Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Walter Ruehlig returns to the Antioch School Board, Vinson joins him to unseat incumbents

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014
Ruehligs Walter Ruehlig returns to the Antioch School Board, Vinson joins him to unseat incumbents

Walter Ruehlig talks with Bob Brooks, while Cynthia Ruehlig ponders the early election returns, at their home, Tuesday night.

By Allen Payton

Both incumbents in the Antioch School Board race, Joy Motts and Gary Hack, were defeated by challengers Walter Ruehlig and Debra Vinson, Tuesday night.  Ruehlig and Vinson led the other two from the first returns.

“I’m feeling a little nervous,” Vinson said after learning of the early returns. “It’s exciting. But I’m waiting.”

Earlier in the day, Vinson posted the following on her campaign’s Facebook page:

Today I am filled with gratitude. I appreciate all of the volunteers and those who contributed to my campaign to make it successful! It has been an unforgettable experience of sharing, listening, and an incredible opportunity to connect with parents, students and the community. Tomorrow a new chapter will begin and I accept the challenge. Education is the liberator for ALL students. As adults we must never give up on our students because they are the future. The zeitgeist is now!

Ruehlig, who ran for the Antioch City Council in 2012 instead of reelection, took first place in the race with 5,028 votes or 30.27%, with Debra Vinson taking the second of two seats up for election, this year, with 4,668 votes or 28.11%. Motts had 3,426 votes or 20.63% and Hack was close with 3,400 votes or 20.47%. There were 87 write-in votes, although there no officially qualified write-in candidates in the race.

Check back for updates to this story. For complete election results in Antioch and Contra Costa County, visit www.cocovote.us.

 

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Ogorchock, Tiscareno lead in Antioch Council race

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014
Lori O talks with supporters Ogorchock, Tiscareno lead in Antioch Council race

Lori Ogorchock, in white blouse, speaks with Earlene Lanter and other supporters at her Election Night Party at Straw Hat Pizza, Tuesday night.

By Allen Payton

As of the 11:03 p.m. update from the Contra Costa County Elections Office, Lori Ogorchock had pulled into the lead for the two seats for the Antioch City Council, ahead of appointed Councilman Tony Tiscareno, who she had trailed all night. They both were ahead of Antioch School Board Member Diane Gibson-Gray, who was in a strong third place all night, ahead of fourth place candidate Lamar Thorpe.

I’m just in total suprise,” Ogorchock stated about moving into first place. “It was unexpected. I’m overwhelmed.”

With the votes from 27 of the 49 Antioch precincts counted, Ogorchock had 2,909 votes to Tiscareno’s 2,825, while Gibson-Gray had 2,628 votes and Thorpe trailed the top three with 2,099 votes.

Tiscareno said he would wait until morning to make a comment, since the race was still too close to call.

The other four candidates, Anthony Segovia, Jeffrey Hall-Cottrell, Karl Dietzel and Steven Bado, were far back in the pack.

RESULTS, as of the 12:17 A.M., Wednesday, November 5 update by the County Elections Office:

49 of 49 precincts reporting

Lori Ogorchock – 3,935 votes, 23.47%

Tony Tiscareno – 3,668 votes, 21.88%

Diane Gibson-Gray – 3,439 votes, 20.51%

Lamar Thorpe – 2,792 votes, 16.65%

Anthony Segovia – 1,304 votes, 7.78%

Karl Dietzel – 564 votes, 3.36%

Jeffrey Hall-Cottrell – 530 votes, 3.16%

Steven Bado – 439 votes, 2.62%

Write-In – 97 votes, 0.58%

If her first-place finish holds, Ogorchock will serve as the city’s Mayor Pro Tem for the next two years.

UPDATE 3:40 PM, 11/5/14 – However, as of 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 5, the County Elections Office stated they still have 95,000 ballots left to count in the county. That could affect the outcome in this race. The next vote tally update will be provided at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 7. For more details, please see the article, here.

Check back for updates. For the latest election results, visit www.cocovote.us.

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No on O committee receives another $5,000 in a last-minute contribution for a total of $173,000

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Committee reports wrong company name

By Allen Payton

According to a required public disclosure financial report, the Sacramento-based No on Measure O committee received a last minute contribution of $5,000 on Monday, November 3 from Tod Spieker, the Property Manager of Spieker Properties, located in Palo Alto.

Spieker owns and manages apartment complexes in Southern California, but not in Antioch.

The reason I gave that donation was because the California Apartment Association asked me to,” Spieker said in a brief interview, today. “I alott so much money per election cycle to the CAA and they just tell me where to go with it.”

However, the company name on the form was incorrect, as Tod Spieker owns Spieker Company. Spieker said his brother Ned’s company was Spieker Properties, but, he wasn’t aware if it had any real estate interests in Antioch. That company, which was sold in July, 2001, was involved in at least one commercial property in Antioch, specifically Deer Valley Plaza, in the past.

