Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Community leader endorses Antwon Webster in Antioch City Council District 3 race

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

Former Chair of Economic Development Commission Keith Archuleta says, “He is what Antioch needs.”

Keith Archuleta.

Dear Editor:

Antioch is a great place to live. It is a beautiful city full of parks and playgrounds; a city growing in rich diversity and talent.

And, like most communities throughout our country simultaneously struggling with this health crisis, a downturn in the retail economy, and rising income inequality for working families, we are facing complex challenges.

Now is the time for leadership that recognizes the assets we already have in this community. Now is the time for leadership that is inspirational and forward thinking. Now is the time for leadership that unites us to work together as one community to address our many challenges.

After many conversations with Antwon Webster, I have concluded that he has the ideas, experience, expertise, and compassion needed to provide the leadership we need on the Antioch City Council.

In listening to the needs of residents and business owners, Antwon has developed goals in three priority areas; goals which I strongly support:

  • Decreasing crime by continuing to hire an adequate level of law enforcement for the size of our city and supporting our community policing efforts, as we strengthen positive relationships with neighborhoods and provide more activities for our youth.
  • Facilitating smart economic development through accessing entrepreneurship and business development training and capital to support the growth and stability of our local industry and small businesses. In order to get commuters off the roads and working closer to home, we need more local jobs, increased work-based learning and internships for youth through school-business partnerships, and effective job training programs to ensure the readiness of our local workforce.
  • Fostering transparent government through increased clarity about decision-making and resident education on how our tax dollars are spent.

Antwon Webster.

In addition, Antwon’s understanding, creativity and compassion will help our city address the needs of our unhoused resident population. Homelessness is a complex societal problem and government alone cannot solve it. Working to develop creative alternatives and developing concrete actions are what is needed; not merely scapegoating this vulnerable population.

The County and our private sector must share the responsibility for developing an effective unhoused resident program. And we must support and partner with our local non-profit organizations who are already striving to provide needed wrap-around services, such as food, job training, and other assistance to meet the needs of our homeless families and children.

As a military veteran and project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Antwon has demonstrated the leadership skills, project management experience, and land use expertise to provide effective and dependable leadership on the Antioch City Council.

Moreover, his concern for this community is genuine. Since moving to Antioch, he has been a public servant leader, demonstrating his commitment as a member of the Antioch Board of Administrative Appeals, where he reviews municipal code violations. He is also an active member of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis and Lions clubs, the Antioch Historical Society, and other community-serving organizations. He is about people, not politics.

That’s why I am endorsing Antwon Webster for Antioch City Council, District 3.

He is what Antioch needs; he will bring our city together; and he will move Antioch forward.

Vote Antwon Webster for Antioch City Council, District 3.

Check him out at antwonwebster.com.

Respectfully,

Keith Archuleta

Antioch resident, Former Chair, Antioch Economic Development Commission

Antwon Webster Letter of Endorsement KArchuleta

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Wright announces local Amazon Distribution Center will bring new jobs this November for Antioch residents

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

Courtesy of Wright for Mayor campaign.

By Dr. Sean Wright, Antioch Mayor

Just announced … Amazon will be the first tenant of the Oakley Logistics Center, on the border of Antioch and Oakley.  (See related article) Proud to have served on the Dupont Community Advisory Panel with Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick and others. We helped oversee the clean-up and marketing of the site with the former Dupont owners. I am excited to see more local jobs created for our residents, with the new Amazon Distribution Center planning on opening this November in preparation for the holiday season. I am already working with the new property owners on potential Antioch sites for expansion. Will keep you updated on dates for hiring in our community.

P.S. Please share with individuals you know who are looking for local jobs.

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Antioch resident files complaint with Attorney General against council candidate Gardner for using homeless non-profit to campaign

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

Antioch resident files complaint with Attorney General against candidate Nichole Gardner of using non-profit to campaign

Complaint filed with FPPC against Lamar Thorpe over flier proves baseless

Screenshot of Nichole Gardner’s campaign post on her non-profit Facebook page submitted with the complaint.

