Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

OP-ED: Antioch Police Chief explains need for Measure W sales tax increase

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

By Antioch Chief of Police, Tammany Brooks

It has been my honor to serve as Antioch’s Chief of Police for the past 16 months. Thank you to the residents who have provided me with comments, feedback, and perspectives on how we are doing and what your public safety needs and priorities are. Your support has been, and continues to be, truly appreciated.

I am extremely proud of my law enforcement family who, to a person, works diligently to keep the Antioch community safe. With the help of funds generated by a voter measure adopted in 2013, our department has made some significant progress over the last five years.

Since that time, we hired 58 police officers, working to reach our fully authorized staffing level of 104 police officers. We also hired four community service officers, freeing police officers to focus more time on enforcement related duties. The average response time for Priority 1 emergency calls for service has decreased by more than 1 minute 40 seconds. Property crime has decreased more than 27%, and violent crime has decreased by more than 40%!

Additional code enforcement officers and specialists have also been hired to fight illegal dumping, graffiti and blight.

But even with all that said, there is still a lot of work to be done to make Antioch safer and improve the quality of life for all its residents.

That is why the Antioch community needs to make an informed decision about Measure W – the proposed extension of Antioch’s previous voter-approved sales tax, at the one-cent rate.

In August, the Antioch City Council unanimously placed Measure W on the November ballot after receiving feedback from hundreds of residents on their safety and quality of life priorities.

If enacted, Measure W is intended to address, among other priorities: maintaining 911 emergency response, restoring/maintaining the number of police officers patrolling city streets, funding traffic enforcement patrols, and preparing public safety personnel for rapid, coordinated responses to natural disasters.

There are 11 state measures and numerous legislative and local candidates on your ballot. Familiarize yourself with your ballot from top to bottom, and remember to cast a vote on Measure W. 

For more information on Measure W and Antioch’s Police Department, visit www.antiochca.gov.

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Supervisors support one, split to stay neutral on another housing measure on Nov. ballot

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

By Daniel Borsuk

Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors took a “support” position on Proposition 2, a state bond ballot measure to build housing for homeless individuals with mental illness but, took a “no position” on Proposition 10, another state ballot measure that would expand residential property rent control at Tuesday’s meeting.

Supervisors voted 4-0 in favor of Proposition 2, but voted 3-1 to a remain neutral, with Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond in dissent, on the rent control measure – Proposition 10.  Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg was absent.

Both Proposition 2 and Proposition 10 will appear on the November 6, 2018 general election ballot.

Before the meeting, supervisors were initially prepared to brand an “oppose” position on Proposition 2 that “Authorizes Bonds to Fund Existing Housing Programs for Individuals with Mental Illness Legislative Statute.” But supervisors reversed that recommendation from the board’s Legislation Committee from August 13 to recommend an “oppose” vote on Prop. 2 over concerns the county could lose about $2.8 million in state funds for mental health services.

For a while, Board Chair Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill was concerned passage of Proposition 2 might jeopardize funding for another mental health and housing program for the homeless, the No Place Like Home Program, because a state Legislative Analyst Office report states passage of Proposition 2 would mean money would be borrowed from the 2016 enacted homeless housing program.

During the meeting, Dr. Matthew White, head of the Contra Costa County Behavioral Health Services, said the threat to the state funds, in the event Proposition 2 passes at the polls, will probably have little impact on county mental health services.  He said there is a major need for adequate housing for the homeless needing mental health services that will be integrated into new housing projects.

But some speakers were unconvinced Proposition 2 will not deteriorate county mental health services.

Retired physician Dr. Mark Cohen, who has an adult child with mental illness, urged supervisors to oppose Proposition 2 on grounds that the ballot measure’s passage would divert money away from the psychiatric care services for the severely mentally ill not housed in Proposition 2 funding developments.

County mental health commissioner Douglas Dunn opposes the measure because the county is bound to lose upfront money aimed for mental health services that would be diverted to construct housing for the homeless with mental and substance abuse issues.

In support of Proposition 2, Gloria Bruce, executive director of the East Bay Housing Coalition, said “Proposition 2 is the right way to go. Give high need people access to affordable housing.”

Danville resident Douglas Leach called for supervisors to support Proposition 2 because it would create safe housing for the homeless needing mental health and substance abuse assistance.

Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood said she would support Proposition 2 based on the fact it is “difficult to find housing for the mentally ill,”

“These dollars are needed,” supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville said.  “We won’t see a reduction in programs. It will give us an addition tool.”

