Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Former Assemblywoman Lynne Leach endorses Hardcastle for Supervisor

Thursday, February 11th, 2016
Lynne Leach

Lynne Leach

Today, candidate for County Supervisor in District 3, Doug Hardcastle announced he has received the endorsement of former State Assemblywoman Lynne Leach.

While in the Assembly for six years, Leach represented almost all of what makes up District 3, including the East County communities of Oakley, Brentwood, Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Knightsen, Byron and parts of Antioch, as well as Blackhawk, Diablo and Camino Tassajara, in the San Ramon Valley portion of the Supervisor district.

“What impressed me about Doug is that he has taken so many of the necessary steps, both as a member of the Ironhouse Satinary District Board and Oakley City Council, and is now well prepared to be a member of the Board of Supervisors,” said Leach. “Plus, his small business experience and community service, it just makes a lot of sense.”

“He is one of the best, well-rounded candidates you could imagine,” she added. “That’s why I’m supporting him for County Supervisor.”

A leader in the Assembly, Leach served as Vice Chair of the Assembly Education Committee in her second and third terms. She also served on a variety of committees, including Transportation, Insurance, Business and Professions, Jobs and Economic Development, Aging and Long Term Care, Joint Legislative Audit and the Master Plan for California Education (Kindergarten through Higher Education).

“I appreciate Lynne’s endorsement, and her time and counsel in my campaign,” Hardcastle said. “Plus, her great experience serving the same communities that I will be serving as Supervisor.”

Doug Hardcastle was elected to the Oakley City Council in 2012 and recently completed a year as Mayor. From 2000 to 2012 he served as a Director on the Ironhouse Sanitary District Board, for which he served as President in 2010-2011. He currently serves on both the Transplan Committee and the Tri Delta Transit Board of Directors. Doug and his wife Lyn own Hardcastle’s RV in Oakley and have for over 40 years. Doug was selected Oakley Business Person of the Year in 2006. He’s a life-long resident of Contra Costa County. For more information visit and follow the Hardcastle campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @doughardcastle.

Supervisor District 3 includes Oakley, Brentwood, Discovery Bay, Blackhawk, Diablo, Camino Tassajara, Bethel Island, Byron, Knightsen and a portion of Antioch. The election is on June 7, 2016.

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Brentwood Councilman Steve Barr is sixth candidate to enter race for District 3 Supervisor

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016
Steve Barr, courtesy City of Brentwood

Steve Barr, courtesy City of Brentwood

Today, Wednesday, February 10, 2016, Brentwood Councilmember Steve Barr announced his intent to run for Contra Costa County Supervisor District 3.

“After careful consideration I have decided to seek the office of Supervisor and represent the residents of Far East County and the communities of Blackhawk and Diablo,” Barr said. “I feel it is the right time for me to use the experience I have gained serving the Brentwood residents for the last five years on the city council and make a positive contribution to the Board of Supervisors on behalf of District 3 residents.”

In 2005 Steve was appointed to the Liberty Union High School District Board of directors and was elected to the board in 2006. He served as President of the Board in 2008 and completed his term on the school board in 2010.

Steve was elected to the Brentwood City Council in 2010 and served as Vice-Mayor in 2011 and 2012. In 2012 he ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of Brentwood against Bob Taylor. In 2014 Barr was re-elected to the council in an uncontested election.

While on the City Council he has served on the following city committees: Operating and Capital improvement Budgets, 10 Year Fiscal Model Plan, Downtown Specific Plan, General Plan Implementation, Sewer/Water/Solid Waste rates, School Inter-agency Council, and Land Use and Development.

He was appointed to the East Contra Costa Fire District Board of Directors in 2011 – 2014 and was recently reappointed in 2016.

Steve has been active in the Brentwood community in various roles including coaching youth sports, soccer, CYO basketball and Pony baseball, has chaired community events such as the 1996 Brentwood Cornfest, the 2014 Harvest Time Festival and co-chaired the Brentwood Art Wine and Jazz Festival for three years. He served as President of the Liberty High School Athletic Boosters and Liberty High School site council from 2002- 2005.

Steve is a third generation Contra Costan and lived in Pleasant Hill from 1956 to 1978, Martinez from 1978 to 1981 and in Brentwood since 1981. He has been a licensed contractor for 35 years specializing in structural concrete and custom pools, and currently is providing contracted construction management services for a processing plant in Ripon California.

