Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Former Antioch Youth of the Year pulls papers to run for school board in Area 1 to challenge Gibson-Gray

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

Mystery solved about first candidate to complete filing process for Mayor of Antioch 

By Allen Payton

Antonio Hernandez. From his LinkedIn profile.

The latest report from the Contra Costa Elections office, as of Wednesday afternoon, July 22, 2020, shows Antonio Hernandez is the first candidate to take out nomination papers to run for the Antioch School Board in Area 1. He will be challenging current Board President Diane Gibson-Gray, who is expected to seek her fourth term on the board. Hernandez is only the second candidate in the three new district races for school board, as Crystal Sawyer-White pulled papers, last week to run in Area 3 for a second term on the board.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Hernandez has worked for UCSF at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center in Pediatrics, first as an Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator beginning in July 2016, then as a Quality Improvement Coordinator since May 2017.

In addition, since September 2017 Hernandez has also worked as a Leadership Specialist with TeamTRI, an organizational and leadership development company. However, their website lists him as a Coaching Fellow.

He’s a 2016 graduate of Stanford University with a degree in Economics, Healthcare Economics. Hernandez is a 2012 graduate of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School and was the 2011 Antioch Youth of the Year. (See related article)

City Races

According to Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen, as of 5 p.m. July 22nd the following Antioch residents have qualified for the following City offices:

Rakeshkumar Christian. From AmericanPublicParty.com 2009.

Mayor

Rakesh Kumar Christian – Qualified on 7/22/20

So far, the only information that can be found on him is that he was a candidate for governor of California in 2014, and that he has a website from 2009 for a new political  party he wanted to create, named the American Public Party, and lists himself as the CEO, Owner.

7/23/20 UPDATE: Mystery solved. When reached briefly for a comment on Thursday afternoon, he said his name is Rakesh Kumar Christian and that he is the man who ran for governor in 2014 and that is his website. He had a spinal injury in 2016 which is why he didn’t run in 2018. Christian said he will call back, later and was requested to email his bio or resume to the Herald for more information on his background. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

There were no additional candidates to either take out Nomination Papers or file them for city offices of mayor, council, clerk or treasurer, as of Wednesday afternoon.

This list will be updated when additional registered Antioch voters take out or file Nomination Papers.

 

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And then there were seven: another candidate, business owner pulls papers to run for Mayor of Antioch

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020

Posted by Gabriel V. Makinano Sr. on Tuesday, July 21, 2020

By Allen Payton

Gabriel Makinano. From his Facebook page posted on 5/15/18.

On Tuesday, July 21, 2020, the race for Mayor of Antioch got a little more crowded as business owner Gabriel Makinano took out nomination papers to run for the city’s top leadership spot. He owns Kingdom Paint & Renovations, offering painting, home renovations, fencing and pressure washing. According to his LinkedIn profile, Makinano is also owner of Kingdom Dent, a paintless vehicle dent repair business in Brentwood. However, when reached for comment, he said his full time job is working for HealthRIGHT360 Contra Costa Re-entry Network, helping county residents returning home from state prison and county jail.

With papers in hand, Makinano posted a video on his Facebook page which can be seen above and offers the main reason he is running, which is change, and a bit about his community service in Antioch.

“I believe we need change in our city and if I can be part of that change, it would be amazing,” he said. “I’ve been part of change, especially here in the city of Antioch and I want to continue to further this change…maybe be on the inside…helping the change…and have a voice in my community and listen to the people and what the people want and what they feel like is change and go from there. All I know is I need your prayers to get through all this.”

According to City Clerk Arne Simonsen, the following Antioch residents have taken out Nomination Papers as of 5 p.m. July 21st for the following City offices:

Mayor

Sean Wright (I) – Mayor of Antioch

Julio Mendez

Rakesh Kumar Christian – 2014 candidate for Governor of California

Kenneth Turnage II – former Chairman, Antioch Planning Commission

Monica Wilson – Antioch Councilwoman

Wade Harper – former Mayor of Antioch

Gabriel Makinano

There were no other candidates who took out or filed their nomination papers in the other races for city offices of council, clerk and treasurer or for the Antioch School Board, today.

