Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Writer opposes Antioch’s Measure W sales tax increase, challenges proponents to debate

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

Editor:

Wrong is wrong no matter who supports it. Antioch’s proposed Transactions and Use (Sales) Tax Measure “W” is a trick on the voting public! The Mayor and Council Members, and other select employees, have much to personally gain by its passage! Measure “W” is really nothing more than more taxes you pay that only go into the general Fund, period, with no required funding for anything they promise (City Attorney’s analysis). The Council’s picked and controlled “Citizens Oversight Committee” cannot enforce where the money goes, nor be able to punish anyone if the money is used for other purposes.

Antioch’s public safety and lack of inadequate manpower issues can also be pointed out as contributed to by certain greedy employee groups primarily looking out for themselves and their pocketbooks. The public’s safety/”quality of life” has not been at their forefront. I’ve known for many years, and complained regularly, that our City’s public safety was being jeopardized by certain self-serving employee groups. They preferred increases to their own existing members’ wages and overall benefits, not using the money instead to pay for more Police manpower to make our city safer!

The Antioch Police Officers’ Association, in particular, when given the choice of more Police manpower, or increases in their wages and benefits, always instead chose only the latter for themselves! The APOA’s support is again therefore only very self-serving and hypocritical. Their support for passage of Measure “W” also is so that they will receive their guaranteed raise(es), as other top-level employees also expect to receive soon! They are due for another raise this month. It’s obvious why they want the voters to pass the Tax Measure “W”. Of course, the APOA supports its passage!
Voters, consider for yourselves their total reported 2017 wages / total Pay and Benefits of a Policeman;

Chief = $232,164 / $430,928
Capt. = $209,292 / $392,114
Lt. = $181,440 / $332,252
Sgt. = $143,592 / $362,904
Cpl. = $129,228 / $301,723
Off. = $114,864 / $284,948

The APOA has a very good retirement plan, for which they previously paid none of their traditional 9% share (the City paid it for them, at great expense). Then their Retirement Plan was enhanced to the costlier “3% at 50” Retirement Plan, with the City once again fully paying for their share and additional greater costs! The APOA chose for themselves, not for more manpower or your “quality of life”. That expensive one hundred million ($100,000,000+) plus unfunded pensions debt is another major reason why the City wants Measure “W” passed. Most of the Tax money will be used to cover up for the Mayor’s and Council’s incompetent decision makings!

The Mayor and Council Members have had the power to change things for the better of our community for years but, chose not to do so! The public’s safety and “quality of life” has not really improved as it should have long ago! Crime essentially has been ongoing and unmitigated for too long! They’ve just given the public ‘feel good’ lip service and made unkept promises, just to look good to you! Even when I personally spoke out at many Council meetings, and in person on a one-to-one basis with the elected Mayor and Council Member, they have chosen to ignore the facts and recorded data given to them.

The two incumbents running for re-election should not be voted for. And, the Mayor and Council Members as a whole should be ashamed and step down if all they are going to do is continue to mislead the public and fool you with this nefarious and underhanded Measure “W” just to cover for their behinds! I believe that they are nothing more than incompetent tricksters, charlatans, insincere, phony, and a disgrace to the public they claim to represent. Measure “W” is a perfect example of their attempt to betray you once again!
Norma and I hereby challenge to a public forum debate any two of the signed Proponents of Measure “W”. Let’s let the public see and hear both sides (which they coincidentally did not allow for a Rebutal Argument by us within the to-be published ballot guide).

Signed,
Ralph A. Hernandez

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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 lori@loriogorchock.com (925) 628-7764.

Thank you.

Antioch Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock

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Antioch Council appoints former Mayor Jim Davis as interim City Treasurer

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

Council Members wanted someone who could “hit the ground running”

New, interim Antioch City Treasurer Jim Davis. Herald file photo.

By Allen Payton

During a special session of the City Council before their regular meeting on Tuesday night September 11, 2018, on a unanimous 4-0, the Antioch Council appointed former Antioch Mayor Jim Davis as the interim City Treasurer through 2020. Davis will fill the position left vacant by Donna Conley who stepped down when she and her husband Jim moved out of state in July. Council Member Lori Ogorchock was out of town at a city-related conference.

