Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Letter writer explains why she supports Sandoval for community college board

Friday, October 28th, 2016


We need to do a better job in creating career pathways for our students.

In 2014 our county taxpayers narrowly passed Measure E authorizing the district to increase its debt by $450 million through issuing general obligation bonds in that amount. This money was designed to be used to work towards the expansion and modernization of school facilities urged by the district’s Master Plan. Specifically, the proposed bond money was earmarked for increasing facility access to those with disabilities, improving campus grounds and updating classroom and lab technology.

The new 17-acre Brentwood Center as an extension of Los Medanos College (LMC) will add more capacity to the Contra Costa County Community College District and is planned to open in 2020. Enrollment trends and the use of on-line facilities indicate that having a smaller center is the best use of tax dollars. A feasibility study was conducted which looked at alternative sites and size of the future center.

However, new buildings alone will not prepare out existing and future students.

AB288  which was passed by the legislature late in 2015 and signed into law by the Governor  established the College and Career Access Pathway partnership and expanded student eligibility and offers high school students the opportunity for concurrent enrollment for college courses.

However, many core issues still need to be addressed.

It takes on average a little over seven years for students to graduate/complete community college due to a variety of reasons which impacts their ability to transfer to a 4 year institution in a timely fashion or have marketable skills in the local community for earning a decent wage. Students cannot get the courses they need at LMC in some cases. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is the future however LMC students need to take required classes at Diablo Valle College (DVC) for the transfer requirement. There are not enough internships for all students who need them available.

The local labor force in Contra Costa County has an approximate  28% non-participation rate for those aged 18-28. This severely impacts those students who attend community college as a means to a better life with decent wages and indirectly the community in which they live.

Greg Enholm, the current incumbent governing board trustee for our community voted to approve the Bond for the construction of the new 17 acre Brentwood center; however, he continues to advocate for a 110 acre campus which would increase taxes on working families.

Mr Enholm pits Antioch, Oakley and Brentwood against each other for the new Super-campus. He has also advised some citizens to seek legal action to block the building of the Brentwood center. He indicated that the reason he won his first election was in part because he advocated for the building of the larger campus to those cities. He continues to promote the larger campus, knowing that the State College Board only approved the smaller 17 acre campus, just to get obtain votes.

Fernando Sandoval has a much broader focus than just administratively advocating Governing Board policies. He has listened to the community and understands that we need to do more to help our students. His background in business, finance, technology and education can provide new insights for preparing the students of today and the future. His expertise in consulting and successfully driving change will be a positive for the community.  As a Vietnam Veteran he has been at the forefront of ensuring that what needs to be done, gets done.

Fernando understands that the students need to engaged with the faculty and is promoting inclusion and diversity as an enabler for new ideas and improved graduation rates.

Fernando has talked to many community business leaders and understands that new skills need to be in place in order for students to have the opportunity for local jobs quickly.

Fernando is an advocate for the inclusion of Innovative and Emerging Technologies for the jobs of tomorrow today. He will be working with information technology recruiters and major technology companies to look to the East Bay sourcing future jobs. Many of these jobs can be done here.

Fernando understands that having a diverse and well educated work force can be a catalyst for driving well paying jobs locally and improve the value of community assets.

Fernando is bilingual with English being his second language. This will allow him to connect more easily with the growing Hispanic community to hear their concerns and promote education as a priority.

Fernando has a wide base supporters include John Marquez; existing Board member, Enrique Palacios; Pittsburg USD Deputy Superintendent of Schools, Mary Rocha; Antioch City Council, Kevin Romick, Mayor of Oakley.

Fernando is a fiscal conservative and serves on the Contra Costa County Taxpayers Association, and is member of the Pittsburg USD Citizens Bond Oversight Committee

Valerie Lopez


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Writer concerned about Mayoral candidate’s lack of answer to Urban Limit Line question

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Dear Editor:

Sometimes a candidate for office stands out simply because he or she is outstanding; other times, deciding who to vote for becomes a process of elimination. And I’ve often found the choice can involve a combination of the above. To learn more about the candidates for Antioch Mayor and City Council this year, I attended the “Conservation & Community Forum” on September 28.

The panel included seven contenders: Sean Wright, Gil Murillo, and Lori Ogorchock for Mayor; and Mary Rocha, Fred Rouse, Lamar Thorpe, and Ken Turnage for City Council. Mary Rocha and Lori Ogorchock are incumbents, and the other five are challengers. In addition to being a current City Council member, Lori is also the Mayor Pro Tem and a realtor by profession.

One of the main issues in Antioch involves development, and relevant to that, the forum moderator posed the following question: “Do you feel the Urban Limit Line should be expanded, stay the same, or be reduced?” [To provide some background, the Urban Limit Line (which has expanded and contracted a few times over the past 16 years following various County and City measures), is essentially a growth boundary to control unfettered development and retain some open space in Contra Costa County.]

I was very interested in finding out how the candidates would respond to this question, and was pleased upon learning that most of them would not support expanding the Urban Limit Line. However, in hearing Lori Ogorchock’s response to the question, my reaction turned to one of shock as she stood in silence not understanding the term Urban Limit Line. She closed by saying “I won’t be able to answer that question.”

