Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Ogorchock opposes City Council’s decision to spend Measure O funds to eliminate Furlough Fridays

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Will use funds to hire more police, instead

By Allen Payton

In a news release on Wednesday, October 29th, candidate for the Antioch City Council in the November election, Lori Ogorchock stated, that she opposes the City Council’s unanimous decision to spend more than a third of the funds from Measure O, if passed, to eliminate Furlough Fridays. Instead, she will spend those funds to hire more police to help make Antioch safer, if elected.

During the September 23rd City Council meeting, the Antioch City Council, on a 4-0 vote, approved recommendations from the city staff, to spend $800,000 each year of the annual estimated $2.27 million from Measure O, to return city staff to a five-day work week.

I will vote to spend those funds to hire additional police officers, if I’m elected,” Ogorchock stated. “To spend over a third of Measure O’s funds on anything but police to reduce crime in Antioch, is just irresponsible.”

According to the staff report:

If Measure O passes and provides $2.27 million in additional annual funding, staff recommends the following spending priorities:

Between January 2015 and the end of Fiscal Year 2015-16, use approximately $800,000 for the elimination of “Furlough Fridays” so that City Hall, Police Department reception, and the Public Works office can once again be open to the public for a five day work week. All field staff would also return to 40 hour operations. When implemented in 2009, the furlough program was intended to be a temporary fiscal solution to the downturn in the economy, not an indefinite service reduction to the public. Although a five day work week would be implemented, restoration of afternoon counter hours in Community Development and the Police Department will be dependent upon staffing resources. This will be an ongoing cost.

If elected, I will work with the Mayor and the rest of the city council to reverse that decision and do what the people want the Council to do with the additional tax revenue generated by Measure O,” she added. “That’s to spend the majority of it to hire more police officers to fight crime.”

A longtime Antioch resident, Ogorchock is a Realtor, a former Police Reserve Officer and graduate of the Police Academy. This is her first campaign for public office. For more information about Lori or her campaign, visit www.LoriO4Antioch.com or call (925) 628-7764.

She is one of seven remaining candidates in the race for two seats on the City Council in next Tuesday’s election. One of the eight candidates, Steven Bado, whose name will still appear on the ballot, dropped out of the race on Sunday and endorsed Ogorchock for elction.

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County Elections Office open for voting on Saturday, November 1st

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Joseph E. Canciamilla, the County Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters, notifies all interested parties that the Contra Costa County Elections Office will be open from 8:00 am until 3:00 pm on Saturday, November 1, 2014 for voters who wish to vote in person, pick up or drop off a ballot. The Elections Office is located in Martinez at 555 Escobar Street.

For more information or directions call (925) 335-7800 or our toll free number (877) 335-7802.

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Latest No on O campaign mailer reveals how the Antioch City Council will spend the measure’s funds

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
No on O mailer 3 1024x768 Latest No on O campaign mailer reveals how the Antioch City Council will spend the measures funds

No on Measure O mailer that appeared in mailboxes, this week.

But, gets it wrong on City’s budget

ANALYSIS

By Allen Payton

In the latest mailer from the well-funded No on Measure O campaign, it states under the first reason for voting no, that “On September 23, the City Council admitted that Measure O will be used for salaries and pensions at City Hall.”

Unfortunately, that statement is correct.

Upon looking at the annotated Agenda of the September 23rd Antioch City Council meeting, (which can be viewed by clicking, here), it shows under agenda item #8 that of the estimated $2.27 million in annual revenue projected from Measure O, if it passes, city staff recommended to spend $800,000 to eliminate “Furlough Fridays” to fully staff City Hall, Police Department reception and the Public Works office five days a week, instead of the current four.

The staff report on the agenda item reads as follows:

If Measure O passes and provides $2.27 million in additional annual funding, staff recommends the following spending priorities:

Between January 2015 and the end of Fiscal Year 2015-16, use approximately $800,000 for the elimination of “Furlough Fridays” so that City Hall, Police Department reception, and the Public Works office can once again be open to the public for a five day work week. All field staff would also return to 40 hour operations. When implement ed in 2009, the furlough program was intended to be a temporary fiscal solution to the downturn in the economy, not an indefinite service reduction to the public. Although a five day work week would be implemented, restoration of afternoon counter hours in Community Development and the Police Department will be dependent upon staffing resources. This will be an ongoing cost.