By Allen Payton

A press release was received by the Herald Thursday evening that, “Complaints have been filed against Nichole Gardner, candidate for District 3 Antioch City Council and Lamar Thorpe, candidate for Mayor of Antioch, for their failure to follow the law when it comes to their respective campaigns.” The complaints were filed by Antioch resident Nicole Cedano-White. Complaint to Attorney General re NGardner

The press release continues with, “Gardner, Director of Facing Homelessness in Antioch, is accused of using her 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization to promote and raise money for her political campaign for City Council. Numerous screen shots of Gardner’s nonprofit Facebook posts have been forwarded in a formal complaint to the California Attorney General’s Office for review of these actions. There is also concern of possible ‘co-mingling’ of funds between the nonprofit organization Gardner runs and her political campaign. Complaint to AG re NGardner Documentation

“Ms. Gardner knows the rules and the law specifically states that charity 501(C)(3) organizations are prohibited from being involved in political campaigns of any kind,” said Nicole Cedano, a longtime resident of Antioch. “I can appreciate her desire to help the homeless, but what she’s doing is jeopardizing her ability to continue the nonprofit’s work.”

The press release also reads, “The official complaint to the Attorney General also asks that office to investigate the use of the nonprofit’s automobile paid for with donations from citizens – to make certain it is not being used in campaign activities and door to door canvassing for Gardner’s campaign.”

When reached for comment, Gardner said she hadn’t known or received anything about the complaint when first contacted by the Herald. After reading the material provided to her, she responded, “We have not been contacted by the FPPC or the Attorney General’s Office. Nothing that this says is accurate.”

When challenged on that statement and asked if she was referring to the posts of her campaign promotions on her non-profit organization’s Facebook page, Gardner responded, “Thank you for reaching out. I will keep my statement as it is.”

The Herald will reach out to the Attorney General’s office on Friday for further information.

Copy of flier from Lamar Thorpe provided to FPPC clearly shows disclaimer language that isn’t legally required. (Yellow arrow added)

Complaint Against Thorpe Proves Baseless

The press release also reads, “The complaint against Thorpe is specific to the brochure he is leaving on voters’ doorsteps entitled ‘Leadership that Listens.’ The campaign brochure does not have the legal identification required by the FPPC of who ‘Paid for’ the design, printing and distribution of the piece. That complaint was filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), the organization that monitors whether a candidate or campaign is following required State regulations.”

“Mr. Thorpe apparently doesn’t ‘listen’ like his brochure claims – at least he doesn’t listen to what is required by law – because we have no idea who actually paid for his promotional material,” Cedano said. “I’m sure the FPPC will review and get to the bottom of this.”

“For the time being, I suggest Mr. Thorpe ceases all distribution of this legally questionable brochure – so as to not deceive voters and to keep within campaign rules and regulations,” she concluded.

Flier that Thorpe claims was provided to FPPC with the complaint against him.

When reached for comment Thorpe said, “The flier was scanned deliberately without the disclaimer. I shared a copy with the FPPC showing the disclaimer and they just responded with, ‘thank you.’”

That echoed the email he sent to the FPPC on Monday, Sept. 14 which reads, “Looks like the person who submitted the complaint left of (sic) the disclaimer when they scanned it. Don’t know if it was deliberate or not but here is my brochure and it clearly has the disclaimer on it.”

A copy of the flier provided by Thorpe to the FPPC and the Herald clearly shows a line at the bottom of one of the pages that reads, “Paid for by Lamar Thorpe for Mayor 2020.” But it also includes an incorrect reference to the FPPC, with the words “PFFC Pending”, referring to the campaign identification number issued by the Secretary of State. A variety of candidates in Antioch and Brentwood have been waiting several weeks to receive their ID numbers, which is unusual, and is most likely due to state employees working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FPPC provided Thorpe with a link to the rules for campaign committee disclosure for a variety of media. For fliers the rules read, “’Paid for by committee name’ and committee ID number are recommended but not legally required.” FPPC 2020_Disclaimers_1_Final_V.2

“It’s political silly season and people are going to do desperate things,” Thorpe added. “I’m going to keep focusing on talking to voters.”

Thorpe also provided the Herald the email he received from the FPPC and a copy of his flier he claims was submitted with the complaint by Cedano-White. That shows the portion of the page of the flier containing the campaign committee disclaimer was cut off.