Davis is also running for the Antioch School Board which was a concern by some of the council members. He was one of three Antioch residents applied for the position, each of whom spoke before the council, offering their background and credentials, in the order of the numbers they drew. As each applicant spoke, the others remained outside of the council chambers.

City of Antioch employee Shelley Richardson was the first applicant to speak to the council.

“I have never done this, before. I’m not political,” she said. “It’s not because I’m bored. I am a city of Antioch employee. A payroll specialist since January 2017. Prior to that she was a payroll specialist for the East Bay Regional Park District. Before that she worked for Cypress Meadows senior living community in Antioch.

Former Antioch Mayor Jim Davis was next, saying, “I’ve been up there for 14 years in three different seats, as Mayor Pro Tem, as Council Member, and the last four as Mayor. I spent many personal hours and vacation time away from my day job to lobby for money for this city. I worked with Federal Advocates, our lobbyists, in Washington D.C. for funds for Highway 4 and eBART. I’m a 60-year resident of Antioch. I’m semi-retired. I don’t commute, and I have the time to donate to this position. I have the knowledge and experience to fulfill this position.” He spoke of his 30-year banking background and the various financial transactions he handled as part of his experience for the position. “I can start tomorrow morning…I have nothing going on,” he stated.

Former downtown business owner Kym Kelley was the third and final applicant to speak to the council.

“I’m a 14-year resident and homeowner of Antioch, active in my church…and a former business owner in downtown Antioch,” she stated. “I’d now like to continue to serve my city…and become active in my community. I believe with my financial background and knowledge I will be a good candidate to fill this seat. In my career I’ve managed up to $300 million in assets…in the banking and loan industry. I feel I’m offering a bright, new perspective for the city and this position.”

“I’m not a politician,” Kelley concluded with a chuckle.

The council members then had the opportunity to ask questions of each of the applicants.

Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe asked Richardson if she saw the position as having an oversight role.

She said she wanted to be a team player, but that she didn’t know. “I know what the position requires. I want to do that.”

Council Member Monica Wilson asked Richards, “is it legal for you to have both of these roles (of city employee and City Treasurer)?”

“Is it a conflict of interest? I’ve called Cal-PERS. It’s actually two different positions, Richardson responded. I’ve looked at every different avenue. The Treasurer cannot sign the checks. That would have to change. (City Finance Director) Dawn Merchant would have to sign the checks. It’s a completely separate position.

City Attorney Derek Cole interjected his thoughts. “I believe the candidate is correct there are some internal control issues. There are some changes that have to be made. Other than that, there are no legal issues. The candidate is an employee. She’s not holding two elected positions. There is not a conflict of interest if she’s selected.”

Council Member Tony Tiscareno said he concern with “a public perception issue.”

Thorpe asked the same question of Davis regarding his view of the oversight role of the position.

Davis mentioned Measure C and the upcoming Measure W and the need for oversight.

Thorpe, “I think the City Treasurer does have oversight. He is the overseer of revenue…on behalf of the public, not of city staff.”

Davis responded to Thorpe’s question about the role, saying, “Report out at a council meeting or to the public. It is incumbent upon the person who holds this position, now to be more active.”

“I think the person in this position…needs to be in the public eye and not sit behind a desk and come to the council meeting every three months…so the public can confront you, good or bad,” Davis added. “I would be involved. I won’t be a silent treasurer by any means.”

Thorpe, “One of the things that I’ve grown frustrated with the City Clerk’s office, I don’t like how they engineer certain things for certain results. I would hope the City Treasurer wouldn’t do that.”

Wilson asked about the fact Davis is also running for the Antioch School Board. “That would be two elected positions.”

Davis responded, “It’s two separate entities. Two separate elected bodies. It’s a part-time position as City Treasurer. It’s the same on the school board. I’m semi-retired. I have the time. If there was a conflict of interest on either body I would recuse myself.  They are two separate, two years apart elections. I’m very comfortable I can do both.”

Cole offered his views on the issue, stating, “There is…a problem with incompatible offices. If it is found a person occupies incompatible offices, they would have to resign one of the positions. It is rare that the City cuts a check to the school district. So, we couldn’t see any conflict between the school district and this position.”

Davis said, “The Treasurer position has no vote.”

Tiscareno said “I truly believe you have some good qualifications being in the banking business, overseeing your customer’s money. That expertise is important to me. But, I have the same concern…that you’re running for school board. You somewhat addressed that, and I’m satisfied with your answers.”