Steve and his wife Kathy have lived in Brentwood for 35 years. They have a daughter Kristin age 32 of Yuba City and son Paul age 29 of Walnut Creek.

This brings the number of candidates for County Supervisor in District 3 to six, including Oakley City Council Doug Hardcastle, NAACP East County Branch President Odessa Lefrancois, East Bay Regional Parks District Board Member Diane Burgis, Antioch Mayor Wade Harper and Antioch Councilwoman Monica Wilson.  The Primary Election is on June 7th and if no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the top two candidates with the most votes will face off in the General Election in November.

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Candidate for Congress Nance opposes Obama gas tax proposal

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

Stockton police officer challenging incumbent Congressman Jerry McNerney vows to oppose the President’s plan which would hurt working families by adding 25 cents to every gallon of gas to fund pork barrel projects for campaign donors

(Stockton) – Congressional candidate for the 9th District, Kathryn Nance announced her strong opposition to President Obama’s plan to raise gas taxes at the pump that would take money out of the pockets of every American family.  His plan would also hit Central Valley farmers hard and threaten their ability to compete internationally.  The plan is designed to give handouts to the President’s campaign donors in an industry with a history of wasting billions of taxpayer dollars.

“Jerry McNerney needs to state his position on this issue immediately and let us know where he stands,” stated Nance.  “This plan is nothing more than a Robin Hood in reverse that takes money away from working families to give to Washington special interests that have funded my opponent’s campaign for years.  If McNerney refuses to take a position or supports the President’s plan he will have clearly chosen special interest campaign donations over the people of the 9th District and the nation.”

Recent drops in gas prices are currently giving working families a break in paying their monthly energy bills and keeping the weak economy from going into recession.  By raising taxes on energy, McNerney and Obama will kill thousands of good paying jobs in the energy industry while wasting billions on taxpayer funded projects that will be given out to those with political connections and take money straight out of the pockets of working families, seniors and farmers.

“The lower prices on gasoline are helping our families and farmers make ends meet in this weak economy,” continued Nance.  “I am running for Congress to replace the McNerney/Obama agenda and will fight every day to protect our families from the hidden taxes, fees and regulations that McNerney has supported.

Kathryn Nance is a Sergeant with the Stockton Police Department and a candidate for the 9th Congressional District which includes San Joaquin, Contra Costa and Sacramento counties.   To learn more about Kathryn, go to

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Pacheco casino contributes $145,100 to Antioch card room initiative, Tiburon-based committee spends $89,000 on consultants, signature gathering

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

By Allen Payton

The committee formed to place an initiative to limit card rooms, on the June Primary Election ballot in Antioch, has raised $145,100 and spent $89,718.23 as of December 31, 2015. All of the funds were contributed by the California Grand Casino in Pacheco.

Known as the Antioch Coalition Against the Expansion of Gambling, the committee is based in Tiburon, California at the office of its Treasurer, attorney David M. Fried, according to the required financial report submitted on Monday, February 1st.

However, the proponents are Antioch Economic Development Commission Member Lamar Thorpe and his wife Patrice Guillory, and LaTonya Harman, all Antioch residents. Thorpe unsuccessfully ran for the Antioch City Council in 2014 and according to his Facebook page appears he might be considering another run, this year with the comment “2016 is here… another election year. Decisions, decisions…” ending in a smiley face emoji with a wink.

The three filed a “Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition” with the statement:

“We are proposing the Citizens Initiative Against Gambling Expansion in order to Preserve, maintain and protect the City and the People of Antioch by requiring a public vote before there is an expansion of gambling, to ensure card rooms do not expand into larger Casinos without voter approval and to clarify and strengthen the laws governing card rooms and their location.”

However, in January, 2015, the Antioch City Council had already voted to decrease the number of card room licenses allowed in the city from five to two, and currently there is only one in operation. That one has six tables for card games. Other forms of gambling, such as slot machines and roulette tables, are not allowed. In addition, there’s generally a state moratorium on new card rooms in the state through January, 2020, but does allow for up to a 25% expansion in the number of gambling tables, hours of operation, etc., if approved by the City Council.