This list will be updated when additional registered Antioch voters take out Nomination Papers. Filing closes on August 7th unless an incumbent chooses not to run. Then the nomination period is extended five more days. However, the only incumbents are Mayor Wright, City Clerk Simonsen and City Treasurer Jim Davis because all the other races are in newly created districts and all candidates for city council or school board will be running in them for the first time, ever.

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Two more pull papers to run in Antioch City Council District 1 race to take on Motts

Monday, July 20th, 2020

Tamisha Walker. Photo from Richmond Safe Return Project.

By Allen Payton

According to today’s report by Antioch City Clerk, Arne Simonsen, two more people have pulled papers to become candidates in the District 1 City Council race to challenge incumbent Joy Motts, the city’s current Mayor Pro Tem.

One of the two are Tamisha Walker, the executive director for the Richmond Safe Return Project, “a campaign to secure the freedom and liberation of formerly incarcerated individuals,” and a Richmond-based community organizer, according to the organization’s website. She’s listed as their Lead Mass Incarceration Organizer, and President and Director of Operations on her LinkedIn profile. The other person who pulled papers is La Donna Norman, but no information about her could be found from internet searches, which includes a general search, as well as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Information was also not found about Fernando Navarette who pulled papers, last week to run in District 1, nor for Julio Mendez who pulled papers last week to run for mayor.

In addition, former Antioch Mayor Wade Harper announced in a video, earlier today that he will run for mayor, becoming the sixth candidate to take out papers to do so. (See related article)

The following Antioch residents have taken out Nomination Papers as of 5 p.m. July 20th for the following City offices:

Mayor

Sean Wright (I) – Mayor of Antioch

Julio Mendez

Rakesh Kumar Christian – 2014 candidate for Governor of California

Kenneth Turnage II – former Antioch Planning Commission Chairman

Monica Wilson – Antioch Councilwoman

Wade Harper – former Mayor of Antioch

Council District 1

Joyann Motts – current Antioch Mayor Pro Tem

Manuel Soliz – former Antioch Mayor Pro Tem and Councilman (1996-2000), current Planning Commissioner

Fernando Navarrete

La Donna Norman

Tamisha Walker – Executive Director, Richmond Safe Return Project

No other candidates pulled or filed papers to run in any of the other city races on Monday or for Antioch School Board, either. This list will be updated when additional registered Antioch voters take out Nomination Papers. Filing continues until August 7th. (I) = incumbent.

Editor’s note to potential candidates: If you’re going to run for public office, you should let the public and local media know who you are, what you do for a living and other information about your background, using a Facebook or LinkedIn page, or a website, and how they can get in touch with you via phone or email. Even better would be to email a recent photo, your bio, and campaign announcement with your contact information to the local media. Our email address is editor@antiochherald.com. Thank you.

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More local political excitement as former Antioch Mayor Harper pulls papers in comeback attempt

Monday, July 20th, 2020

Wade Harper announces campaign for Mayor of Antioch on July 20, 2020. Video screenshot of Facebook Live that has since been removed.

By Allen Payton

Today, Monday, July 20, 2020 former Antioch Mayor Wade Harper took out Nomination Papers to run for mayor, according to a video posted on Facebook. In the video he says “I think I did a great job as mayor” and that he will make an official announcement later.

Harper was elected mayor in 2012 but lost for re-election to current Mayor Sean Wright by just 64 votes in a three-way race in 2016 that included Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock. If all candidates who have taken open papers file, Harper and Wright will also face Antioch Councilwoman Monica Wilson and two others who are new to the Antioch political scene.

Harper started his time in public office by being appointed to the Antioch School Board in January 2009, to fill the vacancy left by the death of longtime board member Joyce Seelinger. Instead of running for election to that seat in 2010  he ran for Antioch City Council, placing first ahead of the late Gary Agopian, and earning the title of Mayor Pro Tem.

He then chose to run for mayor in 2012, beating fellow Councilman Agopian and former Antioch Mayor Don Freitas.

An effort launched in January 2015 to recall Harper was unsuccessful because the supporters did not gather enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Harper then ran for County Supervisor in District 3, also against Wilson, in June 2016. He placed fourth out of six candidates in that race, which resulted in the election of Diane Burgis that November.

A former Tracy Police Lieutenant, Harper is an ordained minister,  published author of the book entitled “Annointed for Leadership” according to one of his Facebook pages, and married to Lisa Harper. His Antioch Mayor Facebook page from Harper’s term is up and can still be viewed.