Efforts to reach Cedano-White asking her whether or not she scanned the entire page of Thorpe’s flier, and if she didn’t why, were unsuccessful prior to publication time. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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District 2 council candidate shares “Five Ways to Get Antioch Back on Track”

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

Mike Barbanica

  1. HIRE MORE POLICE OFFICERS… don’t DEFUND the Antioch Police. Fund body cameras on every Antioch Police Officer and put School Resource Officers in our schools. Work with our residents of color to identify ways we can eliminate racism in our community.
  2. BREAK UP THE HOMELESS ENCAMPMENTS… Antioch should NOT be the service city for our County’s homeless population, nor should we be housing the homeless in trailers/motel rooms that are within ¼ mile of our schools. Turn to the County for social/mental health services and housing assistance. Arrest those who are harboring weapons, dealing drugs and stealing/stripping vehicles.
  3. CAPITOLIZE ON OUR DOWNTOWN WATER VIEWS… Antioch has beautiful water views Downtown and at our marina. Smith’s Landing is a good start. Let’s turn our downtown into a place where people want to live, visit and hang out by the river!
  4. MAKE CODE ENFORCEMENT A NEIGHBORHOOD EFFORT… just like we did with Neighborhood Watch. City code enforcement officers can’t do this alone. To clean up blight, we need to institute a way for neighbors to get involved in reporting and helping to eradicate unsightly properties and trash dumping on our streets. We can do this!
  5. EMBRACE ONE DIVERSE, UNITED ANTIOCH … Antioch is one of the few cities in Contra Costa County where people of all ethnicities, all colors, come together and live as ONE COMMUNITY. We need to celebrate this diversity – NOT allow politicians to use it to DIVIDE us for their own political gain.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on how we can get our City back on track. CLICK HERE to send me an email. Thank you!

Mike Barbanica

Candidate for Antioch City Council, District 2

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Letters: Former Antioch Councilman opposes Wright for mayor, not a “unifier”

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

Editor:

Voters of Antioch do not vote for Sean Wright, our current mayor running for reelection! He is not a unifier, he is really a divider with his own unspoken agenda that excludes others’ interests. He needs to be fired!

In the past I have tried to communicate with him about our city government and its operations to no avail. He just ignores anyone he does not personally agree with. He also does not return phone calls or messages requesting his time! He just ignores, ignores, ignores those he said he wanted to hear from. Well, he is not who he claims to be, and he definitely does not serve the public’s interests.

As recent as early July of this year I also submitted to him a request to be placed on the city council agenda, favoring an allowable closed session, concerning some very serious police personnel matters. He has ignored that too. It could even have been placed on the open agenda, but I think that was unwise and preferred the closed session because of the seriousness of the matters I wanted to inform the entire council about. Ignorance is not bliss and the mayor again has failed the public in this and other things!

The very serious matters that I wanted to inform them about are not just going to go away. No, it will become very public very soon in publications pending for all to read and know about. I tried with the mayor and council but his and their choice to just ignore it is on him and them!

As a former peace officer, retired now, and former city council member of Antioch, I have tried to do the right thing via proper channels and methods. But I have been ignored mostly by Mayor Sean Wright and that is a serious mistake if you are an elected official. I have lived here and have served the public for well over 45 years now and will not be quiet when wrongs just go ignored and swept under the carpet. Sean Wright has been a great disappointment to me and many others. I did vote for him before based upon what he promised to do for the public. That was a mistake that I have since learned.

Remember, I tried it the right way, but Mayor Wright and the others just want it to remain unspoken and unheard of. Well, they can read about it in a published expose very soon. I wonder what his and the others’ excuses will be? No, Mayor Sean Wright in particular is not any kind of real leader, not a unifier, now one to not divide, and overall needs to go away and back to his private practice.

Do not vote for him, or any others who come forth with false campaign and false personal promises. Antioch is in a mess, financially and services wise also. This is the opportunity for true change and Antioch sorely needs it. Do not waste your vote on empty shells of political false opportunists.
Stay tuned ladies and gentlemen the near future published information will awaken even the dead.

