Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Antioch Council candidates share views, ideas, experience during forum

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

By John Crowder

On Tuesday night, September 16, 2014, five of the eight candidates running for the Antioch City Council met at the council chambers to take questions from panelists and residents on their plans for the City if elected. Although each candidate had the opportunity to question and rebut opponents, none did so, resulting in a debate largely devoid of contention.

With moderator Paul Burgarino, Voter Education and Engagement Specialist for Contra Costa County Election Division enforcing the ground rules, panelists Allen Payton, publisher of the Antioch Herald, and Dr. Sean Wright, CEO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce took turns questioning the candidates.

Three candidates were absent from the proceedings. Jeffery Hall-Cottrell, Steven Bado and Lori Ogorchock, the latter two being out of town. Ogorchock sent a surrogate speaker, Bill Chapman, to fill in for her and to read both an opening and closing statement on her behalf. Those candidates attending were Karl Dietzel, Diane Gibson-Gray, Anthony Segovia, Lamar Thorpe, and currently appointed incumbent Tony Tiscareno.

Each candidate began with an opening statement. Chapman, speaking for Lori Ogorchock, noted her 40-year residence in Antioch. He emphasized her leadership skills and history of community service, including her work with Junior Diabetes, the Antioch Unified School District, City Park and fight against blight. Her priorities, he said, would be a revitalized downtown and fully staffed police force.

Lamar Thorpe talked about his experience on the Antioch Economic Development Commission and his current work in education. He related how he had to overcome adversity from the time he was born, in prison, to a mother addicted to crack. He said he joined the Navy after attempting community college, and being forced to leave because of his illiteracy. There, he said, he taught himself to read, and went on to graduate from George Washington University. His focus if elected, he said, would be job creation.

Diane Gibson-Gray said that she was a 50-plus year resident of Antioch. She listed numerous civic and other organizations in Antioch that she has been part of, including her current stint as a board member of the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD), her service as Executive Director of the Arts and Cultural Foundation of Antioch, and time spent on the Antioch Planning Commission. She said she would focus on three areas if elected: Public safety, fiscal responsibility, and economic development.

Tony Tiscareno noted that he had lived in Antioch for 45 years, and that he currently serves on the city council, having been appointed to fill Wade Harper’s seat when he was elected mayor. He said he was concerned that there were not enough recreational opportunities for young people in the city, and that having more for kids to do would help to reduce crime. He said he would take a hands-on approach to bringing volunteers together to work on reducing crime.

Anthony Segovia said that he was born and raised in Antioch, had been involved in broadcast journalism, and currently works in finance. His focus, if elected, would be on crime reduction, downtown redevelopment, and the budget.

Karl Dietzel said that he was a 65-year-old immigrant from Germany. He stated that he lived right in the middle of a the crime-ridden area of Sycamore. Emphasizing his independence, he said that he was not connected to any special interests, would truly represent the average citizen, and would focus on the budget, crime, and economic development.

Early in the forum, Payton asked the candidates what they had accomplished for Antioch. Gibson Gray answered first, saying that she had been involved in replacing the superintendent at AUSD, and, in her role as a board member for the school district, had decreased the amount of deficit spending each year and produced a balanced budget. She also discussed her many community service efforts.

Tiscareno mentioned his work coaching children in sports and his time on the city council.

Segovia said his experience did not compare with the other candidates, but that he did volunteer work and had been involved with youth football.

Dietzel emphasized that he had never held an elected office, but had done work to fight graffiti.

Thorpe stated that he had run Councilwoman Monica Wilson’s campaign, served on the Economic Development Commission, contributed to the “state party,” and was involved with the group ‘Parents Connected’ as a mentor.

Wright asked the candidates about their ideas for generating revenue for the city. In response, Tiscareno spoke about hiring new city manager Steve Duran and said there was a need to bring in more commercial, residential, and light industrial development. He also talked about bringing in a ferry and revitalizing the downtown.

Segovia said he would work with investors to come to the city, and would revitalize the downtown.

Dietzel noted that, according to a recent letter sent out by the city manager, we are in a “severe fiscal crisis.” He said Antioch is on the verge of bankruptcy, and that we need to have an Economic Development Director, set up a collections department, and privatize city investments that were losing money, such as Prewett Ranch, the animal shelter, and the golf course.

Thorpe said that passing Measure O would be a good step, but that the most important action would be to create jobs which would, in turn, generate more sales tax revenue.

Gibson-Gray also emphasized her support for Measure O, and spoke about needing regional development, and perhaps more large retail units.

In response to a question from Burgarino, all candidates expressed their support for Measure O.

A question from the floor asked what the candidates considered the most significant problem facing Antioch, and what they would do to solve it. In response, Thorpe referenced jobs, while the other candidates all focused on crime.