“We had a very good treasurer, but she wasn’t as active as I would have like to see,” he stated.

“What would you do differently to make this position more transparent and visible to the community?” Tiscareno asked.

“I would be at every council meeting, sitting in the back,” Davis responded. “I’ll give monthly report of whatever I’m doing. Participate in community events. Speak at non-profit organizations. Attend training…become an active member. It wouldn’t be a simple, 9-5 one day a week. You would see me involved and participating.”

The council members then asked questions of Kelley.

Thorpe asked her the same question he asked the others about the oversight role of the position and her vision for it.

“Basically, from the research and the phone calls that I’ve made I feel like this position basically oversees that everything is in compliance…and to reconcile the books,” she responded. “This position…does not report to anyone directly, but you work with others.”

“Are you familiar with the Measure C Oversight Committee?” Thorpe asked.

“Not as familiar as you are,” she replied.

“OK. We’ll skip that” he said.

Wilson asked how Kelley could translate her background and experience into the position.

Kelley mentioned her advocacy on behalf of her father during his final days, and oversight and making sure no one is

Tiscareno asked “can you give me a little insight in how you can do a smooth transition into this position?”

“I’ve already read the budget and looked into the travel policy…to get prepared for the position,” she responded.

Mayor Sean Wright said all the questions he had for each applicant had already been asked.

One member of the public offered a written comment in support of Richardson, which Wright read.

The council then discussed and deliberated on the item.

Thorpe said, “I only have two concerns, the first one is, the idea of serving, if former Mayor Davis gets elected to the school board, him serving in both capacities. I don’t think that looks good. The same concern is with Shelley who works for the city. I understand the legalese. We have to be concerned with perception. I think all the candidates bring good qualities.”

Tiscareno shared his thoughts, stating, “I do share those concerns, as well. One may be more conflicted as the other, because one is a city employee. It would be difficult to present that to the public when running for election. Mr. Davis has the right to run. But, my reasoning for looking at a specific candidate is someone who can come in and do the job, have the knowledge of our city. Kym is very qualified, as well. Her answers to questions as she prepared to the job at hand. I’m going to make my decision with an individual who can start from day one and get going. I think you kind of know where I’m going with that.”

Wilson stated, “I do have the same concern with Shelley…the public perception. This is an oversight role. Will she be overseeing for the city or for the public? Kym, I really think you gave some good answers and we need someone to hit the ground running. Mayor Davis, you have some good answers, too. So, I’ve pretty much made up my mind, too.”

Mayor Wright ended the discussion by stating, “We have the opportunity to have an appointee who can hit the ground running with an applicant who has looked at our finances during our city’s darkest times.”

Tiscareno moved to appoint Davis as City Treasurer, seconded by Wilson.

Thorpe said, while I will support the pleasure of the council, I would hope, Jim you would rethink the school board thing, because I don’t think it looks good that people are serving in two separate offices or that we’re recycling the same people.”

“This was not a foregone conclusion, all of you have certificates that were prepared to be signed,” Wright assured the other two applicants.

Davis was then given the oath of office by Mayor Wright and he assumed his new role as the Antioch City Treasurer.

Davis then signed the official proclamation and the council and audience offered their applause.

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Former Antioch Police Chief endorses Rocha for school board

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

Editor:

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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Antioch Council to consider staff report on environmental groups’ Sand Creek initiative

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

If adopted would cost $65.4 million in fees, and $2.4 million in future annual, net city tax revenue; prohibit any more homes in Sand Creek Focus Area, eliminating proposed gated, senior home community

By Allen Payton

At a previously scheduled, special meeting on Tuesday, August 21, the Antioch City Council will consider the staff report on the Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative, put forward by a variety of environmental groups in the county in coordination with Antioch residents. The initiative effort gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. City Staff Report on Sand Creek Initiative

As a result, the council had three choices at their July 24th meeting, to either adopt the initiative, place it on the November 2018 ballot, or send it to staff to study for up to 30 days and return with a report. They chose the last option, with the result that if they don’t adopt the initiative, places it on the March 2020 ballot, at the soonest.

