Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Payton Perspective: Re-elect Joel Keller to BART Board

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

Joel Keller at Antioch BART Station opening 5-25-18. Photo by Allen Payton

By Allen Payton, Publisher

Usually, I don’t recommend elected officials serving in the same office for 24 years, such as Joel Keller, who was elected to the BART Board on the same night in November 1994 that I was elected to the Antioch City Council. That’s because elected representatives tend to become complacent or arrogant in office and stop listening to their constituents, and end up doing the bidding of the powerful, special interests who support them and contribute to their re-election campaigns.

However, Joel is different. Having served on the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and three of the four transportation boards in East County, including as Chairman of the Bypass Authority in 1998 when we purchased the right-of-way for the State Route 4 extension (aka The Bypass) from Lone Tree Way to Balfour Road, I’ve learned the difficult lesson that infrastructure projects can take a long time. Too much time for most all of our liking. But, that’s another issue. My point is, it’s taken that time for Joel to get BART extended to Antioch.

Although it’s not full or “real” BART, as we Antioch residents would have preferred, the bottom line is Joel was able to wade through the funding limitations from BART and the federal government, as well as the opposition by other regions in the BART District and directors who represent those regions and make his promise and commitment a reality. Antioch has a BART station. During his next four years, if re-elected, I believe Joel will be able to help deliver further extensions in East County, first to Laurel Road – which will benefit Antioch’s economic development area for job creation and serve the residents of Oakley – then to Brentwood near Sand Creek Road.

Joel has done what he said he would do, and he listens to his constituents. Most recently, Joel heard the complaints about safety on the BART system. In order to ensure the rest of the board members heard the complaints from the people in his district who can’t attend their normal day time meetings in Oakland, had the board hold a night time meeting in Pittsburg. Then, due to the overwhelming response by riders to the opening of the Antioch BART Station, Joel heard the outcry for more parking spaces, and he delivered by getting the other BART Board Members to join him in voting to fund 800 more spaces.

I believe Joel has earned one more term on the BART Board, which most likely will be his last, and recommend we re-elect him.

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Payton Perspective: If passed, no Measure W funds for pay raises until remaining additional police officers promised in Measure C are hired

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

Yes, I’m still hammering the city council about fulfilling the previous council’s commitment from Measure C of hiring 22 more police “immediately”. We’ve been told by the past and current Chiefs of Police they’ve been doing all they can to make it happen. Current Chief Tammany Brooks just told me this past Thursday that he has six recruits in the academy, right now. They won’t graduate until after the new year. But, that’s a big step toward fulfilling the 2013 commitment.

They’ve given us a net seven officers, with 97 currently on the force and crime is decreasing, which is great. But, there’s not enough in the budget to pay for the additional officers due to pay raises given to all city staff by the council on Election Night in November 2016.

So, if this Measure W passes, they need to make a new commitment to not give any pay raises until those 14 more officers are hired, because that’s not why people are voting for it. They want more police and other city services, as promised in this measure.

Then the council needs to authorize the hiring of another 15 out of Measures O (the business license for rental properties tax) and W funds to get us to 126 sworn officers. That is still less than the goal of 1.2 officers per thousand population, but it will go a long way to help reduce crime in our city.

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Writer blames Frazier for gas tax increase, supports Romero for Assembly

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

Dear Editor:

AB-1, Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (The Gas Tax Increase) was introduced by Assemblyman Jim Frazier (District 11).  His press release stated, “My commitment to passing a comprehensive funding plan that addresses California’s failing transportation system will not waiver.” He was right in identifying California’s system as failing, but how could he expect that more of the same failed treatment would help?

California is rated 46 comparing all states for pavement condition and congestion.  While Caltrans spends 4.7 times as much per mile as average of 49 other states, why did Mr. Frazier plan a tax increase?  If he had worked to decrease the ludicrous waste of Caltrans, no tax increase would be necessary.

The people knew better so the legislature panicked and developed Prop 69 to improve their image. If you believe that is a cure, I want to sell you my bridge in Brooklyn.  Be aware that it directs fuel tax not to only roads but to any form of public transportation.  It forces 50% to cities which is good because cities will spend it wisely, but where will the other 50% go?  Will bridges and broken pavement be improved? Taxpayer advocates have offered an alternative solution to fix our roads without a tax hike – the Road Repair Accountability Initiative.