Another question noted that police services are currently 73% of the city budget, and asked how they planned to handle negotiations with the police department when their contract came up for review. Gibson-Gray and Segovia both said there was a need for concessions on the part of the department. (According to the city finance department, the cost of a police officer is now about $200,000 per year.) Tiscareno said it was best left to the negotiating team, while Thorpe emphasized the need to retain good quality officers, stating there could be no compromise on that. Dietzel spoke about getting Measure O in place, and said we need to buy locally.

Other areas covered during the session included homelessness, illegal dumping, dealing with feral cats, relating to a diverse community, and more.

The complete forum can be seen on Comcast Local Cable Channel 24 and on the Antioch Chamber of Commerce website at www.AntiochChamber.com. The schedule will be posted on the Antioch Herald website, www.antiochherald.com.

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Measure O advocates dominate opponents in forum

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

By John Crowder

On Tuesday night, September 16, 2014, proponents of Measure O, a proposal to place a tax on residential landlords in the city of Antioch, clearly dominated their opponents in an election forum cosponsored by the Antioch Chamber of Commerce and the Antioch Herald.

Speaking in favor of the measure were former Antioch mayor Don Freitas, chairman of Antioch Residents for Fairness-Yes on Measure O, and local Realtor Mark Jordan. Representing the opposition were Alex Aliferis, Executive Director, Contra Costa Taxpayers Association, and Wayne Cook, a longtime Antioch resident and senior citizen.

During opening statements, each side framed their case. Freitas explained that the idea for the tax originated with a citizen’s group, the Friday Morning Breakfast Club (FMBC), and that its purpose was to provide a stable source of revenue for the city. Speaking for the opposition, Cook characterized it as an unfair assessment that would place fixed-income seniors in jeopardy.

The format for the debate had two panelists, Dr. Sean Wright, CEO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce and Allen Payton, Publisher of the Antioch Herald, asking questions of the two sides. Questions taken from the audience and submitted on cards were also worked into the debate by the panelists. Paul Burgarino of the County Elections Department was the Moderator.

The questions began with Wright asking the proponents how the fee structure was determined, and how much money the tax was expected to generate for the city. Jordan responded that the fees were compromise numbers, worked out between FMBC and city staff. Aliferis said the city council “claims” it will raise $2.1 million.

Participants were questioned by Payton as to how the money would be spent. Aliferis stated that the money would go to the general fund, and there was no guarantee of additional police officers. He said that, even with Measure C, the city had not gained any additional police presence. Freitas said that, while 20 additional officers had been hired, because of retirements and attrition, the number of new officers was low. Even so, he pointed out that the city council was keeping their commitment to spend 100% of Measure C money on police and code enforcement. He agreed that the money would go to the general fund, but emphasized that the general fund includes money for police officer salaries.

Referencing their campaign literature, Payton asked the opponents of Measure O to name businesses who were on the record in opposition to the landlord tax. Unable to name any, Aliferis instead said that it would hurt seniors. This tactic did not work in his favor, however, as the audience (comprised mostly of seniors) expressed their displeasure with his response. It also opened the door for Freitas to produce statistics showing that most seniors in Antioch, about 75%, would feel no effect from the tax increase. Jordan was later able to build on this theme when he emphasized that rents are based on what the market will bear, and that landlords simply do not itemize expenses in establishing rental fees. The debate regarding the effect of the measure on seniors culminated with Freitas asking seniors in the audience who had been involved with writing the measure to stand, further emphasizing his point that seniors stood to benefit from the tax initiative because they would be getting a safer city.

Another question Payton raised was whether or not the city council had gone back on their word by putting the rental tax on the ballot after enlisting the support of apartment owners for the passage of Measure C last year. Freitas responded that if both measures had been on the ballot last year, they would have failed. He said that the understanding was always that the rental tax would be revisited. He went on to say that the FMBC had made many overtures to the apartment owners to reach a compromise, but they were unwilling to make any concessions regarding a tax.

Throughout the debate, it was apparent that Freitas and Jordan had prepared for the event; their talking points were well-rehearsed, and they had statistics to back up their positions. On the other hand, the opponents were frequently silent for long periods, and sometimes had little or no response to a question. When Freitas asked his opponents when they “would stop lying” in their campaign tactics, it appeared to take Cook off guard. Cook said that he would find out if someone on his side was lying, and, if so, put a stop to it.

The full debate will be shown on Comcast Local Cable Channel 24 and on the Antioch Chamber of Commerce website at www.AntiochChamber.com. The schedule will be published on the Antioch Herald website, www.antiochherald.com.