According to his company’s website, Warren E. “Ned” Spieker, Jr. “is the owner of Spieker Senior Development Partners as well as Managing Partner of Spieker Realty Investments. Until the company’s sale in July 2001, Mr. Spieker was Chairman of the Board of Spieker Properties, Inc., a publicly traded (NYSE) real estate investment trust (REIT) with assets in excess of $7.2 billion. Under his leadership, Spieker Properties became one of the largest REITs in the nation and the largest in the West, owning and operating over 42 million square feet of office and industrial space in California and the Pacific Northwest.”

In a brief conversation with David Bower, the committee’s treasurer, when the mistake was pointed out to him, he said he would amend the report, as he was not aware there were two different Spieker companies.

He also stated that the committee had raised $138,000 and also has a loan of $35,000 from the California Apartment Association.

That brings the total contributions and loans to the No on O committee to $173,000.

The election is today. If Measure O passes it will require residential investment property owners pay a business license tax of $125 per year for each multi-family unit or $240 per year for a single family home.

UPDATE: As of 10:25 AM, this morning, the No on Measure O committee had submitted their amended form, showing the correct company name for Tod Spieker.

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Get a copy of the Antioch Herald Elections Issue at these locations

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

For those who didn’t receive one in the mail, copies of the November, 2014 edition of the Antioch Herald with information about today’s elections are available at the following locations:

Celia’s Mexican Restaurant – corner of 10th & G Streets

Mike’s Pastry Shop – in the Grocery Outlet shopping center, A & 18th Streets

Antioch Produce – in the shopping center behind Wells Fargo & Rite Aid, A & 18th Streets

Paradise Skate – 10th & O Streets

Antioch Library – 18th Street

Little Mexico Restaurant – near the corner of 10th Street & Auto Center Drive

Go Vegan Restaurant – 2904 Delta Fair Blvd. near the old Food Max store

East County Veterans Thrift Furniture Store – corner of G & 2nd Streets in downtown Rivertown

East County Veterans Thrift Clothing Store – 708 2nd Street in downtown Rivertown
Wayne’s Barber Shop – corner of G & 2nd Streets in downtown Rivertown

Burgers Plus – corner of 2nd & I Streets in downtown Rivertown

Nuce Nuce Deli – 1st Street and Waldie Plaza in downtown Rivertown

Rick’s on Second – 2nd Street in downtown Rivertown

Antioch Chamber of Commerce office – 1st Street and Waldie Plaza in downtown Rivertown

County Market – on Larkspur off Hillcrest

Schooner’s Grille & Brewery – corner of Lone Tree Way & Mokelumne, near AMC Theaters

Pinky’s Klassy Kar Wash – East 18th Street

Community Outreach Center – East 18th Street, next to Dairy Queen

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Staying Up-To-Date on Election Night results

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

First numbers will be available shortly after 8 pm

Go easy on that “Refresh” button.

With the November 4th General Election just a week away, the Contra Costa County Elections Division is devising a strategy for handling and reporting results from the County’s estimated half-million registered voters.

Results of vote-by-mail ballots that are returned before November 1st will be available shortly after the polls close at 8 pm on Election Night.

Meanwhile, with ballots being collected from precincts throughout the County, the first update can be expected at about 9:30 pm, with results updated about every 30 minutes until all precincts report.

The availability of updated reports will be communicated via Twitter and Facebook, using the hashtag #CoCoVotes2014.  Changes to the reporting schedule will also be reported there.

The County Elections Division Twitter page is Twitter.com/CoCoElections. The Facebook page is Facebook.com/pages/Contra-Costa-County-Elections/361344510602519.

Results will be posted to the Elections’ Department website, www.cocovote.us, throughout the night and updated by 5 pm every Friday until the election is certified in late November. Statewide election results can be seen on the California Secretary of State’s website at http://vote.sos.ca.gov/.

Local election results will also be available throughout Election Night on Contra Costa Television (CCTV) beginning at 9 pm on Comcast channel 27, Astound channel 32 and AT&T U-Verse channel 99.

Meanwhile, voting is already underway at the Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorders-Elections Division, at 555 Escobar Street in Martinez.  Registered voters may drop in to vote or pick up a ballot until 8 pm on Election Day.

The Elections Division will be open for voting on Election Day from 7 am to 8 pm.

Polling place locations and directional maps, as well as information regarding sample ballots and candidates, are also available online.

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Parks board candidate, Foley clears up issue about endorsement by creeks group

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

By Allen Payton

Six days after an article was posted on the Antioch Herald website questioning the existence of a group that East Bay Regional Parks Board candidate Mark Foley claims endorsed him, he responded with an emailed statement to the Herald. The question on the endorsement came from the fact that he used the incorrect name of the group. Foley said he was endorsed by “Friends of Urban Creeks.” Foley now says the group’s name is actually Friends of Creeks in Urban Settings. He failed to respond to both a voicemail message and email asking about the endorsement before the original article (which can be viewed by clicking, here) was published.

In addition, Foley provided a statement from the group’s co-fouder, Beverly Ortiz, who also responded to one of a few questions about the organization.

Following is Foley’s initial response:

The Antioch Herald recently published an article titled “Parks Board candidate Foley claims endorsement of a group that may not exist.” This article questions one of my endorsements and the existence of the endorsing organization, Friends of Creeks in Urban Settings.