According to Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen, more candidates for city offices are expected to pull nomination papers, today and he will provide another, daily update after city offices close at 5:00 p.m.

 

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Former Antioch Mayor Pro Tem, current Planning Commissioner Soliz announces his campaign for city council

Monday, July 20th, 2020

MannySoliz4Antioch Why I’m running for Antioch City Council – District1.

Check out why I'm running for Antioch City Council District1.

Posted by MannySoliz4Antioch on Sunday, July 19, 2020

By Allen Payton

   After taking out Nomination Papers last week to file to run for the Antioch City Council in District 1, former Antioch Mayor Pro Tem, Councilman and current Planning Commissioner, Manny Soliz, Jr. posted a video on his campaign Facebook page,  Sunday afternoon, officially announcing his campaign to challenge incumbent Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts in the November election.

   He offers four reasons for running for council, again. “Number one, I want a safe and attractive Antioch. Number two, I want a strong and vibrant, local economy. Number three, I want a realistic and real-world approach to dealing with the unhoused.  And number four, I want realistic and well-thought out policies by our Antioch City Council…that will help Antioch and will benefit Antioch for generations to come.”

   Soliz was first appointed to the Antioch City Council in January 1996 to replace Ralph Hernandez who resigned from the council. Soliz was then elected to his seat in 1996 and as the top vote-getter earned the title of Mayor Pro Tem for the following two years. He served until 2000 but chose to not run for re-election.

   The former chairman of the Antioch Parks and Recreation Commission, Soliz ran again for city council in 2004, but was unsuccessful, placing fourth out of six candidates, behind incumbents Brian Kalinowski and Arne Simonsen who both won, and the late Reggie Moore.

   Soliz ran for city council, once more in 2006, placing a close third for two seats, just 126 votes behind Moore, and first place finisher Jim Davis.

   He has a degree in Economics from Stanford University, is a co-founder of the Delta Blues Festival, works as a financial advisor and insurance agent, and is married to Mary Soliz.

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Two more candidates enter Antioch Council race to take on Ogorchock, Thorpe

Friday, July 17th, 2020

Wayne Steffen from WSUFH.org and Antwon Webster, courtesy of Antwon Webster.

Sawyer-White to run for re-election to the Antioch School Board; Tiscareno posts announcement video.

By Allen Payton

Two more candidates have taken out Nomination Papers to run in City Council District 3 to challenge incumbents Lori Ogorchock and Lamar Thorpe. The candidates are current Antioch Board of Administrative Appeals Member Antwon Webster and former Antioch Parks & Recreation Commission Member Wayne Steffen, who was also 2008 Antioch Citizen of the Year.

In addition, City Treasurer Jim Davis pulled papers on Thursday and on Friday, City Clerk Arne Simonsen took out papers to run for re-election, as well.

According to Simonsen, the following Antioch residents have taken out Nomination Papers as of 5 p.m. July 17th for the following City offices:

Council District 3

Lori Ogorchock – Antioch Council Member

Lamar Thorpe – Antioch Council Member

Wayne Steffen – former Antioch Parks & Recreation Commission Member

Antwon Webster – Antioch Board of Administrative Appeals Member

City Clerk

Arne Simonsen (I)

This list will be updated when additional registered Antioch voters take out Nomination Papers. There were no additional candidates for any of the other city races as of Friday afternoon.

Former Antioch Councilman Tony Tiscareno who pulled nomination papers on Monday to run in District 2 posted an announcement video that same day.

Tony Tiscareno for Antioch City Council District 2

I’m excited to kick off my campaign for Antioch City Council District 2

Posted by Tony Tiscareno for City Council on Monday, July 13, 2020

Candidates have until August 7 to submit their completed nomination papers, the $25 filing fee and if they want to include a candidate’s statement in the Voter Pamphlet the cost is as follows: $1,092.40 for the offices of Mayor, Treasurer or Clerk, $339.00 for candidates in District 1, $377.60 for District 2, $426.60 for District 3 and $399.60 for District 4. Filing must be done at the Antioch City Clerk’s office.

Antioch School Board

In the race for the Antioch School Board of Trustees, in which Areas 1, 3 and 4 are up for election in November, so far, only incumbent Crystal Sawyer-White has taken out nomination papers, as of Friday afternoon. She will be running for re-election in District 4.