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Candidate for Congress Tony Amador to hold fundraiser Sept. 17

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

YOU’RE INVITED TO A FUNDRAISER TO SUPPORT

Tony Amador for Congress Candidate for Congress Tony Amador to hold fundraiser Sept. 17

CANCUN RESTAURANT

135 E Miner Avenue

Stockton, CA 95202

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

HOST

Juan Ruvalcava

CO-HOST

Supervisor Ken Vogel

Samuel Ybarra

HOSTS $500 – CO-HOST $250 – GUEST $25

Make checks payable to Amador for Congress – P.O. Box 1155 – Woodbridge, CA 95258

OR donate at https://www.efundraisingconnections.com/c/TonyAmador

RSVP TO LISA GARCIA AT (916) 893-4449 OR lgarcia916@yahoo.com

PAID FOR BY AMADOR FOR CONGRESS

FEC #C00553289

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Antioch Chamber to host Coffee with the Candidates Tuesday morning

Monday, September 8th, 2014
A Bright Future For Antioch
Candidates for City Council
Coffee with the Chamber
Tuesday, September 9th, 2014
8am – 10am 

95 Antioch Chamber to host Coffee with the Candidates Tuesday morning
The Antioch Chamber of Commerce will be holding a Coffee with the Chamber with the Candidates for City Council event on Tuesday September 9th from 8 AM- 10 AM. 

The event will start with 30 minutes of networking, coffee and pastries and then conclude with candidate panels.

Questions will be turned into the Chamber via index cards and the Chamber will select questions that are pertinent to the business community.  Questions will be answered on a rotating basis and time will be allotted for candidates to add or counter other candidates.  We will seek for time allotted fairness but want to do so in a more relaxed atmosphere than a typical Candidate forum

Event Location

Antioch Chamber of Commerce

101 H Street unit #4, Antioch 94509

Time: 8am – 10am

This is a great opportunity to meet your City Council Candidates and get some of your questions answered.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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Eight candidates seek two seats on the Antioch City Council

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

By Allen Payton

According the Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen, there are eight candidates for Antioch City Council for the two seats up for election in November. They are in order provided by the City Clerk’s office: local Realtor Lori Ogorchock, Antioch School Board Trustee and Executive Director of the Arts & Cultural Foundation of Antioch Diane Gibson-Gray, Appointed Council Member Tony Tiscareno, community college administrator and Antioch Economic Development Commissioner Lamar Thorpe, general sales manager Steven Bado, commercial sales representative Karl Dietzel, site safety assistant Jeffrey Hall-Cottrell and financial analyst Anthony Segovia.

Candidates who filed Nomination Papers but failed to qualify due to insufficient signatures: Amber Avelino and Sandra McGee.

Residents who pulled Nomination Papers but did not file: Austin Davis, Michael Maguire, Eddie Williams, Catherine Walker, Joseph Duenas and Socorro Vizcaino.

The election is Tuesday, November 4.

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Two candidates each for the two County School Board districts that include Antioch

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

By Allen Payton

There are two incumbents on the County School Board up for election, this year, who live in Antioch. They both have one challenger each.

Incumbent Cynthia Ruehlig, whose husband Walter used to serve on the Antioch School Board and is running again for it, this year, faces another Antioch resident, educator Jeff Belle for the seat representing Area 5. Incumbent Richard Asadoorian, a retired school administrator, whose wife, Barbara Cowan currently serves on the Antioch School Board, faces Danville businessman Mike Maxwell for the seat that represents Area 4.

So, Antioch will have at least one member of the County School Board who lives in town.

The election is on Tuesday, November 4.

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Four familiar faces in Antioch School Board race include two incumbents, two challengers

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

By Allen Payton

Antioch School Board Trustees Joy Motts and Gary Hack, both in their first terms in office, face two challengers in the November election.

Former trustee and educator Walter Ruehlig is seeking to return to the board and Debra Vinson, an educator, counselor and clinician who is running for the second time. She ran unsuccessfully for the Antioch School Board in 2012, also.

The major issues, this year are expected to be the district’s finances, as well as the Dozier-Libbey Medical High School independent charter conversion.

The election is Tuesday, November 4.

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Chamber, Herald to co-host forums for local candidates, Measure O in September

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Tuesday & Thursday, September 16 & 18, Antioch Council Chambers

By Allen Payton

The Antioch Chamber of Commerce and the Antioch Herald will co-host two nights of forums for the eight candidates vying for two seats on the Antioch City Council, the four candidates seeking the two seats on the Antioch School Board, the four candidates, two each for the two districts that included Antioch on the County School Board, as well as Measure O, the Antioch business license tax on the November ballot.

This will provide the voters in Antioch the opportunity to ask questions of and learn more about the candidates and Measure O, to make a more informed decision before they vote,” said Chamber CEO Dr. Sean Wright.

The first two forums will be held on Tuesday, September 16 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., with a debate on Measure O from 6:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., followed by the city council candidates’ forum from 7:00 p.m to 9:00 p.m.

The forums for the two school board races will be held from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 18, starting with the County School Board candidates at 7:00 p.m, followed by the Antioch School Board candidates at 8:00 p.m.

Both nights will be held at the Antioch City Council Chambers, 3rd and H Streets in downtown Antioch. Be sure to bring your questions and submit them at the beginning of the meeting.

The format will include an opportunity for the candidates to ask each other questions and challenge each the responses from their opponents.

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