Ralph Hernandez

Antioch

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Third challenger with education background runs for Antioch School Board in Area 1

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Alexis Medina. Photo from her campaign Facebook page.

By Allen Payton

There’s a fourth candidate running for the Antioch School Board in Area 1 and the third to challenge incumbent Diane Gibson-Gray in this year’s elections. On her campaign Facebook page, Alexis Medina writes she’s an “Experienced Program Coordinator, Classroom Educator, and Instructional Coach. Proud parent of an AUSD student.”

According to her website, Medina “has over 15 years’ experience in K-12, as an afterschool program coordinator, classroom teacher, and instructional coach. Research based culturally responsive decision making and relationship building with students, parents, and school staff have been daily practices for her in these roles. She is also the proud parent of an AUSD student. She enjoys visiting local historical sites, museums, and libraries.”

According to her LinkedIn profile, Medina worked as an Instructional Coach, Secondary Social Science and ELA/ELD for the Pittsburg Unified School District from August 2016 through August 2019. Prior to that she worked as a teacher for Making Waves Academy in Richmond,  a 5th-12th grade public charter school focused on historically underserved and socio-economically disadvantaged students. In previous positions Medina worked as a Program Coordinator for the Redwood City-based Bring Me A Book Foundation and as a Community Organizer and Health Educator for the Peace Corps.

In that role, Medina writes she, “Led (an) eight-week professional development series alongside the Regional Teacher Leadership Team for 230 primary school teachers on developing lessons addressing varied instructional needs. Designed and led pre-service training 35 Peace Corps trainees in pedagogy i.e. classroom management, basic lesson planning, adult education, multiple intelligences, experiential learning, and the Swaziland school system. Designed and conducted workshops for over 70 pre-school community caregivers and primary school teachers on basic pedagogy and sustainable teaching resources. Secured and managed logistic and grant funding for community events.”

In three previous positions she worked as a high school teacher in in a variety of subjects including world history, psychology, and sociology, a middle school reading tutor, and an after-school care leader for K-3 students.

Also, on her campaign website, Medina shares the reason she’s running writing, “ I remember our excitement earlier this year as we visited the dual immersion program at John Muir Elementary School. The classroom decorated with brightly colored flags from Latin America and student art for Black History Month signaling that this was a place where my child’s cultural identity would be affirmed. The teachers were enthusiastic, but also very clear that the program was limited, repeatedly advising that we get registered early.

A week later, I rushed to my school of record, receiving the vital time stamp on my paperwork. I had undertaken the research and action required to ensure that my child had access to culturally relevant and responsive pedagogy in a safe and culturally affirming environment, yet was left powerless to the odds, hoping there would be room for us in the program.

Programs like dual immersion should not come down to a foot race for a time stamp but instead should be thoughtfully planned for and strengthened. I am running because AUSD students, parents, and staff deserve a transparent asset-based community development approach to planning and governance. I will work with the community to strengthen culturally responsive practices, community partnerships and civic learning opportunities.”

To learn more about Medina’s campaign, contact her at medinaforantioch@gmail.com.

 

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Meet candidates for Antioch mayor and city council at The Red Caboose each Saturday Sept 19-Oct 17

Monday, September 14th, 2020

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Protest sign attacking Antioch Mayor with drawings of hooded Klan members, swastikas being made for Saturday march

Saturday, September 12th, 2020

Sign making party

Posted by Shagoofa Khan on Friday, September 11, 2020

See 1:26 mark for shot of campaign sign with Klansmen and swastikas. Video from Shagoofa Khan’s Facebook page. 

“The hate and the outrageous attacks must stop” – Mayor Sean Wright says – calls on opponent, Councilman Thorpe to denounce his supporter’s actions, Thorpe declines

By Allen Payton

On Saturday, Antioch Mayor Sean Wright’s campaign for re-election issued a press release stating, “Referring to a sign making party Facebook video post in preparation for a protest in Antioch, today Mayor Sean Wright expressed outrage over a sign highlighted in the video which says ‘I’m Sean Wright I approve of this message’ and depicts people in Klan hoods wearing swastikas.

Screenshot of video showing protester Lacey Brown drawing a poster with images of Klansmen and swastikas. Source: Wright for Mayor campaign.