The council, instead chose to adopt the competing West Sand Creek Initiative, known as The Ranch Initiative, put forward by Richland Communities, which owns the land where the 1,177-home project was proposed. The council’s action approved the Development Agreement, which by law, goes into effect next Thursday, August 23, the 30-day mark following their vote on July 24. (See related article)

The council will have the option, at their next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, August 28, to either adopt the environmental groups’ initiative (The Sand Creek Initiative), including those provisions which don’t conflict with The Ranch Initiative, or place it on the ballot in 2020 for the voters to decide. According to the report, “only those provisions (of the General Plan) outside of The Ranch Development Agreement area would be amended.”

Loss of 1,900 Units

The report states, “The Sand Creek Initiative imposes severe land use restrictions throughout the western portion of the Sand Creek Focus Area and also reduces the overall development capacity of the Sand Creek Focus Area from 4,000 units to 2,100 units. This change along with the differing language regarding constitutionality are the most prominent elements of The Sand Creek Initiative. If adopted, the Sand Creek Initiative would have a profound effect on the Sand Creek Focus Area and would halt all future residential development. Other non-residential uses may still be feasible.”

Loss of Fees and Future City Tax Revenue

In addition, adopting The Sand Creek Inititiative would have future, negative financial impacts on the city, with “a loss of 1,900 units and all of the associated costs and revenues” including, “property tax, sales tax, property transfer tax, property tax in lieu of vehicle license fee, and the Citywide Police Services Community Facilities District.”

“The effect of this action is a reduction in annual ongoing revenue of $3,160,315,” the report states. “The value of this revenue would be offset by the costs of $740,289 to provide increased services to the new development. In total, the net annual ongoing benefit (and net loss) would be $2,420,026 or $1,274 per unit.”

If The Sand Creek Initiative is adopted, it would also mean a loss of pass through and regional fees of $65,411,015 or $34,427 per unit, including $18 million less for Antioch schools and almost $36 million less for regional roads, according to the report.

The report further states that, “alternate sources or increased fees elsewhere may be required.”

Proposed Albers Ranch Site Plan located east of Deer Valley Road and south of Sand Creek.

Prohibits Senior Home Community

Furthermore, the report states, “The City of Antioch previously approved two residential projects in the Sand Creek Focus Area – Vineyards at Sand Creek with 641 units and Aviano with 533 units. With the recent approval of The Ranch with 1,177 units, the current number of approved units in the Sand Creek Focus Area is 2,351. Since The Sand Creek Initiative would limit the total number of residential units to 2,100, any future development anywhere in the Sand Creek Focus Area, including east of Deer Valley Road, would be absolutely prohibited.”

The result of that would mean the proposed 301-unit, gated, senior home community, known as The Olive Groves as well as Albers Ranch, planned for east of Deer Valley Road, south of the Kaiser medical center, Dozier-Libbey Medical High School and the actual Sand Creek, could not be built. (See related article). It is the only other project on the east side of Deer Valley Road currently proposed that has not been approved.

Proposed Zeka Ranch Site Plan located west of The Ranch project.

Also Reduces Zeka Ranch from 256 Units to 8

The report also addresses the effect on the proposed Zeka Ranch project, west of The Ranch and Empire Mine Road, stating, “The General Plan Land Use Designation for Zeka Ranch was approximately 40% Hillside and Estate Residential (256 acres) and 60% Open Space (384 acres). The Hillside Estate Housing designation in the General Plan Land Use Element allows development at a rate of one dwelling unit per gross developable acre…this would allow an absolute maximum of 256 single family homes on the Zeka Ranch property.”

However, some of the land in the Zeka Ranch is not on hillsides and the proposed project includes between 320 and 400 units, which was reduced from the original plan for over 1,100 homes. (See related article).

The report concludes, that, “with the passage of The Ranch Initiative, the development potential of Zeka Ranch was reduced to one unit per eighty acres, which results in a maximum development potential of eight homes. The Sand Creek Initiative applies an identical density and would result in a maximum of eight homes as well.”

Takings Provisions Allow Legal Challenges

However, both initiatives have provisions which allow for a challenge by a landowner who believes their rights were violated due to a “taking” of their property.

The report states that, “Under State and Federal laws, a government agency may not simply ‘take’ a person’s private property and the down-zoning of property has been, and may be, interpreted by courts to constitute a form of unlawful ‘taking’. Presumably, a landowner would need to prove with substantial evidence that the initiative had the unintended effect of unconstitutionally taking their property through the diminishment of development rights, etc.”