Additional, one-time budget items were also listed in the staff report.

In a Herald article (which can be viewed here) about the Council meeting, it confirms that the Council voted 4-0 to support the staff recommendations.

That article states “Mayor Harper spoke in favor of EBRCS, police body cameras, and the end of furlough Fridays. The rest of the council echoed their concurrence, and a motion to approve the report was passed on a 4-0 vote.”

CORRECTION: The $800,000 mentioned in both the staff report and the article, covers 18 months of the of the tax. But, according to Michelle Fitzer, the City’s Administrative Services Director in an email to the Herald on October 30th, “The annualized cost to the General Fund to return employees to a 40 hour work week, providing services to the Community on Fridays, is $800,000.”

At a cost of between $125,000 and $200,000 per sworn police officer in Antioch, $800,000 could instead be spent to fund between four to six officers, per year.

It appears the City Council has their priorities wrong and their vote has fulfilled the concerns stated in the No on Measure O campaign, that they won’t spend the money on hiring additional police, as expected – and needed, now.

UPDATE:  In the Sample Ballot, it states under Measure O, City of Antioch, BUSINESS LICENSE TAX. “To provide funding that cannot be seized by the State, to maintain such general City services as police services, code enforcement, street repairs, senior services and youth programs, shall the City of Antioch adopt a residential landlord business license tax…”

So, if Measure O passes, the Council must change their vote on the use of funds, at their first meeting in November, and direct staff to use them to hire police, and not for the elimination of Furlough Fridays. That matter can be handled during contract negotiation time with the various city employee groups.

Surplus Revenue Claim is False

UPDATE: Also on the same mailer, at the bottom, it shows Antioch had “Revenues” of $85,498,803 in 2013 and “Expenditures” of $83,434,491 leaving “Surplus Revenue” of $2,064,312.

But, what the No on O folks don’t understand, or don’t want the voters to know, is that the totals include what are known as Enterprise Funds, which include the Marina Fund, Water Park Fund, Sewer Fund and Water Fund, which can only be spent on the specific items related to those funds. They can not be spent on police or other city services. It’s the City’s General Fund that pays for police.

According to the City’s 2014-15 Budget, the actual total General Fund revenue in 2013-14 was $37,508,575 – less than half of what the mailer states. The total expenditures was $39,195,201, resulting in an annual deficit of $1,686,626 – not a $2 million surplus.

The City Budget includes the General Fund, Special Revenue Funds, Capital Projects Funds, Debt Service Fund, the City of Antioch as Successor Agency and Housing Successor to the Antioch Development Agency Funds, and funds from the Antioch Public Financing Authority.

So, any budget surplus was not in the General Fund and can not be spent as the City Council wishes. So the mailer seriously misstates the City’s finances.

Plus, the mailer compares Antioch’s revenues, expenditures and surplus with other, much smaller cities, such as Oakley, Walnut Creek and Lafayette, none of which have their own water department, water park or marina.

So, they’re not providing accurate information and are comparing apples and oranges.

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County School Board candidate Jeff Belle responds to allegations about 2007 arrest, education and career claims

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
Jeff Belle 300x291 County School Board candidate Jeff Belle responds to allegations about 2007 arrest, education and career claims

Jeff Belle in his home office.

By John Crowder & Allen Payton

Jeff Belle, a candidate running for the position of Governing Board Member for Area 5 of the Contra Costa County Board of Education (CCCBOE) against incumbent Cynthia Ruehlig, has responded to allegations that he has a criminal past, has made false statements regarding his education, and has engaged in medical-related practices without being properly licensed, mainly by accusing one of his ex-wives, Casey Jones, of New Mexico, of herself being a con artist with a vendetta against him. Belle also held a media event on Wednesday, October 22, 2014, at a gazebo on the grounds of the Antioch Historical Society. Though he called the event a press conference, he repeatedly refused to answer questions about his past after reading a prepared statement.

However, in a follow-up interview on Sunday, October 26, Belle finally gave more of a detailed explanation.

Recent articles in the local news media have indicated a long history of legal problems, both civil and criminal, for Belle. Interviews conducted by the Herald with law enforcement personnel and research of public records in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and California confirm Belle’s legal entanglements.

