; the unregulated proliferation of guns has made our streets more dangerous; and the re-emergence of blatant racism threatens to destroy our civil society.

Most disheartening, our Congress, instead of acting as balance to the extreme policies coming from the current administration, has succumbed to the fear of losing an election instead of standing on principle.

For those who might want to give up hope and let cynicism replace our dreams, there are signs that that the American Dream is still alive.

I am heartened by the renewed vigor and interest being displayed by our neighbors, local leaders and government representatives. Instead of giving up, they are injecting new energy and new blood into our communities.

The marches and demonstrations in behalf of women, science, LGBTQ, truth, immigrants and against racism have inspired a new generation of activism that we haven’t seen since the 1960s.

Young people – inspired by high schoolers who have seen their classmates gunned down on campus – have launched a movement to hopefully not only make their campuses safer, but to make our greater society safer and saner.  As they grow into adulthood and assume their place in our society, there is hope.

People are not content with speeches and marches in the streets, they are taking their principles into the voting booth and into the halls of our capitols and city council chambers.

Ordinary people who were once content to let the status quo play itself out, are snapping out of their lethargy and are stepping up to the plate. New community groups are springing up made up or our neighbors, who might not want to run for public office, but are willing to make the phone calls, send the e-mails and knock on doors and are creating a wellspring of change in our cities and county.

I’ve seen the first stirrings of renewed activism myself when a group of middle-schoolers in Bay Point went up against the political might and influence of the alcohol lobby to limit sales of alcoholic beverages in their community. We saw it again on June 5 when Bay Area voters passed a measure to improve our transportation system and San Francisco voters spurned the lies and misleading commercials of the tobacco industry to pass a measure limiting tobacco sales in their city.

The words of Bob Dylan, “The times, they are a-changing!” suddenly have found a new audience. People are beginning to believe they can make a difference again. As stated by that great statesman Abraham Lincoln: That “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.” This is the American Dream.

Happy July Fourth! Celebrate in safety and give thanks that we live in this great country where the possible is … well, possible … for everybody.

Glover represents District 5 which includes portions of Antioch on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

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