The difference between the initiatives is who gets to decide what constitutes a “taking”.

The report states, “Whereas, The Ranch initiative allowed the City Council to determine the validity of a takings grievance and take proper steps towards restitution, The Sand Creek Initiative would require that courts determine that the terms of the initiative violate the law. The Sand Creek Initiative would impose a higher and costlier standard to resolve a takings dispute, should one arise.”

The council meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 200 W. Third Street. It can also be viewed via livestream on the city’s website at www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CityGov/citycouncilmeetings.htm. Since it’s a special meeting, it will not be televised live on local cable access channels.

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Two former Antioch mayors among seven candidates running for two seats on Antioch School Board

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Former Antioch Mayor Jim Davis who filed papers to run, Wednesday in a photo from Facebook, Dr. Clyde Lewis, Jr. in a photo from his LinkedIn page, and Janice Lipnisky from her Facebook page. No photo or contact information for Candida Gonzalez-Amigo could be found prior to publication time. Photos of the other three candidates were posted with a previous article. See link in first paragraph.

By Allen Payton

Former Antioch mayors Jim Davis and Mary Rocha, and five other candidates, have filed papers to run for the two seats on the Antioch School Board in the November election.  Both incumbents, Walter Ruehlig and Debra Vinson, chose to not run for reelection and instead will be challenging Jeff Belle for county school board. (See related article).

The four other candidates for Antioch School Board include 2018 Dozier Libbey Medical High School graduate and Antioch Youth of the Year Shagoofa Khan, who is running a joint campaign with former Antioch Measure C Citizens’ Oversight Committee Vice Chair Ellie Householder; education administrator Dr. Clyde H. Lewis, Jr., business owner Janice E. Lipnisky, who is a parent of a special needs student, and Candida Gonzalez-Amigo whose ballot designation includes financial representative.

Rocha has served in local office, both on the school board and on the city council for a total of 32 years, including four as Mayor of Antioch from 1996-2000. She lost her run for reelection to the city council in 2016.

Davis, who served on the council from 1998-2012, and mayor for his final four years, was the final candidate to file his papers and did so on Wednesday. That was the deadline which had been extended five days since at least one of the incumbents didn’t file for reelection.

In his campaign statement he said, “as of 2017, Antioch schools met basic, state literacy standards of only 22.35% and basic math standards of 14.19%.  That’s unacceptable. We owe our students better. How can we properly prepare them for a positive future if we continue business as usual?”

Davis further stated that school safety and financial responsibility and accountability are his top two priorities, to ensure Antioch students get a better education.

Householder worked for two years as a Research Analyst contractor for the school district on their Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). She is beginning a master’s degree program in Public Policy, this fall. Khan is a college student and works in sales according to her ballot designation.

Lewis earned a master’s degree in educational administration, and his doctorate in education leadership. He currently works as the Director for Workforce Development at Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency (BOSS). He has two children in district schools. In his ballot statement, he wrote, I believe that Antioch schools must provide the best for our children, support our dedicated teachers and staff, and create graduates ready for college or careers. We must push our schools to provide better choices for parents, and to reach for higher standards. Quality schools are essential to maintaining a wonderful community.

Lipnisky initially pulled papers to run for city council, but changed her mind as she cares more about education and children’s issues, having dealt with the district regarding her son’s educational needs. She is the 2018 Ms. Antioch Plus Size and volunteers with the Junior Giants  youth baseball program in Antioch.

Candida-Gonzalez has served on the PTSA’s and School Site Councils for both Dallas Ranch Middle and Deer Valley High Schools and applied for the appointment to the board in 2016 which was given to Alonzo Terry, to replace Trustee Claire Smith who had resigned.

Please check back later for updates to this report.

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Four candidates to challenge Tiscareno, Ogorchock for Antioch City Council

Friday, August 10th, 2018

Three of the four challengers running for the Antioch City Council against incumbents Tony Tiscareno and Lori Ogorchock in the November election. (L-R) Joy Motts from her Facebook page, Nora Foster provided by the candidate and Rodney McClelland from his Facebook page. See the photo of Prudence Capelle  in the 8/19/18 UPDATE, below.