According to Celina Espinoza, Public Information Officer with the Santa Fe, New Mexico, Police Department, Belle was arrested in Santa Fe on December 31, 2007. According to Espinoza, Belle was picked up on a “fugitive from justice” warrant. The outstanding warrant was issued by the state of Oklahoma, Oklahoma County, for a fraud case. Belle was booked into the Santa Fe Adult Detention Center, where he awaited extradition to Oklahoma.

Both he and Jones agree that she set him up for the arrest, by luring Belle back from California under the false pretense of getting back together, just a month after they were divorced, on New Year’s Eve, 2007, after being married for just 87 days.

Matt Steadman, an investigator with the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office, remembers Belle being extradited to Oklahoma. Steadman referred us to oscn.net (Oklahoma Supreme Courts Network), where a records search lists thirteen entries, from 1991 through 2002, both civil and criminal cases, involving Belle. For example, a criminal felony case for an offense dated 8/29/1992 involved one charge of “obtaining money or property by means of a false and bogus check.” Another criminal case for an offense dated 5/29/1997, to which Belle pleaded guilty, is for the same charge. A civil case, filed 4/24/92, involved indebtedness. Another case filed 8/29/1997 was for “forcible entry and detainer,” an action taken by a landlord in order to evict a tenant who has not paid rent, or for some other breach of contract. Other records concern more cases involving indebtedness, and marriage and divorce from two different women in Oklahoma. At his press conference, Belle admitted to one of the bad check charges, but said he does not write checks any more.

Education Issues

Belle has also come under fire for making false claims regarding his education. For example, at one time he claimed to have obtained a Ph.D. From Harrington University, in London. The “school” is well-documented as a diploma mill, where, according to some reports, degrees could be obtained for as little as $1400, and have even been handed out to pet dogs and cats. During his October 22 press conference, however, Belle admitted he did not have a Ph.D.

Belle has repeatedly given conflicting statements regarding his education. On his application to serve as Antioch’s representative to the Contra Costa Transportation Authority – Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CCTA-CAC), received by the Antioch City Clerk’s office on July 30, 2013, Belle states that he is scheduled to complete a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) in 2014 from Grand Canyon University. On his Linked-in profile, though, he states that he received his MPA from American Public University System in 2014. At the media event he held on October 22, Belle admitted he has no Master’s Degree.

Also on the CCTA-CAC application, Belle states that he has a BS in Political Science from Oklahoma City University / American Public University.

A different statement appears on his linked-in profile, where he says that he obtained that degree from Oklahoma City University in 1988. But, according to The Office of the Registrar at Oklahoma City University, although Belle did attend the school, and did study political science, he did not receive a degree from them. At the media event he held on October 22, Belle was repeatedly asked by CBS Channel 5 television reporter Da Lin whether or not he had a Bachelor’s degree at all. Belle, at one point, mentioned having obtained a Bachelor’s degree from “Biosystems Institute,” but then quickly backpedaled, and refused to address the question further.

Belle claims he earned an Associates degree in Respiratory Care and graduated in 1980 from Biosystems Institute in Phoenix, AZ. He is registered as an Advanced Respiratory Therapist, the highest level possible in that field, which requires you to pass three national board exams, which Belle did November 22, 1980 in 1984 and the last one in 1996. He has his credentials from the National Board of Respiratory Care.

Belle explained that Oklahoma City University works with American University in a program called the Washington Semester, the hours from which applied to his degree in Political Science.

I still owe American University for room and board for that semester of almost $3,000,” Belle claimed. “However, in 1989 I walked in the graduation, and they acknowlege it, but they won’t confer the degree, until then.”

I don’t have to take any more courses,” he added. “That’s why I’m able to take the Master’s degree program in Public Administration, with an emphasis in Health Policy and Public Policy, from the American Public University System.”

I have a 3.74 GPA, as of today,” he stated. “I’ve completed all of my course work. Starting in January, I will be completing my Master’s thesis, which is all I need to graduate.”

Belle also claims, on both his CCTA-CAC application and on his linked-in profile to have a certificate in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, which, according to his posted profile, he obtained from 2012-2013 after completing an eight-week, online course. He also took another eight-week online course in the summer of 2012, earning him a certificate from University of Pennsylvania in Health Policy & The Affordable Care Act.