How could someone who is (a) a sitting member of the City Council, (b) the Mayor Pro Tem, and (c) a real estate professional be so ill-informed about a topic that specifically involves land use (including real property development), City and County planning, and local quality of life? All of the other panelists – most of whom are non-incumbents – exhibited in-depth knowledge and understanding of the Urban Limit Line, the ramifications of expansion, and the role of developers in the scheme of things, and were able to answer the question thoughtfully. So it was doubly surprising that Lori had no idea what it was all about.

Needless to say, based on my experience at the forum, I can definitely eliminate Lori Ogorchock as a candidate. As for who stands out in the mayoral race? That would be Dr. Sean Wright, who brings fresh ideas, positive energy, and long-range vision, and who, I have no doubt, would make an excellent Mayor. Sean has earned my vote.

Bo Dash


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Council candidate’s wife shares her comments made at recent council meeting

Thursday, October 27th, 2016


Good Evening Mayor Harper, City Council, Chief Cantando and associates.

My name is Tina Chavez – Rouse. I have been a citizen of Antioch for 20 years. My father worked as a prison guard for the state penitentiary of New Mexico and was a traffic cop. My mother worked for the City of Santa Clara on W. Hedding St. as a social worker for juvenile delinquents. To clarify, yes, I am the wife of Fred Rouse.

I have sat back for many years/months now, that I find myself having to speak up. The nice Leo in me is now going to roar.

I wish I had the liberty to discuss the issues I am presenting to you in better length – but you have your “three-minute rule”. May I suggest five minutes for those individuals that need additional time to get their message out there. Some comments may be three minutes, while others may take five minutes. Suggestion: You could even incorporate this into your speaker document giving the citizen the choice (3 minutes or 5 minutes) to circle the time needed to convey their comments.

First up, is candidates currently running for office or re-election. It is very upsetting to me that all candidates are not playing fair game. Many of you are in fact making promises you can’t or won’t be able to keep. That is apparent by the actions you have shown to this city. Many of you are unscrupulous and take or make back door deals. These are not fair deals and in a sense are lies to the citizens. I personally, better respect one’s character when they can be 100% honest.

You must show your “true colors” and show compassion of what you can realistically do for the city you are representing. Showing candor, honesty, respect, proven accomplishments and going beyond the scope of your jobs. Sorry to say, but I have not seen that in these past four years. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Tell people what you plan to do and what you plan to accomplish – but don’t make empty promises.

I am truly surprised many of you haven’t learned this quality throughout your years of experience. Listen to the people. If you make a mistake, admit it. Don’t make excuses. You will have more respect of the citizens if you take accountability and responsibility for your actions. Honesty is the best policy. Even though the truth hurts or is good, always tell the truth – otherwise there are ramifications that you will have to answer to, later. Be wise about your actions. Be real.

Note: there are secrets that are known about some of you, but have not leaked out. Having this knowledge tells me who to vote for.

Boycotting is not the way to show your support of the city. That is your personal way of hurting yourself of being re-elected. It is a good way to ruin your chances of re-election. It is basically sticking your foot in your mouth and stifling yourself. Be courageous, after all, wasn’t that your initial plan?

Collections of past due monies to the City: I am really surprised the City Manager hasn’t enforced this problem. While I have an accounting background of all areas, as well as logistics, office management, project management, etc, I had to place Lien’s on properties for non-payment. Why hasn’t the city done this in an effort to collect their monies? Construction & other various companies have to use this tactic all the time. In fact, there are many other areas within the city that can cost next to nothing or use better managed processes to save thousands of dollars.

In addition, I am quite surprised that while being the second largest city within our county that the City Manager hasn’t fought or negotiated harder and smarter for our city. Just doesn’t logically make sense to me. My husband has handled millions and billions in both budgets and contractual agreements. He has always been ahead of schedule or on time, in fact his division was ranked in the 90 percentile against other companies throughout the valley.

Please note: Time slots for Public Comments are limited, therefore I was not able to publicly state my complete comments. What I have mentioned here, is a snippet of what I plan to speak about in a future meeting with Chief Cantando and his police staff.

Police force: Many tactics can be utilized to better manage our crime. Many of the laws here in Antioch and across the U.S. are not followed. I just don’t get it. Chief and Police Officers, I know you will understand this statement: “What better place to hide, than to hide in plain sight?” Those citizens that have unknown specialized backgrounds can help/consult in ways to assist in cracking down on these issues.

Lastly, city residents, please remember to vote. You currently have 14 days to vote. Your votes are very crucial to bring “change” to this city. Vote for whom you believe is honest, fair, committed, accountable and responsible. Vote for whom you believe is true. I say fake is a snake – personally, I hate snakes.

Thank you all for your time.

Tina Chavez – Rouse


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East County businesswoman writes to support Miller for Assembly

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Dear Editor:

I am a businesswoman here is East Contra Costa County. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to have more involvement again in how Sacramento hears us and works for our needs in our community.

Dave Miller is the man to be hands on with our community and give us that access to share our important issues and get things done.