On Proposition 10, the Affordable Housing Act, supervisors voted to take “no position” on a 3-1 vote.  Supervisors John Gioia of Richmond cast the dissenting vote.  He supported Proposition 10 mainly because it would eliminate the 1998-enacted Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act that permits landlords to raise rents of residential apartments and houses as much as they want constructed after 1995, but not before 1995.  Costa-Hawkins allows landlords to raise the rent in any building before 1995 to the market value when it becomes vacant.

In other business, supervisors officially adopted the $3.2 billion budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year without any public comments. The 2018-2019 budget is up from the $3 billion budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

In other action, Supervisors recognized September 16-22 as Falls Prevention Awareness Week at their meeting on Tuesday. At the presentation were Meals on Wheels Mt. Diablo Region Chief Executive Officer Elaine Clark and Communications Specialist Maricel Kinsella.

Meals on Wheels Mt. Diablo Region and the Contra Costa County Fall Prevention Coalition will hold presentations on how to prevent senior citizens from falling in their homes, a leading cause of death or injury to persons 65 years old or more.

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Candidate for Antioch City Council Rodney McClelland takes stand against sales tax increase Measure W, then quits race

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

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

By Allen Payton

In a statement on his Facebook page posted late Tuesday night, September 18, Rodney McClelland, one of six challengers in the Antioch City Council race, publicly stated his opposition to the city’s sales tax increase on the November ballot. But, then in a letter to the editor on Sunday afternoon, he dropped out of the race for what he claims are “personal reasons.” He and three others wre challenging incumbent Council Members Tony Tiscareno and Lori Ogorchock.

Measure W is a one-cent sales tax, which if passed, will replace and double the amount of the city’s current half-cent sales tax from Measure C that voters approved in 2013 and expires in 2021.

McClelland also took an apparent swipe at one of his fellow challengers, former Antioch School Board Member Joy Motts, whose campaign slogan is “Let’s move Beyond the BASICS.”

His statement on Measure W was as follows:

“Antioch is A Beautiful City but, we face many challenges. The city Council has Measure W on the November ballot. I do not support Measure W, unlike many of my competitors. With the failure to deliver on the promises of Measure C and knowing it does not expire until 2021 I cannot support another tax increase (Measure W). There is no transparency on exactly where funds will be used. This increase will hurt families on fixed incomes, senior citizens, retirees, and low-income families living paycheck to paycheck.

Where we should be taking care of basic needs of our city we are talking about beyond basics. You must be good or even great at something before you move above and beyond.

I am Rodney McClelland and I am running for Antioch City Council.”

The promises of Measure C that McClelland referred to are the hiring of 22 more police officers and doing so “immediately” according to the ballot argument supporting the half-cent sales tax, which Antioch voters passed in November 2013. Then-Mayor Wade Harper and all four council members at the time, including Tiscareno, signed onto the ballot argument.

So far, McClelland was the only one of the four challengers who had taken a position on the tax increase. Both Tiscareno and Ogorchock support the tax and voted to place it on the November ballot as part of a unanimous decision by the current mayor and council.

If Measure W fails to garner the support of a simple majority of voters, the council will have to either try again in 2020 or place on the ballot another half-cent sales tax to extend Measure C.

McClelland’s complete statement is as follows:

“Due to personal reasons, I am suspending my Campaign for Antioch City Council. I can no longer commit the time and energy required to run for office. I want to thank friends and family for their support. I wish the other candidates well.

God bless,

Rodney McClelland”

He is chairman of the Antioch Parks and Recreation Commission, but missed the meeting on Thursday night, Sept. 20. When asked via email what the personal reasons are, he did not respond before publication time.

The election is Tuesday, November 6. The top two vote-getters will serve through 2020 and the winners will have to run again that year, to retain their positions.

 

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Writer opposes Antioch’s Measure W sales tax increase, challenges proponents to debate

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

Editor:

Wrong is wrong no matter who supports it. Antioch’s proposed Transactions and Use (Sales) Tax Measure “W” is a trick on the voting public! The Mayor and Council Members, and other select employees, have much to personally gain by its passage! Measure “W” is really nothing more than more taxes you pay that only go into the general Fund, period, with no required funding for anything they promise (City Attorney’s analysis). The Council’s picked and controlled “Citizens Oversight Committee” cannot enforce where the money goes, nor be able to punish anyone if the money is used for other purposes.