There is a simple explanation about the endorsement in question; my campaign listed the endorsement of a group called “Friends of Urban Creeks”. The group is in fact called FOCUS (Friends of Creeks in Urban Settings). Once my campaign discovered the error in the name, it immediately corrected it on my campaign’s website, and apologized to the organization for the mistake.

Additionally, the Antioch Herald questions the existence of FOCUS. This is insulting to an established and respected citizen’s organization. Friends of Creeks in Urban Settings has existed for more than two decades. FOCUS’s co-founder, Bev Ortiz, wrote me that she was deeply saddened to hear that the group’s existence has come into question by the media while she is out of the country traveling with a research delegation. The Antioch Herald should publish an apology to FOCUS.

I believe the strong support of the dedicated East Bay Regional Parks’ workers, including the rangers, naturalists, lifeguards, trades workers, supervisors, clerical and other professional workers in AFSCME 2428 who are responsible for the stewardship of our precious parks day in and day out is as good as environmental credentials can get.

I’m committed to ensuring the democratic nature and transparency of the East Bay Regional Park District. I decided to run for the board because I have important experience to bring to the table. I’ve worked on water issues in a special district for my entire career and understand the complex nature of the decisions that must be made by the Board of Directors. In the past decade, the Regional Park District has done a great job in acquiring more land for open space and conservation. I am running to make sure that the people who are paying for these land acquisitions also have access to them for recreational and educational purposes, or just to connect with nature. I’m running to help foster a better, more respectful relationship between workers and District management. I am the only candidate in this race that has the trust and experience to make progress in this regard.

On November 4, voters have a rare opportunity to have a say in who will represent our community on the East Bay Regional Park board. I thank you for your consideration while making your decision about who you will cast your vote for.”

Foley also forwarded a statement from FOCUS co-founder Beverly Ortiz:

To whom it may concern: I am the co-founder of Friends of Creeks in Urban Settings (FOCUS). We started our work in the early 1980′s in Central Contra Costa County. Our emphasis in our early years was on solutions to flooding and erosion that would also protect creek environments and habitats. In part through a state grant, we were successful in developing alternatives to the planned channelization of tributaries of Grayson Creek–working with a hydrological consulting company on a plan to install bypass pipes and detention basins that was ultimately adopted by the Contra Costa Flood Control District. We also created an informational brochure that was distributed to creekside homeowners with suggestions for solving flooding and erosion problems short of channelization. For many years we were an affiliate of the Urban Creeks Council. In recent years, we have worked behind the scenes to advise homeowners in similar situations.”

In response to a question about the form of the organization, Ortiz replied, “We are NOT a 501c3. We have membership and fund raising and a bank account, and NO non-profit status.”

However, Ortiz, a parks district employee, did not respond to questions about what form the organization is nor how many members it has. Ortiz was traveling at the time, and had limited computer access.

To those same questions, Foley responded by email:

I am not affiliated with the organizational leadership of FOCUS, and I have no authorization to make a comment on their behalf. I was asked to forward their response to you and have done so, as well as providing you with Beverly’s personal contact information.

I don’t think the question is about this organization’s status and work anyway. It’s about my environmental credentials:

I have decades of experience working for a public agency charged with the stewardship of water and land, having spent my 22+ year career working to protect and improve a water system that provides safe, clean drinking water for 1.3 million people in the East Bay. Currently, I work on a team charged with maintaining the infrastructure that moves and stores surface water from the source in the Sierras all the way to reservoirs in the East Bay hills. Daily, I work to ensure the integrity of an important large-scale system that includes open space and recreational areas. In my role as President of AFSCME 2019, I have been involved in advocacy on key environmental and water policies, including my personal opposition to the peripheral canal and now the Delta tunnels, in the Board room and in Sacramento.

Finally, I have what I believe is the most important environmental endorsement in this particular race: the workers of the East Bay Regional Park District. These rangers, naturalists, planners, educators, construction workers and others are the ones who know our parks — and the public which uses them — best. They are there, every day, year round, developing programs, maintaining trails, protecting creeks, and observing condition of all the natural flora and fauna in our regional parks. I’m honored their membership voted to endorse me after considering both candidates in this race.”

According to his campaign website, Foley is an Analyst in the Operations and Maintenance department for the East Bay Municipal Utility District – which provides water services to Central Contra Costa County residents – and President for the past 10 years of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2019, which is the same union as the employees of the East Bay Regional Parks District.

He is running for the East Bay Regional Parks Board of Directors in Ward 7, against Oakley City Councilwoman Diane Burgis, who is the Executive Director of Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed, in the November 4 election.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The Herald did not question the existence of FOCUS, because that was not the name of the organization provided by Mr. Foley. We questioned the existence of Friends of Urban Creeks, which could not be found via an internet search, nor had been heard of by East Bay environmental leaders, as were quoted in the original article. Mr. Foley’s own statement proves the fact that Friends of Urban Creeks doesn’t exist, since he got the group’s name incorrect. No apology is necessary from the Herald.

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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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