The funds spent by the committee have gone to pay $29,000 to Mosher/Whitehurst, a San Francisco-based campaign consulting firm, and Tulare, California-based Olson & Associates, another campaign consulting firm with a specialty in qualifying initiatives for the ballot. That company paid individuals who gathered over 9,000 signatures at grocery stores throughout Antioch.

Since enough signatures of registered Antioch voters were gathered, the initiative qualifies for the June Primary Election ballot. The City Council, at their Tuesday night regular meeting, will have the opportunity to either adopt the proposed ordinance, or let it go to the ballot. If the measure goes to the ballot, it will cost the city’s General Fund between $132,771 and $177,028, according to Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen. It has already cost the city over $3,000 in payment to the County Elections Department to verify the signatures.

To view the committee’s entire financial report, click here: Form 460 – Antioch Coalition Against Gambling Expansion 7-1 to 12-31-15

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County seeks volunteers to be Poll Workers for Election Days in June and November

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Need for civic-minded citizens to help throughout the county in June and November

Kelly Davis and her fellow Contra Costa volunteers have an early wake-up call on Election Day, but most of them don’t mind the long hours.

Each of them has their own unique reasons for being poll workers. And the Contra Costa County Elections Division is looking for civic-minded men and women to consider joining them.

Davis, of Orinda, is motivated to get out of bed on Election Day and stay energized during the day to raise money for foster children.

Monnie Segelke of Danville and Maude DeVictor of Richmond both find fulfillment in helping voters and enjoy seeing neighbors and familiar faces at their polling places.

Like many volunteers, Julie Southern of Antioch grew up in a family who emphasized civic participation.

No prior experience is necessary and training is provided.  Poll workers receive a stipend for their service, which includes attending mandatory training and being present from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm on Election Day.

In an effort to make it as easy as possible for Contra Costans to volunteer, the Elections Division now allows applicants to email or send a text message if they are interested. No cumbersome, time-consuming hand-written forms.

There are two chances for Contra Costa residents to work in 2016: June 7 and November 8. This is an historic year, as a new President and U.S. Senator will be elected.

“I enjoy being involved in the democratic process, and there’s no better way than being a poll worker because you’re involved in the nitty-gritty,” Southern said. “I can say I’m a part of history.”

Participants are awarded special election pin denoting their service.

Bilingual citizens are strongly encouraged to volunteer. County and State employees, as well as high school students who are at least 16, should also consider applying.

For more information, visit

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Glazer, Baker and local officials tell BART, unions to take specific steps before they’ll support tax increase

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

In keeping with his opposition to BART strikes, and what he claims is financial mismanagement and security lapses, State Senator Steve Glazer was joined by Assemblywoman Catharine Baker and local elected officials at a news conference on Wednesday, February 3 at the Walnut Creek BART station, to announce their potential opposition to any new BART taxes – including BART’s multi-billion dollar bond proposal – until it takes specific action steps.

Glazer and Baker were joined by mayors and council members representing 11 cities in Contra Costa and Alameda counties, leaders who have signed the appeal to BART management and unions.

“BART has a lot of work to do before it can earn the trust of voters in November to pay for new taxes,” Glazer said. “We do need to invest in our worn down transportation system so it can serve the hundreds of thousands who depend on it for work, school and recreational pursuits.”

“But we cannot reward bad behavior with more and more taxes. BART has eight months until the election to restore the public trust,” he continued. “There is a pathway to a successful reinvestment in the BART system. But it will require thoughtful leadership from BART management and their unions. Time is running out.”

The letter, which can be seen in its entirety, below, stated:

“We, the undersigned, have serious concerns about a potential multi-billion dollar BART bond that we understand the BART Board of Directors is considering for the November 2016 ballot. Convincing two-thirds of Bay Area voters to agree to a tax increase is already an uphill fight. But the 2013 strike, drawn-out contract negotiations, and wage concessions for workers and management also severely damaged voters’ trust in BART.

To regain that trust and the voters’ support of new taxes, we implore you to negotiate – before the 2016 elections – a new contract that takes into account the dire fiscal needs of the system and ensures that trains keep running on schedule.”

No member of the Antioch City Council signed the letter.


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Antioch Councilwoman Monica Wilson announces run for County Supervisor in District 3

Monday, February 1st, 2016
Monica Wilson from Facebook.

Monica Wilson from her campaign’s Facebook page.