Antioch’s public safety and lack of inadequate manpower issues can also be pointed out as contributed to by certain greedy employee groups primarily looking out for themselves and their pocketbooks. The public’s safety/”quality of life” has not been at their forefront. I’ve known for many years, and complained regularly, that our City’s public safety was being jeopardized by certain self-serving employee groups. They preferred increases to their own existing members’ wages and overall benefits, not using the money instead to pay for more Police manpower to make our city safer!

The Antioch Police Officers’ Association, in particular, when given the choice of more Police manpower, or increases in their wages and benefits, always instead chose only the latter for themselves! The APOA’s support is again therefore only very self-serving and hypocritical. Their support for passage of Measure “W” also is so that they will receive their guaranteed raise(es), as other top-level employees also expect to receive soon! They are due for another raise this month. It’s obvious why they want the voters to pass the Tax Measure “W”. Of course, the APOA supports its passage!
Voters, consider for yourselves their total reported 2017 wages / total Pay and Benefits of a Policeman;

Chief = $232,164 / $430,928
Capt. = $209,292 / $392,114
Lt. = $181,440 / $332,252
Sgt. = $143,592 / $362,904
Cpl. = $129,228 / $301,723
Off. = $114,864 / $284,948

The APOA has a very good retirement plan, for which they previously paid none of their traditional 9% share (the City paid it for them, at great expense). Then their Retirement Plan was enhanced to the costlier “3% at 50” Retirement Plan, with the City once again fully paying for their share and additional greater costs! The APOA chose for themselves, not for more manpower or your “quality of life”. That expensive one hundred million ($100,000,000+) plus unfunded pensions debt is another major reason why the City wants Measure “W” passed. Most of the Tax money will be used to cover up for the Mayor’s and Council’s incompetent decision makings!

The Mayor and Council Members have had the power to change things for the better of our community for years but, chose not to do so! The public’s safety and “quality of life” has not really improved as it should have long ago! Crime essentially has been ongoing and unmitigated for too long! They’ve just given the public ‘feel good’ lip service and made unkept promises, just to look good to you! Even when I personally spoke out at many Council meetings, and in person on a one-to-one basis with the elected Mayor and Council Member, they have chosen to ignore the facts and recorded data given to them.

The two incumbents running for re-election should not be voted for. And, the Mayor and Council Members as a whole should be ashamed and step down if all they are going to do is continue to mislead the public and fool you with this nefarious and underhanded Measure “W” just to cover for their behinds! I believe that they are nothing more than incompetent tricksters, charlatans, insincere, phony, and a disgrace to the public they claim to represent. Measure “W” is a perfect example of their attempt to betray you once again!
Norma and I hereby challenge to a public forum debate any two of the signed Proponents of Measure “W”. Let’s let the public see and hear both sides (which they coincidentally did not allow for a Rebutal Argument by us within the to-be published ballot guide).

Signed,
Ralph A. Hernandez

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Ogorchock announces Antioch Police Officers endorsement

Friday, September 14th, 2018

Dear Editor:

Improving public safety is my number one priority.

I’m honored to have the support of the Antioch Police Officers Association for my re-election as your Councilwoman. I have and will continue to work hard to make Antioch safe for all our residents. As your representative, I have supported the hiring of 58 new police officers, funded cameras in the Sycamore Corridor/Cavallo Road, and voted to put license plate readers on police vehicles to catch criminals in our neighborhoods.

I am especially proud to be working alongside Supervisor Diane Burgis to establish Antioch’s first Family Justice Center to provide much-needed support for victims of domestic violence.

If you should have any questions, or just want to talk, please feel free to email or call me anytime at lori@loriogorchock.com (925) 628-7764.

Thank you.

Antioch Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock

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Antioch Council appoints former Mayor Jim Davis as interim City Treasurer

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

Council Members wanted someone who could “hit the ground running”

New, interim Antioch City Treasurer Jim Davis. Herald file photo.

By Allen Payton

During a special session of the City Council before their regular meeting on Tuesday night September 11, 2018, on a unanimous 4-0, the Antioch Council appointed former Antioch Mayor Jim Davis as the interim City Treasurer through 2020. Davis will fill the position left vacant by Donna Conley who stepped down when she and her husband Jim moved out of state in July. Council Member Lori Ogorchock was out of town at a city-related conference.

Davis is also running for the Antioch School Board which was a concern by some of the council members. He was one of three Antioch residents applied for the position, each of whom spoke before the council, offering their background and credentials, in the order of the numbers they drew. As each applicant spoke, the others remained outside of the council chambers.