Why didn’t Mr. Frazier’s Transportation Committee research the absurd waste of Caltrans?  If Caltrans is unable to become 400% more efficient, why not outsource road repairs or experiment with turnpikes? Some states outsource 50-85% of their work, California does 10%.  A contractor under competitive bidding will provide quality roads and control maintenance cost for fear of losing his contract.

Mr. Frazier is graded letter “F” by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers.  Is it not time to get a legislator who understands business principles.  Elect Lisa Romero. See www.electlisaromero.com.

Earl Heal

Vacaville

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Contra Costa secures voting on Election Day

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

By Paul Burgarino, Community Education and Engagement Specialist, Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder-Elections Department

Current law allows voters who are issued a Vote-By-Mail ballot to turn it in and vote at the polls on Election Day. Besides being a waste of taxpayer dollars, it has resulted in the possibility of a voter casting more than one ballot without immediate detection.

With many recent reports of voters across the state receiving multiple ballots, the Contra Costa Elections Division has reviewed and updated its processes at polling places to ensure election integrity and prevent double voting.

“We encourage all voters who have been sent a Vote-By-Mail ballot to vote and return that ballot either through the mail, using one of our 23 drop boxes, or at any polling place on Election Day,” said Joe Canciamilla, Contra Costa Clerk-Recorder-Registrar of Voters. “Requesting a second ballot on Election Day contributes to lines, delays, unnecessary costs as well as security concerns.”

Here how it works: Vote-By-Mail voters who show up at their home polling place to vote need to bring the ballot return envelope addressed to them as well as all six cards that comprise the ballot. Upon confirmation that the voter is in the right location and verification of the envelope and ballot cards, the voter signs a declaration and is offered a non-provisional ballot.

If a Vote-By-Mail voter is in the wrong location or cannot provide all of those items, the voter is issued a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot is the same as a “regular” ballot. The difference is that the Elections Division verifies that the voter has not already voted before the ballot is counted. In June 2018, 90 percent of the provisional ballots were counted after this review.

If a voter who previously requested to be mailed a ballot prefers to vote at the polls on Election Day in the future, we encourage them to cancel their permanent vote by mail status by calling our office or re-registering.

For more information, contact the Elections Division at 925-335-7800 or go to www.cocovote.us.

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Registration opportunity remains at early voting sites in Contra Costa County beginning today

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

Antioch, Richmond and Walnut Creek locations

The voter registration deadline has passed, but you can still register and vote in one transaction. Several convenient locations will be available leading up to and during Election Day for you to register to vote and cast your ballot.

Contra Costa Elections Division offers Conditional Voter Registration as a safety net for those who were unable to complete or update their voter registration before the deadline.

“We want to make sure that everybody who is eligible to register to vote has ample opportunity to cast their ballot,” said Joe Canciamilla, Contra Costa Registrar of Voters.

The Conditional Registration steps include going to an eligible county location, filling out a form that includes your name, address, date of birth and either the last four digits of your Social Security Number or your driver’s license number, and casting your ballot.

Conditionally voted ballots are processed once our office completes the verification of the voter registrations and confirms no ballot has already been voted.

This service will be available starting today at the Elections Office during normal business hours and on Election Day from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Conditional Voter Registration will also be available at the following Regional Early Voting locations on November 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th:

Regional Early Voting will be available from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm on the weekdays and 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Saturday, November 3rd. These locations are available to all Contra Costa voters looking to cast their ballot ahead of time and avoid the Election Day rush. Any Contra Costa voter can vote at any one of the Regional Early Voting locations.

For more information, call 925-335-7800.

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Payton Perspective: Lewis, Davis for Antioch School Board, Crowder for County School Board

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

The Herald recommends Dr. Clyde Lewis, Jr., Jim Davis and John Crowder for election.

If we ever want to make things better in Antioch and our county, now is the time to elect strong leaders in education and fiscally responsible leaders, as well. If we keep electing the same kind of people over and over, who are backed by the insiders and/or employees’ unions, we’re only going to get the same results. We need to vote for candidates who will represent the parents and taxpayers, and truly put the interests of the students, first. We have three candidates from Antioch running to represent Antioch who will do just that. Two for the Antioch School Board and one for the County School Board who stand out above the crowd.