Candidates have until August 7 to file to run for Antioch School Board, as well. Filing must be done at the County Elections Office in Martinez. For more information, click here.

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More political intrigue in Antioch as councilwoman jumps into mayor’s race

Thursday, July 16th, 2020

Antioch Councilwoman Monica Wilson, Mayor Sean Wright and former Planning Commission Chair Ken Turnage II. Photos from Facebook.

By Allen Payton

In a surprise move on Thursday, July 16, instead of running for reelection for a third term, Antioch City Councilwoman Monica Wilson pulled nomination papers to run for Mayor of Antioch against incumbent Dr. Sean Wright who is seeking his second term at the city’s helm. Assuming he and the other three candidates complete the filing process, Wilson will also face former Planning Commission Chair Ken Turnage II, Antioch’s 2015 Citizen of the Year for Most Impact. She led the effort to remove him from the commission in April over controversial comments Turnage made on Facebook about COVID-19 and the shelter in place order. (See related articles here and here).

This is Wilson’s second run for higher office, since she was first elected to the city council in 2012. She ran for District 3 County Supervisor in 2016 placing a distance fifth out of six candidates in the June Primary.

Wilson won reelection to her city council seat in November 2016 placing second behind Councilman Lamar Thorpe. Turnage placed fourth in that race behind current Antioch School Board Trustee and former Antioch Mayor Mary Rocha who placed third.

Had she run for reelection, Wilson would have faced Antioch Police Crime Prevention Commission Chairman Sandra White, who announced her candidacy last month and has been an outspoken critic of the councilwoman, as well as another candidate named Alex Astorga.

According to a report by City Clerk Arne Simonsen, “The following Antioch residents have taken out Nomination Papers as of 5 p.m. July 16th for the following City offices: (I) – Incumbent:

Mayor

Sean Wright (I) – Mayor of Antioch

Julio Mendez

Rakesh Kumar Christian – 2014 candidate for Governor of California

Kenneth Turnage II – former Antioch Planning Commission Chair

Monica Wilson – Antioch City Councilwoman

City Treasurer

James Davis (I)

City Clerk

This list will be updated when additional registered Antioch voters take out Nomination Papers.”

There were no changes to the four races for city council. Filing is open until August 7 when Nomination Papers and are due at the Antioch City Clerk’s Office.

 

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Contra Costa Supervisors move forward half-cent sales tax increase for November ballot, extend rental eviction moratorium

Thursday, July 16th, 2020

Andersen only one to vote against tax increase measure; support Martizians for Black Lives and mural; approve Grand Jury report on wildfire preparedness; finalize recruitment process for new County Administrator

By Daniel Borsuk

Just as Contra Costa County’s top public health official Anna Roth informed the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors  on Tuesday the number of COVID-19 positive cases has risen to 2,586 cases, an increase from 92 cases three weeks earlier, and with 79  COVID -19 stricken patients in county hospitals, up from 35 patients in county hospital six weeks previously, Supervisors reacted swiftly by extending a county-wide ordinance prohibiting rental evictions and rental increases until September 30.

Supervisors received overwhelming telephone citizen support to extend the ordinance’s benefits to renters and small businessowners two and half months during Tuesday’s teleconference meeting.  The ordinance that had protected tenants from evictions and rent increases would have expired on Wednesday, July 15.

The new ordinance won unanimous support from supervisors.

“The emergency is not over with the COVID 19 pandemic.  The economic impact our residents face has not subsided, said Board Chair Candace Andersen in a statement.  “We sincerely hope passage of this new ordinance to extend the eviction protection of rent freeze will continue to protect renters and small businesses even as landlords and renters work together to have tenants pay what they can over a longer period of time.

The ordinance contains a no-fault provision that landlords cannot increase the rent on a residential property until Sept. 30, Andersen said in her statement. It applies to all 19 cities in the county as well as all unincorporated areas.

Support Placing Half-Cent Sales Tax Increase on Ballot on Split Vote

The Supervisors, on a 4-1 vote, also flashed the green light to allow county officials to proceed in drafting a county-wide ballot measure possibly for the November election for a half-cent sales tax increase to support county services.