Employment & Career

When he came to California in December, 2007 Belle says he was under contract to the Veterans Administration to work in pulminary diagnostics at the VA Hospital in Martinez.

When you’re working at a federal facility, you’re not required to have a license from the state you’re in, just a license from any state in the nation,” Belle said. “I decided to maintain my Oregon license, which I had. Otherwise they would have never hired me.

When his contract expired two years, later he start his own company.

Belle formed Respiratory Clinical Institute, LLC to place students in hospitals, contracted with licensed therapists in hospitals to train them, and to tutor them at his office. He was not seeing patients at the hospital, so he was not practicing medicine.

However, on June 20, 2014, Belle was cited by the Respiratory Care Board of California for “misrepresenting himself as a respiratory care practitioner and engaging in the practice of respiratory care without a current and valid license in California.” He was ordered to “immediately cease and desist any and all unlicensed activities pursuant to the Respiratory Care Practice Act” and ordered to pay a fine of $8,200 for violating provisions of the Act. At his media event, Belle claimed the fine was inappropriate, and the result of an unfair interpretation by the Respiratory Care Board.

He has a hearing on the matter with California, next April.

Belle says he doesn’t need a license to mentor or tutor students. So, the issue is in dispute.

But, he is licensed in Oregon and have been in six other states, in the past. They expire in two years if you don’t keep paying the fees.

On his Facebook page he claims to be a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy and Leadership Development which is under the umbrella of the Political Leadership Institute, based in North Carolina and have a contract with Belle to help set up a civic and community engagement institute at Los Medanos College, where he plans to locate the new institute. He says he has been in negotiations.

Ex-wife’s claims

Herald staff made repeated requests, of Belle in an attempt to obtain an answer to the numerous allegations made against him. His response, until his media event, though, had been to send email statements regarding his aforementioned ex-wife. She created a website called “Women Against Con Men,” and wrote a book about her experience with about her life, as well as her experience with Belle, including her efforts to get him arrested in 2007.

In a statement released by Belle on Sunday, October 19, 2014, he says that Casey Jones, one of his ex-wives, and the woman who has made it her mission to expose his alleged wrongdoing, “boasts a checkered history,” and “continues to target and make the public believe that Jeffery Belle is a criminal and con-man.” He goes on to accuse her of conspiring with a “reputed con man to harass and intimidate his victims in California.” In a phone conversation with Jones, she volunteered that she suffered from a multiple personality disorder, but said that she had no criminal history and no judgments against her. Herald staff were unable to locate anything to the contrary.

An article referenced by Belle, which appeared online at the Santa Fe New Mexican website on December 30, 2012, details the crusade Jones has maintained against Belle for the last several years. In one part it reads, “You could label Jones an avenging angel for deceptive spouses, or an ex-wife from hell.” (See www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/abuse-survivor-shares-story-in-memoir.)

When asked in a recent interview why she continued to pursue Belle, seven years after they were divorced, Jones said, “I don’t care about Jeff Belle. I care about his victims.”

I Google Jeff’s name, randomly a couple times a year,” she added.

The final thing she said was “I wish him well.”

That’s the same thing Belle said about Jones, in a press release following his media event, last week.

Committee Appointments

As noted above, Belle’s past has not prevented him from obtaining appointments to various county committees. At the August 13, 2013 meeting of the Antioch City Council, Belle was appointed to the CCTA-CAC on a unanimous, 4-0 vote.

Belle has also garnered appointments to the county’s Emergency Medical Care Committee and the Tobacco Prevention Coalition. In addition, Belle states that he was involved with the Dallas Ranch Middle School PTSA as the “legislative chair” for two years.

Recent Bad Check Allegation

In a recent news article, Belle’s campaign was accused of writing a bad check to the Antioch Historical Society for the rental of the gazebo for his press conference. Belle does not sign on the campain account, but his wife Carmen does.

In a brief interview, today, Carmen said there were funds in the account and that she had deposited a cashier’s check into the account, the same day she wrote the check to the Antioch Historical Society.