City of Antioch employee Shelley Richardson was the first applicant to speak to the council.

“I have never done this, before. I’m not political,” she said. “It’s not because I’m bored. I am a city of Antioch employee. A payroll specialist since January 2017. Prior to that she was a payroll specialist for the East Bay Regional Park District. Before that she worked for Cypress Meadows senior living community in Antioch.

Former Antioch Mayor Jim Davis was next, saying, “I’ve been up there for 14 years in three different seats, as Mayor Pro Tem, as Council Member, and the last four as Mayor. I spent many personal hours and vacation time away from my day job to lobby for money for this city. I worked with Federal Advocates, our lobbyists, in Washington D.C. for funds for Highway 4 and eBART. I’m a 60-year resident of Antioch. I’m semi-retired. I don’t commute, and I have the time to donate to this position. I have the knowledge and experience to fulfill this position.” He spoke of his 30-year banking background and the various financial transactions he handled as part of his experience for the position. “I can start tomorrow morning…I have nothing going on,” he stated.

Former downtown business owner Kym Kelley was the third and final applicant to speak to the council.

“I’m a 14-year resident and homeowner of Antioch, active in my church…and a former business owner in downtown Antioch,” she stated. “I’d now like to continue to serve my city…and become active in my community. I believe with my financial background and knowledge I will be a good candidate to fill this seat. In my career I’ve managed up to $300 million in assets…in the banking and loan industry. I feel I’m offering a bright, new perspective for the city and this position.”

“I’m not a politician,” Kelley concluded with a chuckle.

The council members then had the opportunity to ask questions of each of the applicants.

Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe asked Richardson if she saw the position as having an oversight role.

She said she wanted to be a team player, but that she didn’t know. “I know what the position requires. I want to do that.”

Council Member Monica Wilson asked Richards, “is it legal for you to have both of these roles (of city employee and City Treasurer)?”

“Is it a conflict of interest? I’ve called Cal-PERS. It’s actually two different positions, Richardson responded. I’ve looked at every different avenue. The Treasurer cannot sign the checks. That would have to change. (City Finance Director) Dawn Merchant would have to sign the checks. It’s a completely separate position.

City Attorney Derek Cole interjected his thoughts. “I believe the candidate is correct there are some internal control issues. There are some changes that have to be made. Other than that, there are no legal issues. The candidate is an employee. She’s not holding two elected positions. There is not a conflict of interest if she’s selected.”

Council Member Tony Tiscareno said he concern with “a public perception issue.”

Thorpe asked the same question of Davis regarding his view of the oversight role of the position.

Davis mentioned Measure C and the upcoming Measure W and the need for oversight.

Thorpe, “I think the City Treasurer does have oversight. He is the overseer of revenue…on behalf of the public, not of city staff.”

Davis responded to Thorpe’s question about the role, saying, “Report out at a council meeting or to the public. It is incumbent upon the person who holds this position, now to be more active.”

“I think the person in this position…needs to be in the public eye and not sit behind a desk and come to the council meeting every three months…so the public can confront you, good or bad,” Davis added. “I would be involved. I won’t be a silent treasurer by any means.”

Thorpe, “One of the things that I’ve grown frustrated with the City Clerk’s office, I don’t like how they engineer certain things for certain results. I would hope the City Treasurer wouldn’t do that.”

Wilson asked about the fact Davis is also running for the Antioch School Board. “That would be two elected positions.”

Davis responded, “It’s two separate entities. Two separate elected bodies. It’s a part-time position as City Treasurer. It’s the same on the school board. I’m semi-retired. I have the time. If there was a conflict of interest on either body I would recuse myself.  They are two separate, two years apart elections. I’m very comfortable I can do both.”

Cole offered his views on the issue, stating, “There is…a problem with incompatible offices. If it is found a person occupies incompatible offices, they would have to resign one of the positions. It is rare that the City cuts a check to the school district. So, we couldn’t see any conflict between the school district and this position.”

Davis said, “The Treasurer position has no vote.”

Tiscareno said “I truly believe you have some good qualifications being in the banking business, overseeing your customer’s money. That expertise is important to me. But, I have the same concern…that you’re running for school board. You somewhat addressed that, and I’m satisfied with your answers.”

“We had a very good treasurer, but she wasn’t as active as I would have like to see,” he stated.

“What would you do differently to make this position more transparent and visible to the community?” Tiscareno asked.