Supervisors reviewed findings from a poll that cost $10,000 and conducted by FM3 Research that found  among 666 persons who were polled, “To keep Contra Costa’s regional hospital open and staff; fund community health centers; provide timely fire and emergency response; support crucial safety-net services; invest in early childhood services; protect vulnerable populations; and for other essential county services, shall the Contra Costa County measure levying a half-cent sales tax, exempting food sales, providing an estimated $81,000,000 annually that the State cannot take, requiring fiscal accountability, with funds benefitting County residents, be adopted?”

The FM3 Research poll found that 62 percent of the respondents would possibly support a tax measure, 31 percent oppose, and 7 percent had no response.

Board Chair Candace Andersen, who represents District 2, cast the lone no vote against the sales tax proposal saying she had “serious concerns” about the measure.  The supervisor from Danville said “it would add further tax burdens to families now stressed by the economic impacts of the  COVID 19 pandemic restrictions.”

“A sales tax is the most regressive form of taxation for those who can least afford it. I think the timing is really, really off,” she added.

But District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, who has constantly defended the need for a countywide sales tax to support county services, said, “The need is more apparent now that county services are underfunded and need additional tax support.”

 

The tax increase would require support of a 50% plus one simple majority of voters to pass. The Supervisors have until August 7 to place the measure on the November ballot. According to the Contra Costa County Elections website, supporters and opponents would have until August 19 to file Arguments in Favor or Against and until August 24 to file rebuttals.

Support Martizians for Black Lives & Mural

Supervisors approved, without opposition, a resolution “supporting Martizians for Black Lives in their legal public commentary through their ‘Blacks Lives Matter’ mural, and strongly condemns those who illegally deface this mural as a racist and illegal act.”  The resolution is in reference to the Black Lives Matter mural that was painted and temporarily defaced in front of the Martinez court house with black paint by a woman and assisted by a man, who said they were defacing the mural with comments such as “Racism is a lie,” “There is no racism,” “This is not happening in my town, “ “No one wants Black Lives Matter,” and “All lives matter.”

Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton stated, “The mural completed last weekend was a peaceful and powerful way to communicate the importance of Black lives in Contra Costa County and the country.  We must continue to elevate discussions and actually listen to one another in an effort to heal our community and country.”

Grand Jury Report on Wildfire Preparedness

A Grand Jury Report, “Wildfire Preparedness in Contra Costa County,” was approved as a consent item, but among the panel’s recommendations were:

“The Board of Directors of Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, Rodeo-Hercules Fire Protection District, and San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District should consider directing their Fire Chief to update wildfire evacuation plans and incorporate pre-determined polygons and advanced routing technology, by June 30, 2021.”

The Grand Jury Report also states directors of the five county fire districts “should consider identifying funds to adopt or expand the use of new technologies, such as ground sensors, drones, satellites, and fire spotting cameras, to help detect fires in high-risk areas by June 30, 2021.”

Additionally, the report recommends that directors of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, Moraga-Orinda Fire Protection District and Rodeo-Hercules Fire Protection District should review and consider an ordinance similar to the one the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District passed that would enable their fire district to recover labor and equipment costs from PG&E for overseeing electrical utility work that presents a high fire risk by June 30, 2021. “

In other action, supervisors approved the sale of two parcels of county owned land at 1750 Oak Park Blvd. and 75 Santa Barbara Road, that is the site of the former Pleasant Hill Library, for $13.8 million to developer Davidon Homes. The site is part of a proposed development calling for the construction of a new City-owned library, 34 single-family homes, and open space.  No one spoke either in opposition or in favor of the sale.

Finalize Recruitment Process for New County Administrator

Supervisors also authorized recruitment consultant Peckham & McKenney, a Sacramento firm that supervisors had hired to recruit a new County Administrator to replace David Twa, who will retire at the end of this year to begin the recruitment process.  The supervisors had approved a $30,500 contract last month with Peckham & McKenney.

The successful candidate could earn an annual salary of as much as $381,000.

The recruiter has proposed a schedule that includes resume deadline of Sept. 22, preliminary interview running from Sept. 23 through Oct. 9, Recommendations of Candidates on Oct. 13, Interview – First Round the week of Oct. 26 and Second Round the week of Nov. 2.

The recruiters work is slated to be completed with the successful replacement of a new county administrator before Jan. 31, 2021, the end of the contract with Peckham & McKenney.

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