Lewis

One candidate for the Antioch School Board in this year’s election stands out above all others, and that’s Dr. Clyde Lewis, Jr. Not only has he earned a master’s degree and doctorate in education, and has been a teacher, he works in education, as well. As a plus, his children attend Antioch public schools. So, he has a personal stake in ensuring they improve. Please vote for him.

Davis

Jim Davis has served Antioch as the mayor and councilmember, and is now serving as the interim, appointed City Treasurer. Having worked in banking his entire career, Jim understands finances. He recently worked for a contractor to the Antioch school district on an energy analysis program and was able to help them save over $2 million dollars. At a time the district is experiencing declining enrollment and the resultant decline in revenue, Antioch needs a fiscal watchdog on the school board. Jim Davis is that person. While there is no conflict of interest in him serving both on the board and as City Treasurer, and being retired, he has the time, it is my hope that if he’s elected to the school board, he won’t run for election as City Treasurer in 2020.

Crowder

I’ve known John Crowder for over 20 years, since he was my son’s chess coach in elementary school. I’ve witnessed his commitment to educating students in Antioch.

He’s run a successful private academy in Antioch, and the very successful after school, Math Intensive program for students in the Antioch School District, helping advance them several grades in a matter of months.

The district he’s running to represent includes parts of Antioch.

John is for school choice, unlike his opponent, incumbent Mike Maxwell who has voted against every charter school that’s come before the board. We need to replace him with John Crowder.

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Mayor Wright explains reasons for a yes vote on Measure W

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Dear Editor:

As a business owner and former CEO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce I came to the office of Mayor with a mindset to search through the budget and cut out the fat.  I found a city that runs with a very lean workforce and pays our non-police employees less than surrounding communities.  Any fat had already been trimmed during the recession to avoid bankruptcy.  I sat looking at a city with a revenue problem not a spending one.

To put this in perspective- Antioch has a population of 115,000 with an annual budget of $55 million compared to our neighboring city of Brentwood with a population of 65,000 and an annual budget of $59 million.  Brentwood pays more in property taxes than Antioch residents and they have more money to improve their city as a result.  As some of our residents have moved to Brentwood- they have chosen to tax themselves with a more expensive house and higher taxes.

Measure W gives us a choice to increase our financial ability to make our community safer, create more activities for our youth after school and to improve our quality of life.   A citizen’s oversight committee will help to hold future Council’s accountable and ensure that these vital resources are utilized appropriately.

We have an opportunity to come together to support a sales tax measure to raise the funds necessary to continue moving Antioch in the right direction and help us reach our full potential.  Please join me on November 6th in voting Yes on Measure W.

Sincerely,

Mayor Sean Wright– City of Antioch

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McClelland returns to Antioch Council race touting his opposition to Measure W

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Rodney McClelland in a photo on his Facebook page posted Aug. 24, 2018.

By Allen Payton

After withdrawing from the race for the Antioch City Council in September due to stated personal reasons, (see related article) late Monday night, Antioch Parks and Recreation Commissioner Rodney McClelland announced that he has re-entered the race with the following statement via email. He explained those personal reasons and why he’s decided to return to the campaign.

“My name is Rodney McClelland, and I am running for Antioch City Council.  As many of you know, I suspended my campaign about a month ago for personal reasons.  At that time, taking this step appeared to be the appropriate action, as family issues were absorbing all my energy and the time that I felt I needed to run an effective campaign.

In the intervening month the family matters that I was dealing with have been resolved.  In addition, I’ve been approached by many individuals who, like me, love the city of Antioch and want to see it move in a positive direction.

I am the only candidate on the ballot that opposes Measure W.  I oppose this proposed tax increase because of the harm it will do to our many residents, senior citizens among them, who are on fixed incomes and cannot afford more taxes.  I oppose it because of the history of empty promises made by career politicians in our city who take taxpayer money and use it to fund high pensions that continue to drive us toward bankruptcy.  I oppose it because it will make our city even less competitive in attracting new businesses.

I will never apologize for putting family first, and that is what I did when I suspended my campaign.  Now that those issues have been resolved, I am reentering the race.  The citizens of Antioch deserve a choice for a different path other than ‘tax and spend.’  That is the choice that I offer, and I ask for your vote on November 6.”

The top two candidates of the six, including both incumbents will serve for two years, then face election again with the mayor and other two council members in 2020, when the new district elections will go into effect.

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