Antioch City Council Member Monica Wilson announced, today, Monday, February 1, 2016, she will run for the open Contra Costa County’s Board of Supervisor’s seat in District 3, currently held by Mary Piepho.

In a news release from her campaign, Wilson stated “In my time on the Antioch City Council, I have worked to bring jobs back to our community and to make sure that every resident has the opportunity to succeed in our economy. I want to bring these type of results to the rest of Contra Costa County and I’m going to fight to make sure we get results.”

The announcement further states “Wilson’s passion for serving her community began after being affected by the economic crash of 2007. Right after buying a home in Antioch to be closer to her parents, Monica was laid off from her job. The housing crisis forced Monica to deplete her life’s savings to pay off her new mortgage and barely stay afloat. Being in the same financial position as many East Contra Costa County Residents, Monica understood the feeling of helplessness over the economic strain caused by the financial crisis.

Monica wanted to give back to her neighbors and she started volunteering in the community [and] working at Mills College to help guide students towards their goals. After that, Monica began working to bring funds to support programs for youth in the community, creating opportunities for the next generation.”

According to Wilson’s list of Experience on her LinkedIn page, her position at Mills College in Oakland was  Special Projects/Executive Assistant to the Dean of Student Life from February 2009 to July 2014; then she worked as Interim Dean of Economic and Workforce Development for the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District – Workforce Institute from July, 2014 to October, 2014, where one of the people she appointed to be her standby council members, and an Antioch Economic Development Commission Member, Lamar Thorpe works as Chief Advancement Officer. Wilson was then was unemployed for about six months until securing her current position, last April, as Workforce Service Specialist for the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County in Pleasant Hill. If elected, she would have to give up that position.

In her news release, it claims, “First running for office in 2012, Wilson’s tenure on the City Council has been marked by significant achievements for the City of Antioch. She used her experience from her time in the private sector to help grow local businesses and also made sure that public services continued to improve to better serve Antioch residents. During her tenure, Monica made public safety a top priority, securing local measures to hire and support more police officers, and during her time on the council, Antioch was able to expand public services in a fiscally responsible way; the city increased its rainy day reserves from 15% to 24%.

Wilson’s successes include bringing back a five-day workweek for city employees and closing the gap on the city’s financial obligations. She also strives to serve the underrepresented, bringing a new local grocery store to an underserved neighborhood whose residents previously had to drive the inconvenient long distance to the closest grocery store.”

 Wilson signs papers at the Contra Costa County Elections Division office. from her Facebook page.

Wilson signs papers at the Contra Costa County Elections Division office. photo from her campaign’s Facebook page.

The news release also states that “Wilson brings her strong history of creating opportunities for all residents and improving community resources to her service for East Contra Costa County. Monica has attended hundreds of community meetings in East County. Having met thousands of constituents, Monica maintains strong relationships with many stakeholders throughout the county. Monica is running for Supervisor to continue her work fighting for East County and to continue to expand opportunities for every resident. As a current Antioch councilmember, Monica Wilson has already had success on the citywide ballot; Antioch has the most likely primary voters of any of the cities in the third supervisorial district.

Wilson has worked to put the City back on financial track. The third supervisorial district, which includes Antioch, Oakley, Brentwood, and Discovery Bay, is represented by Supervisor Mary Piepho who is retiring. The primary election is June 7, 2016.”

Before being elected to the City Council, Wilson served on the Antioch Economic Development Commission from May, 2011 to November, 2012, served as Vice Chair for the Democratic Party of Contra Costa County from August, 2010 to June, 2012 and from 2010 to 2011 she served as Program Member for Emerge California, an organization self-described on their website as “the premier training program for Democratic women…to increase the number of Democratic women in public office.”

According to her LinkedIn profile, she is Vice Chair, California Democratic Party Women’s Caucus and Policy Issues Chair California State Delegate, 11th Assembly District; she earned a B.S. degree in Fashion Merchandising from Howard University, in 1991 and an MBA from the University of Phoenix in 2005.

For more information visit Wilson’s campaign website at

Wilson is the fifth candidate to enter the race, including Oakley City Councilman Doug Hardcastle, NAACP East County Branch President Odessa Lefrancois, East Bay Regional Parks District Board Member Diane Burgis and Antioch Mayor Wade Harper. If no candidate receives a majority of votes in the June Primary, the top two vote-getters will face each other in a run-off during the General Election in November. The district also includes Diablo, Blackhawk and Camino Tassajara in the San Ramon Valley.