The post was made by Shagoofa Khan, one of the recent hunger strikers at the Antioch Police Facility, and supporter of Wright’s opponent, Antioch Councilman Lamar Thorpe. In the video (see link above), Khan pans to a sign being drawn by protester Lacey Brown which includes three characters Klan hoods and swastikas saying, “Hers is really nice.”

“I support all peaceful protest against all forms of racism, but blasting me with drawings of hooded Klan members and swastikas is absolutely uncalled for,” said Wright, who is in the middle of his campaign for re-election as Antioch Mayor.

“This has gone way too far,” he added.

A section of Thorpe’s campaign flier. Source: Wright for Mayor campaign.

Khan is prominently featured in Thorpe’s campaign brochure entitled “Leadership that Listens” as one of the women leaders supporting his campaign.

Screenshot of Shagoofa Khan video posted on her Facebook page on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.

Wright called on Thorpe to immediately denounce Khan’s actions. “If my opponent is listening and promoting individuals who condone the use of Klan garb and swastikas, that says a lot about his character.” Wright stated. “I am extremely concerned for the future of Antioch.”

Khan said her sign will read, “Brooks hires crooks,” referring to Antioch Police Chief T Brooks. Another sign that can be seen in the video reads ACAB which is an acronym for all cops are bastards.

When asked about her sign and if the characters are Klansmen wearing white hoods, Brown admitted, “That’s what those are.” Asked why and if she really thinks Wright is a Klansman or White Supremacist she responded, “I think he knew exactly what he was doing with that email and who he was targeting. (She was referring to a previous email sent out Wednesday by Wright’s campaign about the protest at his chiropractic offices on Tuesday night. See related article) You do realize that was not only a political call to action but also a call to action for violence that he could blame on his mayoral opponent with plausible deniability? I don’t have reason to believe Sean is in the KKK himself, but he certainly condones white supremacy to run rampant in his town and harnesses their fears to benefit politically. You and I may disagree on that, but he is an enabler and even a catalyst to racism in this City.”

When reached for comment Thorpe refused to denounce Khan’s comments or the message on Brown’s poster.

Protest graphic from Facebook promo.

He responded, “These things have nothing to do with me or my campaign. What I am happy to see is that my opponent finally has a point of view. He hasn’t had a point of view on homelessness, he hasn’t had a point of view on growing jobs, and he hasn’t had a point of view on police reform. It’s not that I’m running against him, it’s he hasn’t come to work in four years.”

Wright was given the opportunity to respond but chose not to before publication time. Please check back later for any response or update to this report.

Today’s protest march entitled, “White Supremacy Out of Antioch” is supported by a coalition of mainly out of town organizations including Richmond-based Together We Stand (see their website http://www.twsrevolution.org/), East Bay Resistance based in southern Alameda County (see their Facebook page) which, according to their webpage, supports both defunding and abolishing the police, Empact based in the Sacramento area, Bay Area Grassroots, whose founder and executive director is Antioch resident Michael James,

Protest promo on the Together We Stand Facebook page.

also one of the six former hunger strikers, and Brown’s Antioch-based group Justice Advocates & Resources of East County of which Khan is a member. She is not part of Together We Stand as was stated in Wright’s campaign press release.

On the Together We Stand Facebook page announcing today’s protest it reads, “Antioch has a long history of racism and white supremacy. With a long history of racist incidents, the Antioch PD’s hiring of Michael Mallone (sic) a former SFPD cop who quit while facing disciplinary action after the shooting death of Luis-Gongora Pat, and the recent decision by the school board to put cops in schools for the first time, it is CLEAR that now more than ever we need to take a stand! Join us as we work with local organizers from Justice Advocacy and Resources of east county and local residents who need our help to affect change in this community.”

The protest is scheduled to begin at 4 PM at City Park in Antioch at the corner of A and W. 10th Streets with a march to the Antioch Police Facility at 300 L Street to meet up with the protesters who were on a hunger strike but are claiming to occupy the area until their demands are met that Officer Mellone be fired, Corporal Steve Aiello, president of the Antioch Police Officers Association step down from his position for a controversial comment on Facebook, and that the mayor hold another community forum on police reform and race relations. (See related article)

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