“I would be at every council meeting, sitting in the back,” Davis responded. “I’ll give monthly report of whatever I’m doing. Participate in community events. Speak at non-profit organizations. Attend training…become an active member. It wouldn’t be a simple, 9-5 one day a week. You would see me involved and participating.”

The council members then asked questions of Kelley.

Thorpe asked her the same question he asked the others about the oversight role of the position and her vision for it.

“Basically, from the research and the phone calls that I’ve made I feel like this position basically oversees that everything is in compliance…and to reconcile the books,” she responded. “This position…does not report to anyone directly, but you work with others.”

“Are you familiar with the Measure C Oversight Committee?” Thorpe asked.

“Not as familiar as you are,” she replied.

“OK. We’ll skip that” he said.

Wilson asked how Kelley could translate her background and experience into the position.

Kelley mentioned her advocacy on behalf of her father during his final days, and oversight and making sure no one is

Tiscareno asked “can you give me a little insight in how you can do a smooth transition into this position?”

“I’ve already read the budget and looked into the travel policy…to get prepared for the position,” she responded.

Mayor Sean Wright said all the questions he had for each applicant had already been asked.

One member of the public offered a written comment in support of Richardson, which Wright read.

The council then discussed and deliberated on the item.

Thorpe said, “I only have two concerns, the first one is, the idea of serving, if former Mayor Davis gets elected to the school board, him serving in both capacities. I don’t think that looks good. The same concern is with Shelley who works for the city. I understand the legalese. We have to be concerned with perception. I think all the candidates bring good qualities.”

Tiscareno shared his thoughts, stating, “I do share those concerns, as well. One may be more conflicted as the other, because one is a city employee. It would be difficult to present that to the public when running for election. Mr. Davis has the right to run. But, my reasoning for looking at a specific candidate is someone who can come in and do the job, have the knowledge of our city. Kym is very qualified, as well. Her answers to questions as she prepared to the job at hand. I’m going to make my decision with an individual who can start from day one and get going. I think you kind of know where I’m going with that.”

Wilson stated, “I do have the same concern with Shelley…the public perception. This is an oversight role. Will she be overseeing for the city or for the public? Kym, I really think you gave some good answers and we need someone to hit the ground running. Mayor Davis, you have some good answers, too. So, I’ve pretty much made up my mind, too.”

Mayor Wright ended the discussion by stating, “We have the opportunity to have an appointee who can hit the ground running with an applicant who has looked at our finances during our city’s darkest times.”

Tiscareno moved to appoint Davis as City Treasurer, seconded by Wilson.

Thorpe said, while I will support the pleasure of the council, I would hope, Jim you would rethink the school board thing, because I don’t think it looks good that people are serving in two separate offices or that we’re recycling the same people.”

“This was not a foregone conclusion, all of you have certificates that were prepared to be signed,” Wright assured the other two applicants.

Davis was then given the oath of office by Mayor Wright and he assumed his new role as the Antioch City Treasurer.

Davis then signed the official proclamation and the council and audience offered their applause.

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Former Antioch Police Chief endorses Rocha for school board

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

Editor:

As the Antioch Police Chief for six years, I worked often with Mary Rocha, then City Councilwoman.

I saw her work tirelessly for our City. She was experienced, but not jaded; extremely knowledgeable, but a team member; and she was caring – never “calling it in.” Most importantly, Mary is not beholding to special interest groups and will base her votes on what is best for the children, families and staff rather than on a personal agenda.

These are the exact qualities the Antioch Unified School District Board of Education needs right now. With three of the five trustees foolishly pushing through for-profit charters, which will result in massive layoffs and program reductions, this is the time for proven leadership. Additionally, with some current Board Members frequently showing displays of unprofessionalism from the dais and in the community, Mary’s sensibility and experience is much needed. Our school staff, teachers and, especially, our students need her clarity, heart, and integrity. (Editor’s Note: All the charter schools in and approved for Antioch are non-profit, public charter schools.)

Anyone who knows or has met Mary knows she has spent decades supporting the youth and families in our communities. This election is critical, and we need a proven champion for children like Mary to help lead the AUSD.

As the father of an eight-year-old, I know the importance of strong leadership in schools – and, it must begin at the top with the Board of Education.

Some of my favorite duties as Chief of Police were to visit Antioch schools, sit down with the students, talk with teachers, and engage with staff who represent the “boots on the ground.” AUSD is filled with incredibly talented students, supportive families, and a dedicated hard-working staff. All of these constituents deserve knowledgeable people making wise decisions that affect the AUSD.