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Antioch residents file papers for ballot initiative for a park and event center in downtown

Saturday, January 30th, 2016
An artist's rendering of a proposed event center for downtown Antioch on the lot bordered by Second, Third and E Streets.

An artist’s rendering of a proposed event center for downtown Antioch on the lot bordered by Second, Third and E Streets.

By Allen Payton

This week, Joy Motts, one of the leaders of an effort to turn the old Antioch Lumber Company lot into a park and event center, in downtown, known as “Save The Yard,” filed the necessary papers for an initiative to help make that a possibility.

Entitled “An Ordinance of the People of the City of Antioch Designating the Old Beede Lumberyard Site as a Town Square,” the initiative pre-empts the expected action by the City Council to sell the parcel to a developer who could build up to 18 housing units per acre on the 2.5 acre site, instead of waiting for the vote and filing a referendum.

Last June, a majority of council members, including Mayor Wade Harper, Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock and Council Member Mary Rocha, indicated that they would support allowing the group of Antioch residents to move forward on a possible park and event center on the property, and the council voted 5-0 to give it the designation of mixed-use which would allow for it. It would also allow for retail, commercial and residential uses on the property.

But, then during a closed session on August 25th, the Council voted 4-1, with Ogorchock dissenting, to direct City Manager Steve Duran to negotiate with a developer to sell that parcel and eight others the city owns in downtown. (See article, here).

Created with the help of an attorney, according to Motts, the ordinance, if passed, states the park and event center would include “a large gazebo or similar amenity along the river, or with a view of the river, which…could be the site of summer concerts and other performances.”

Known as “The Rivertown Town Square Ordinance,” it further states that the “general plan designation (of ‘Rivertown/Urban Waterfront’) also encourages recreational uses such as bocce ball and lawn bowling courts; provision for family activities for all ages; and an emphasis on historical recognition.”

Planned for the November, 2016 election, the supporters will need to get signatures of 10% of the registered voters in Antioch, which is about 4,600, according to Motts.

“But we’re hoping to get about 6,000 signatures to make sure we have enough valid ones,”  “We don’t want to come up short. So that’s our goal.”

According to Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen, “They will have 180 days from the day I approve their petition” to gather the required signatures.

Other proponents of the initiative, according to Motts, are Antioch downtown businessman Jim Lanter and Wayne Harrison, President of Celebrate Antioch Foundation, which has organized the annual Antioch July 4th Celebrations since 2013.

“We have a lot of citizens and business owners from all over the Antioch community on our committee,” Motts shared. “We’re asking people to donate to support the effort.”

For more information on the plans for the park and event center, as well as the initiative effort visit

Click here to read the ordinance. Final Initiative Ordinance

Following is the complete text of the Notice of Intent to Circulate, prior to submission to the City Clerk:

Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition

Pursuant to Elections Code Section 9202

 Notice is hereby given by the person whose name appears hereon of their intention to circulate the petition within the City of Antioch for the purpose of giving the voters a chance to adopt the attached ordinance to designate the Old Beede Lumberyard Site as a Town Square. A statement of the reasons for the proposed action contemplated in the petition is as follows:

The City of Antioch has embarked on an effort to revitalize its original core downtown-known as Rivertown-through a Rivertown Specific Plan. Prior to this, in a separate action that did not include public input, the city designated several city owned parcels within Rivertown for sale to a developer through an RFP or Request for Proposals process as a way to bring more residents, foot traffic and business to the area. The largest of these parcels is the Old Beede Lumberyard.

This site sits within one block of the founding place of Antioch, is the  focal point entering historic  Rivertown from A Street and Southeast Antioch, and provides unparalleled panoramic views of the Delta. Because of its historic location and proximity to Rivertown businesses, we believe its highest and best use to be as an event center, town square, and multi-use park that will fulfill Antioch’s General Plan request for development of such a venue.

By adopting this ordinance, the City of Antioch will forever provide its citizens with a link to its history, a connection to its Delta environment, the people needed to revitalize Rivertown’s economy, and an unsurpassed location for gathering and celebrations.

NOTE: The proposed ordinance is attached and the $200 refundable fee enclosed as required by Elections Code Section 9202.

Dated:__________                ____________________

                                                          Initiative Proponent

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