Nine candidates pull papers, only six file

By Allen Payton

As of the filing deadline for the Antioch City Council elections in November, six candidates had filed, including the two incumbents, Council Members Tony Tiscareno and Lori Ogorchock whose seats are up for just two years. The four challengers include former Antioch School Board Trustee Joy Motts, Antioch Parks & Recreation Commission Chairman Rodney McClelland and Member Nora Foster, and Caroleve Prudence Capelle.

Three other candidates pulled papers, including Janice Lipnisky, who was in the July 4th parade as Ms. Antioch Plus Size 2018 and showed up to city hall wearing her sash and crown, Howard Kinsel and Sandi Mauricio. According to Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen, Lipnisky told him she has decided to run for the Antioch School Board instead, Kinsel chose not to run due to health issues, and Mauricio did not complete the filing process.

When asked why she decided not to run, Mauricio responded, “I’m going to support another candidate who would like to see the same changes in Antioch. I will run when I have more time to commit to my campaign.”

Motts announced her campaign in February when she filed an intent to run and was the only candidate to do so. (See related article.)

Nora Foster

In a response to emailed questions, Foster stated, “I have decided to run for City Council because for the last 4.5 years, I have called Antioch home. I have always wanted to make a difference in the community in which I live. I love my home, my community, and my City. My goal in running is to contribute to making Antioch a place to be envied. A place where its residences are feel safe and proud to call home.

Although there are many issues that needs attention, my main issues are:

1) Reducing/Eliminating Crime in this City,

2) Bringing businesses to our City (more than just corner stores but big businesses even high tech.),

3) Saving our hiking trails and open spaces.

I am currently a commissioner of Antioch’s Department of Park & Rec. and serving on Contra Costa County’s FACT (Family And Children Trust) committee; however, my term will expire this September. I would like to think that my role as a Park & Rec. commissioner and a committee member of these boards have helped to benefit the City and the County.

I currently hold an undergraduate degree (BS) in Organizational Behavior and a minor in Telecommunications. Additionally, I have a Master’s Degree in Social Work and have worked in the field of Child Welfare for over 10 years.”

Rodney McClelland

McClelland was one of the three leaders of the recent referendum effort to stop the city’s cannabis business district. Although it failed to get the necessary 5,100 signatures within 30 days, they did gather over 3,000 signatures from registered voters in Antioch.

When reached for comment about his background he said, “I’ve been involved with Delta Youth Soccer League and served on the Antioch Youth Sports Complex Board of Directors, as well. Interacting with the city and obtained financial aid for some of the kids. I was involved with the development of the back fields and the maintenance plan.”

In addition, McClelland said he works in sales for a wholesale distributor of parts and supplies to refrigeration, heating and air conditioning contractors.

Asked why he’s running, McClelland responded, “I was born and raised in Antioch and have seen it go through a lot of changes, both good and bad. I’m not happy with some of the decisions the current council has made, specifically with Measure C, and the cannabis issue was not well thought out and planned. I believe the police department is what we should go after for improvements. I know they’ve spent some money from Measure C. But, it’s not enough. We still don’t have enough police officers for a city our size of 119,000 people.”

“During the referendum, I met a lot of folks who were retired, and some were elderly. The greatest concern of most of them was that they don’t feel safe to leave their homes in the evening,” he shared. “It’s not that the police officers we have aren’t doing their job, it’s that we just don’t have enough officers to do the job we need them to do.”

“We need to clean up our city to improve economic development and bring in businesses in the empty spots that we have in order to thrive,” McClelland continued. We need to find more career type jobs, not just retail jobs. Everything hinges on the reputation of our city and what they see when they come into our city.”

“We need to do a better job of making Antioch more attractive to businesses and future homeowners, and current homeowners, which goes without saying,” he said. “We have all this landscaping throughout town. Maybe we need to look at something that requires less maintenance and water, and longer lasting. Something more thought out.”

“One of the other things is, we should continue to refurbish our parks. We’ve done a good job at improving our parks with the First 5 Regional Group, including Prosserville Park, Contra Loma Estates Park, and the Antioch Disk Golf, all-access playground and splash playground at Prewett Park,” McClelland stated. “We need to do more of that and bring more programs into our parks. The more programs, the more community engagement you’ll have. We need something for every age group.”

Tony Tiscareno from City of Antioch website.