I know that it takes a day for the funds to clear the account,” she said. “But we didn’t bounce the check. If they had deposited it into their account, it would have gone through, as it takes a few days to clear.”

But, I immediately dropped what I was doing and went and paid cash,” Carmen added.

On a positive note, Belle said that his youngest son, Joseph, just graduated from Cambridge University in England, with a Master’s Degree in Music Composition.

I’ve worked to inspire my children, as well as the students I’ve mentored and tutored, through the years, to be the very best and pursue excellence,” Belle stated. “I’ve made mistakes in the past. But, I’ve worked to live a life of an example and will continue to do so.”

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Tiscareno has major fundraising lead in Antioch City Council race with over $31,000 in contributions

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

By Allen Payton

According to financial reports filed by the candidates for the Antioch City Council, appointed incumbent Tony Tiscareno has a commanding lead in the fundraising among the seven remaining candidates running for two seats in the November election.

As of October 20, Tiscareno had raised $31,409, year-to-date, Lori Ogorchock was in second place with $10,541 in contributions, Diane Gibson-Gray was in third with $9,175, including $5,000 in loans from herself, and in fourth place was Lamar Thorpe with $8,750 in contributions.

UPDATE: The first page of Karl Dietzel’s forms shows he wasn’t going to raise or spend more than $1,000 in his campaign. But, he also submitted a Form 470 Supplement (see below) which states “This form is written notification that the officeholder/candidate listed below has received contributions totaling $1,000 or more or has made expenditures of $1,000 or more during the calendar year.” That shows a handwritten “Oct. 2, 2014″ on line 3 which asks “Date Contributions Totaling $1,000 or More Were Received or Date Expenditures of $1,000 or More Were Made.” That second page appears to have been submitted by mistake. Dietzel did not respond to a phone call to explain the discrepancy before this story was published. However, he has made comments below that provide clarification. He does need to submit a corrected form to the Antioch City Clerk to remedy his mistake.

The forms from Jeffrey Hall-Cottrell and Steven Bado, who withdrew from the race on Sunday, October 26, both show they did not plan to spend more than $1,000 on their campaigns.

As of October 21, Anthony Segovia had not submitted a financial report, although he has spent more than $1,000 on his campaign in both advertising and signs.

When we did not receive the pre-election Campaign Finance Report from Anthony Segovia, i sent him an email on October 9th letting him know that we had not received it by the October 6th deadline,” Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen stated in an October 21st email to the Herald. “He responded the same day saying ‘Thank you. I will do this tomorrow.’ When I didn’t receive his report, I sent him a follow-up email on October 17th and have not heard back from him since.”

According to the state Fair Political Practices Commission, “If a campaign statement is filed late, what are the potential consequences? The filing officer with whom the statement is required to be filed may assess a fine of up to $10 for each day that the statement is late (or up to $20 per day for a statement and a copy). In addition, filing officers are required by law to refer non-filers to an enforcement authority. If a matter is referred to the FPPC’s Enforcement Division for failure to file, the fine may increase up to a maximum of $5,000 per violation.”

According to the California Secretary of State’s website, “In addition to filing regularly required campaign disclosure statements, candidates, officeholders, ballot measure committees, political parties, PACs, and major donors may file late contribution reports and other special filings. These usually occur in the 90 days preceding Election Day. Contributions and independent expenditures of $1,000 or more are disclosed within 24 hours of the time they are made or received.”

The filings for Antioch City Council are made with the City Clerk’s office and copies can be obtained there as a matter of public record.

See copies of each of the council candidates’ forms, Form 497 No. 10-01 Amendment 1 10-17-14 – Ogorchock FPPC Form 497 – Tiscareno 10-16-14 FPPC Forms due 100614 – Bado FPPC Forms due 100614 – Dietzel FPPC Forms due 100614 – Gibson-Gray FPPC Forms due 100614 – Hall-Cottrell FPPC Forms due 100614 – Ogorchock FPPC Forms due 100614 – Thorpe FPPC Forms due 100614 – Tiscareno.

See the state’s campaign finance reporting requirements, CACampaignFinancialReportingFAQs.

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Parks Board candidate Foley claims endorsement of a group that may not exist

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

By Allen Payton

Antioch resident Mark Foley, candidate for the East Bay Regional Parks District Board of Directors in Ward 7, in the November election, is claiming an endorsement by Friends of Urban Creeks. There’s just one problem with that. The group may not exist.