To once again here our voices in Sacramento. I encourage your readers to join me in voting for Dave Miller for Assemblyman.

Mary Bevacqua


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Writer says Burkholder has unfit temperament for public office

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016


An ad hominen attack is the lowest form of argument. So it doesn’t reflect well on someone running for office that he insults people who dare to disagree with him. Unfortunately, that’s the case with Mike Burkholder, who is running for a seat on the Antioch School Board.

A few days ago I posted on the Oakley Politics Facebook site my concern about the Oakley fire tax that too much of it would go to retirement expenses instead of providing fire protection. Burkholder responded, “Back to lying about fire service to cause voter confusion yet again.”

First, that’s a violation of the site’s civility policy which specifies that posters “be civil, no profanity, no bullying.” Secondly and more importantly, it tells voters in the Antioch School District something about how Burkholder might conduct himself in office. Namely, that if you dare disagree with him, he might publicly insult you, which is a form of bullying intended to silence you.

This is not the first time he’s trashed me — he did it often when I opposed the previous East Contra Costa fire tax hikes. And I’m not his only victim. He’s insulted journalists at the East Bay Times and Antioch Herald and at least one member of the Oakley City Council.

The description for the Oakley Politics site states that it is “a way for local candidates to meet and interact with Oakley, California voters.” Voters should be concerned that Burkholder chooses to interact with them by publicly hurling insults, disparaging their character and attempting to bully them into silence if he disagrees with them.

This is especially ironic given that Burkholder at an AUSD candidates forum said this in response to a board member pointing out the district’s dismal academic performance: “That kind of language is so negative, that is not my style. Our job is to promote the district, talk good about the district and find ways to engage the community in a positive light.”

Dave Roberts


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Widow of late councilman writes to support Wright for Mayor

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Dear Editor:

My husband, Gary Agopian, proudly served on the Antioch City Council until he passed away in 2014 after a long battle with brain cancer. I don’t usually get involved in politics, as that was always Gary’s passion. But this election is different. The decision we make on November 8th to elect a new mayor for Antioch will define the future of our city for years to come.

I am writing you to ask you to join me in voting for Dr. Sean Wright for Mayor.

Sean Wright has three qualities I strongly value in a leader, and I know my late husband, Gary, would have agreed with me: character to do the right thing; a desire to be transparent with citizens on all decisions made; and the courage to stand up and make the tough decisions that will move Antioch forward in a positive fashion.

Antioch is short on the kind of leadership our community needs to turn our city around. Sean Wright will be a mayor we can count on – he will stand up on the important issues that matter. Thank you for reading this letter.

Robin Agopian

Antioch resident and local teacher

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Former Assemblywoman writes in support of Gibson-Gray, Motts for School Board

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Dear Editor:

Public education is my passion.  I’ve had the privilege of serving on a local school board and as chair of the State Assembly Education Committee.  I’ve worked with leaders from throughout the state and visited schools in many districts.  I’m honored to support Diane Gibson-Gray and Joy Motts for Antioch School Board.  I believe they have the knowledge, skill, and leadership qualities to continue to move Antioch schools forward.

They are two active women with deep roots in the community, having lived in Antioch for many years and graduated from Antioch High School, as did their children.  Joy’s daughter is now a well-respected teacher at Antioch High School.  Both care deeply about our children and understand the profound impact a quality education has on their lives.

Diane and Joy also understand the need to work with the entire education family – students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community leaders – to build strong schools.  They know that the focus has to be the students in the classrooms and programs that support learning.  They know that the quality of life and economic growth of the city also depends on the success of our schools.

Antioch schools, despite challenges, are moving forward in the right direction.  Antioch High is the first comprehensive high school with wall to wall academies. I have witnessed the success of its academies and talked to many very articulate, engaged high school students.  These students are very impressive, as impressive as any I’ve seen throughout the state.  I also witnessed the in-house program started by the principal to ensure all students complete their college applications and financial reporting requirements, eliminating a significant barrier to admission for many students. Dozier Libbey Medical High School was AUSD’s first full-site academy. Deer Valley High School now has four academy choices.

Progress does not happen by accident.  It happens through strong leadership.  It happens with leaders like Diane Gibson-Gray and Joy Motts.  I urge you to vote for Diane and Joy on November 8th.

Joan Buchanan


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Harper gets help from iron workers union for re-election campaign

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

He campaigns with a little help from his friends

By Allen Payton

Antioch Mayor Wade Harper reported two large, late contributions of $1,000 each from the iron workers union for his re-election campaign, over the weekend. On Friday, October 21st, the District Council of Iron Workers Political Action League contributed $1,000 to his campaign. That same day Harper also received $1,000 from the Iron Workers Union Local 378, according to the form 497 campaign finance reports he filed with City Clerk Arne Simonson’s office.

Contributions of $1,000 or more received by a campaign must be reported within 24 hours during the 90-day period before an election. That started on August 10th, this year. Campaigns must use a form 497 to report the contributions. Please see Harper’s latest 497 forms, below.

The latest reporting period for all contributions and expenses, with specifics for those of $100 or more ended on Saturday, October 22nd and reports are due on Thursday, October 27th. The election is Tuesday, November 8th.



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