Tony Tiscareno 

In Tiscareno’s campaign announcement on August 1st he said, “When I ran for election four years ago, I promised to work hard to improve crime prevention efforts, revitalize city services and make Antioch fiscally sound. I have made a positive impact in these and other areas that I care deeply about.”

In the last four years, his announcement continued, Antioch has hired more than 50 new police officers, the city ended employee furloughs and City Hall is open full time.  Staff has been hired to improve city services, including code enforcement.  And, funding was found to provide more youth and senior activities.

“My focus in the next two years is to expand Antioch’s economic growth and attract new businesses and jobs, continue to support our public safety services and hire more police officers, continue to reduce crime, and responsibly manage our budget,” he added.

Tiscareno and his wife have lived in Antioch for almost 50 years. He is a local Realtor.

Lori Ogorchock from City of Antioch website.

Lori Ogorchock

After filing her papers on Thursday, Ogorchock made a brief statement in a video on her Facebook page saying, “Hi, Lori Ogorchock, here. I just made it official. Went inside and filed my papers to run for the Antioch City Council for 2018. I need your vote on November 6th. I’m so excited to run for my seat, again. To celebrate I walked down to RiverTown Sweets to get my cookie with everything on it. I look forward to talking and walking with you, this year. Thank you.”

8/17/18 UPDATE: Ogorchock sent out an announcement about her campaign on Thursday, Aug. 16 stating, “Serving you on the Antioch City Council is my greatest honor. I’m a 45-year Antioch resident, a graduate of Antioch High and a local businesswoman. Together, little by little, we are making a difference to improve Antioch’s quality of life. We’ve hired 55+ police officers, balanced our budget, working to create a facility to support victims of domestic violence. We’ve brought BART to Antioch – now we need to lobby BART for more parking at the new station. There is much more work to do. I would be honored to earn your vote this November.”

Ogorchock is also a local Realtor.

Prudence Capelle

Prudence Capelle

8/19/18 UPDATE: Capelle has worked as a Realtor and manager of 12 apartment buildings until she retired in 2012, when she moved to Antioch after having purchased a home in Rivertown in 2010. She has served on the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy Public Advisory Committee, and as a volunteer at the Senior Center, teaching the Beginners’ Exercise Class. She is a painter and some of her work has been displayed at the Lynn House Gallery, Antioch Historical Society Museum and Antioch Library.

Capelle said, “I decided to run as a result of seeing a flyer about two seats on the Council at the Antioch Senior Center and felt that as an elder and a woman in our community, I could be a valuable addition to the City Council.” Her main issues are “the lack of cohesion and vision on the Council” and supports support the “Save the Yard” and “Stop the Tunnels” campaigns and is “very interested in community building and addressing solutions to what we can do about global warming/climate change in our city.”

The election will be held Tuesday, November 6. Any candidates who are elected will have to run for reelection, in the district where they live, in the 2020 election.

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Antioch Council united in placing revised sales tax measure on November ballot with 20-year sunset, oversight included

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

Council warned by taxpayers association that the funds will be used to pay pension liability

By Allen Payton

During a fourth special meeting of the Antioch City Council to place a sales tax increase measure on the November ballot, on Thursday, August 9, 2018, the two members who voted against the proposal during Tuesday’s meeting, reversed course and joined the other three for a unanimous vote.  (See related article). The issue was the addition of a 20-year termination, or sunset clause, for the tax and inclusion of continuing the citizens oversight of the use of the funds from the measure. Both Mayor Pro Tem Thorpe and Council Member Monica Wilson who developed the tax measure in their ad hoc committee, had opposed the inclusion of those two items. But, since state law requires a two-thirds vote of the council to place a sales tax measure on the ballot at least one of them had to switch their vote to get the necessary four votes.

The measure, if passed by the voters, will double the half-cent sales tax from Measure C passed by the voters in 2013, to a full one cent on each dollar of taxable sales in Antioch. It will increase the revenue from approximately $7 million to about $14 million per year from the additional tax.. (See related article).

Following Interim City Attorney Derek Cole’s explanation for the need of a fourth meeting and apologizing for the oversight during Tuesday’s meeting, he said, “as long as you have four votes, it can be placed on the ballot.”

Thorpe then made a motion to reconsider the council’s action from Tuesday night, and it was seconded by Wilson.