Environmental leaders and those involved in saving the creeks in the East Bay say they’ve never heard of it, before.

Ron Brown, Executive Director of Save Mount Diablo, isn’t aware of any such organization.

I, too, saw the Friends of Urban Creeks endorsement on Foley’s web page and I have no idea who that is,” he said. “I tried to look them up with no success. There is an Urban Creeks Council, but I believe they are a 501c3 [non-profit ogranization] and not allowed to be engaged with candidate campaigns.”

In a voicemail message left for the Herald, on Monday, October 27, Seth Adams, the Land Conservation Director for Save Mount Diablo reiterated what Brown said.

“I’ve never heard of such a group,” he said. “Most non-profits can’t endorse candidates. So it would be unusual for an environmental group that’s not more political, like the Sierra Club. Most of us do not endorse candidates.”

Foley’s opponent, Oakley Councilwoman Diane Burgis is the Executive Director of Friends of Marsh Creek. She says she’s never heard of the organization, either.

He failed to respond to attempts by phone and email to contact him for this article.

Foley does have the endorsements of the county’s Democratic Central Committee, as well as of seven American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) unions and organizations The parks district employees are members of that union.

The full list of Foley’s endorsements can be viewed on his website at www.markforparks.com.

One interesting thing with endorsements in the race is that both candidates are “dual-endorsed” by State Senator Mark DeSaulnier and State Assembly Members Jim Frazier, Susan Bonilla and Nancy Skinner, as well as Antioch Councilman Tony Tiscareno.

Burgis has the endorsements of Parks Board Director Ted Radke who is not seeking reelection, retiring Congressman George Miller and County Supervisor Mary Piepho. The full list of Burgis’ endorsements can be viewed on her website at www.dianeburgis.com.

Ward 7 includes Antioch, Brentwood, Byron, Discovery Bay, Oakley, Pittsburg, Bay Point, Martinez, Crockett, Hercules and Pinole.

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BREAKING NEWS: Antioch Council candidate Steven Bado drops out of race, endorses Ogorchock

Sunday, October 26th, 2014
Steve Bado in office 882x1024 BREAKING NEWS: Antioch Council candidate Steven Bado drops out of race, endorses Ogorchock

Steven Bado

By Allen Payton

Due to a new career opportunity, Antioch City Council candidate Steven Bado has chosen not to campaign and instead, has dropped out of the race and endorsed fellow candidate, Lori Ogorchock.

Although I very much desired to serve the community and bring some common sense to the City Council, after much consideration, I realized that I just won’t have the time to fulfill the position, if elected,” Bado said on Sunday, October 26, 2014. “Instead, I ask all my family, friends and other supporters to vote for Lori Ogorchock for City Council. She will bring to the council her much needed business experience and common sense, as well as her long history of community service, to benefit Antioch.”

His name will still appear on the ballot, so he can still get votes. But Bado chose to back out, now so voters can redirect their votes to Ogorchock.

I appreciate Steven Bado’s endorsement and willingness to withdraw and support me for City Council,” Ogorchock said. “I encourage his supporters to feel free to contact me with their ideas and to give me the opportunity to get to know them. I can be reached through my website at www.LoriO4Antioch.com or by phone at (925) 628-7764.” ”

Bado, age 40, is the General Sales Manager for Dublin of Honda. He has lived in Antioch for 37 years. He and his wife have three children, Bianca age 23, who is in beauty college, Anthony age 18, who is playing baseball for a traveling team, and Brianna age 17, who is a senior at Deer Valley and will be attending University of the Pacific next summer.

I want to thank my wife, family and friends who encouraged me to run,” he added. “I appreciate their support and hope to can count on it, again, perhaps in the future.”

Bado was one of eight candidates in the race. There are seven remaining. The election is on Tuesday, November 4.

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Measure O opponents spend over $137,000 on campaign “full of lies and half-truths”

Sunday, October 26th, 2014
Mailer 1 front Measure O opponents spend over $137,000 on campaign “full of lies and half truths”

No on Measure O mailer #1, front

Mailer 1 inside 1 Measure O opponents spend over $137,000 on campaign “full of lies and half truths”

No on Measure O mailer inside #1, top.