That had to pass, first or the ballot measure could not be placed on the ballot and according to Cole, “It has to come from the prevailing side, which in this case was those who voted ‘no’.”

The motion passed unanimously. Then, the council heard comments from the public

Mayor Sean Wright read a comment by Jeffrey Klingler emailed earlier in the day.

“I’m very disappointed that this resolution is again before the city council because of a technical oversight,” he wrote. “Moreover, I am particularly frustrated at how we got to this point. Because this resolution and ballot language was presented to the city council at the last minute there was limited time for open discussion and consideration of public comment (for which the structured environment of polling is not a substitute). Nonetheless, the numerous special council meetings have allowed for the necessary discussions to take place and the meeting of August 7th should have brought this issue to closure.”

“The ad hoc committee has been working for many months on the quality of life initiative and it is bewildering this issue could not have been considered much earlier,” Klinger continued. “As such, I believe the obligation for passage lies with the members of the ad hoc committee to strike the appropriate compromise. I am confident that will be the outcome.”

“I look forward to a ballot measure that will help our city move forward with the critical funding necessary for its success,” he concluded.

Resident Fred Hoskins spoke next.

“I’m going to say, unfortunately for you I only have three minutes, because I could express a lot of ideas,” he said. “I am extremely disappointed in every one of you. I can’t believe it has been initiated in the first place. I was never surveyed for anything.”

“How can we jam down the throats of the citizens of Antioch another half-cent sales tax? That’s what this is about,” Hoskins stated.

He said that he campaigned against Measure C

“I said this is not going away. I was right,” he continued. “I have never seen an objective process or projects for the advancement of this city…the land use of downtown has been put on the shelf because they’re too political. No improvements have been made to the waterfront. We have Humphrey’s that’s going to be Smith’s Landing. Great. I hope they’re successful.”

“You offer no solutions, so you as a council look for ways to tax us,” Hoskins said. “You’re sure kicking the can down the road and 20 years is a joke. It ought to be six months and you figure out how to find the revenue.”

Hal Bray, representing Contra Costa Taxpayers Association spoke next.

“We believe that you’re not being completely honest with the people of Antioch about the uses of the revenue from this sales tax,” he stated. “Your pension costs…will double in the next five years. We believe you’re already using tax revenue meant for other services, for pension costs.  We believe you need to put in place a plan to deal with these rising costs. Other cities have put in place plans, such as a 115 Trust and contracting out services.”

Regarding employee pension contributions Bray said, “We believe the cost should be shared 50-50” with employees paying half the cost of their pensions and the city paying the other half. “You could have $4.5 million more for services if you split the costs with your employees.”

“The average Social Security pension is $16,000. The average CalPers pension of a full-time worker is $70,000 and for public safety officer it is $104,000,” he shared. “We believe it’s unfair for the residents of Antioch, so the people can be paid five to six times what the average retiree gets paid. We are ready to meet when you are.”

Antioch Economic Development Commissioner Tim McCall offered the final public comments in favor of the measure.

“First, to Ms. Wilson and Mr. Thorpe, to all the staff who worked on this…I know you all worked very hard. I appreciate your hard work,” he said. “Mrs. Ogorchock, thank you for your conviction and sticking by it. Mayor Wright, thank for being willing to compromise. Mr. Tiscareno, thank you for standing strong on the 20-year sunset.”

“This will not unite Antioch. It is dividing Antioch. We need to pass this,” McCall stated. “Mr. Thorpe, I do agree with you that the original wording would be a feel good. But, the leaders have spoken and said they want a sunset clause. We’re just going to have to campaign harder. I will help you campaign.

“This city needs to be united. The council needs to be united tonight,” he continued. “Let’s not revisit this in nine years. There will be lots of discussion about how to spend this money. It would be a benefit to start that united.”

The council then took up the issue with Thorpe saying, “Thank you Mr. City Attorney for taking responsibility for this small mishap. I believe Councilwoman Wilson and I believe our votes, last time were symbolic…recognizing that we did work hard…and that we were standing by our work. Although we voted no, the next day we were right back at it, working hard to figure out how to pass it.”

He then made a motion to include the 20-year sunset and citizens oversight in the measure. It was seconded by Wilson and the council voted unanimously to place it on the November ballot.

The final ballot language is 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 election will be held on Tuesday, November 6 and the measure requires a simple majority of votes to pass.

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