Compared to $15,000 for the Yes on O committee

By Allen Payton

Two campaign mailers opposing Antioch’s Measure O arrived in residents’ mailboxes, recently, and has supporters upset.

One mailer states “Here’s what the Antioch City Council did with their $3.4 million a year tax increase” referring to the passage of last year’s Measure C half-cent sales tax measure. When you open the mailer it states “Absolutely nothing.” Then further down it states “The City Council didn’t expand the police force” and “The City Council has nothing to show for Measure C.”

Those statements are blatantly false, since the city has hired 25 more officers, this year. However, the city has lost 19 officers due to retirement or transfers to other departments, this year, leaving the city with a net six new officers.

The city began collecting the additional sales tax on April 1, this year, so it’s had six months of additional revenue, not a full year of the projected $3.4 million.

City Manager Steve Duran provided the following information about Measure C funds:

With approval of the 2014/15 budget, the City Council directed 100% of the projected $4,300,847 Measure C revenues to hiring more Police Officers, which is well in progress, and augmenting Code Enforcement services. The City allocated $4,111,947 to the Police Department and $188,900 to Code Enforcement.

As of September 1, $949,591 of Measure C funds had been received by the city.

Since August, 2013, the City has gone from 82 sworn Police Officers to 90 sworn Police Officers. 97 are budgeted for this year and 104 for next year. Measure C is paying for this increase in Police Officers.”

No on O mailer 2 Measure O opponents spend over $137,000 on campaign “full of lies and half truths”

No on Measure O mailer #2

The second mailer shows a photo of 69-year-old Measure O opponent and Antioch resident Wayne Cook, with a quote by him stating “Measure O will make it harder for senior citizens to pay their rent…Measure O will hurt senior citizens.”

It’s unbelievable,” said Don Freitas, former Antioch Mayor and chairman of the Residents for Fairness – Yes Measure O committee. “Their campaign is full of lies and half-truths.”

He shared that the 2010 U.S. Census determined a senior was 62 years and older, and that 81% of seniors in Antioch are homeowners in.

If you include assisted care facilities, it’s closer to 90 or 95%,” Freitas said. “So, none of these people will pay a single penny if Measure O passes.”

I don’t know if you know Kevin Reikes or not, but the truth has never gotten in his way,” he added.

Reikes is the political consultant being paid to run the No on O campaign

Besides, if the apartment complex owners were going to pass on the cost of the tax to their tenants, why would they spend so much to try to defeat it?” Freitas asked.

So far, the Sacramento-based No on Measure O committee, which has been funded mostly by apartment building owners, has raised $137,075  to defeat the measure.

As of their last full financial report dated September 30 (which can be viewed, here: No on O Form 460) the No on Measure O committee had received $75,000. Then, as of October 7, an additional $35,000 was received, according to another report (which can be viewed, here: FPPC497 10-7-14). Then on October 9, another financial form was filed, showing a contribution of $7,075 from Antioch-based E.E.N. Property Management, Inc. (which can be viewed, here: FPPC497 10-9-14). On October 16, another Late Contribution Report showing $20,000 was received from Sequoia Properties – Cross Pointe Apartments (which can be viewed, here: FPPC497_LCR 10-16-14).

In contrast, the Residents for Fairness – Yes Measure O committee had raised “a little over $7,000 as of September 30,” according to Treasurer Nancy Fernandez. (That report can be viewed, here: FPPC Forms due 100614 – Yes on Measure O). However, on October 6, the Yes on O committee received $2,500 from U.A. Local 432 and $1,000 from GBN Partnership, LLC, then on October 10 a $1,500 contribution was received from the Plumbers Union Local No. 159, and on October 12, a $3,000 contribution from the Electrical Workers union. Those reports can be viewed, here: FPPC Forms 497 – Yes on Measure O 10-13-14.

So, as of October 20, the Yes on O campaign had raised a total of $15,012.

A regular council attendee for 10 years, Fernandez added her thoughts on the No campaign.

It’s full of lies,” she said. “The original group that wrote the measure before it was turned over to the city, was made up of people ranging in age from 58 to 85. Some of them have lived here all their lives. So, seniors do support this.”

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