I have so much respect for Mary and her commitment to our community. We need a leader with experience, proven integrity, and a heart for children and this community. Mary Rocha cares because she understands that our schools matter.

Thank you,

Allan Cantando

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Antioch Council to consider staff report on environmental groups’ Sand Creek initiative

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

If adopted would cost $65.4 million in fees, and $2.4 million in future annual, net city tax revenue; prohibit any more homes in Sand Creek Focus Area, eliminating proposed gated, senior home community

By Allen Payton

At a previously scheduled, special meeting on Tuesday, August 21, the Antioch City Council will consider the staff report on the Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative, put forward by a variety of environmental groups in the county in coordination with Antioch residents. The initiative effort gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. City Staff Report on Sand Creek Initiative

As a result, the council had three choices at their July 24th meeting, to either adopt the initiative, place it on the November 2018 ballot, or send it to staff to study for up to 30 days and return with a report. They chose the last option, with the result that if they don’t adopt the initiative, places it on the March 2020 ballot, at the soonest.

The council, instead chose to adopt the competing West Sand Creek Initiative, known as The Ranch Initiative, put forward by Richland Communities, which owns the land where the 1,177-home project was proposed. The council’s action approved the Development Agreement, which by law, goes into effect next Thursday, August 23, the 30-day mark following their vote on July 24. (See related article)

The council will have the option, at their next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, August 28, to either adopt the environmental groups’ initiative (The Sand Creek Initiative), including those provisions which don’t conflict with The Ranch Initiative, or place it on the ballot in 2020 for the voters to decide. According to the report, “only those provisions (of the General Plan) outside of The Ranch Development Agreement area would be amended.”

Loss of 1,900 Units

The report states, “The Sand Creek Initiative imposes severe land use restrictions throughout the western portion of the Sand Creek Focus Area and also reduces the overall development capacity of the Sand Creek Focus Area from 4,000 units to 2,100 units. This change along with the differing language regarding constitutionality are the most prominent elements of The Sand Creek Initiative. If adopted, the Sand Creek Initiative would have a profound effect on the Sand Creek Focus Area and would halt all future residential development. Other non-residential uses may still be feasible.”

Loss of Fees and Future City Tax Revenue

In addition, adopting The Sand Creek Inititiative would have future, negative financial impacts on the city, with “a loss of 1,900 units and all of the associated costs and revenues” including, “property tax, sales tax, property transfer tax, property tax in lieu of vehicle license fee, and the Citywide Police Services Community Facilities District.”

“The effect of this action is a reduction in annual ongoing revenue of $3,160,315,” the report states. “The value of this revenue would be offset by the costs of $740,289 to provide increased services to the new development. In total, the net annual ongoing benefit (and net loss) would be $2,420,026 or $1,274 per unit.”

If The Sand Creek Initiative is adopted, it would also mean a loss of pass through and regional fees of $65,411,015 or $34,427 per unit, including $18 million less for Antioch schools and almost $36 million less for regional roads, according to the report.

The report further states that, “alternate sources or increased fees elsewhere may be required.”

Proposed Albers Ranch Site Plan located east of Deer Valley Road and south of Sand Creek.

Prohibits Senior Home Community

Furthermore, the report states, “The City of Antioch previously approved two residential projects in the Sand Creek Focus Area – Vineyards at Sand Creek with 641 units and Aviano with 533 units. With the recent approval of The Ranch with 1,177 units, the current number of approved units in the Sand Creek Focus Area is 2,351. Since The Sand Creek Initiative would limit the total number of residential units to 2,100, any future development anywhere in the Sand Creek Focus Area, including east of Deer Valley Road, would be absolutely prohibited.”

The result of that would mean the proposed 301-unit, gated, senior home community, known as The Olive Groves as well as Albers Ranch, planned for east of Deer Valley Road, south of the Kaiser medical center, Dozier-Libbey Medical High School and the actual Sand Creek, could not be built. (See related article). It is the only other project on the east side of Deer Valley Road currently proposed that has not been approved.

Proposed Zeka Ranch Site Plan located west of The Ranch project.

Also Reduces Zeka Ranch from 256 Units to 8

The report also addresses the effect on the proposed Zeka Ranch project, west of The Ranch and Empire Mine Road, stating, “The General Plan Land Use Designation for Zeka Ranch was approximately 40% Hillside and Estate Residential (256 acres) and 60% Open Space (384 acres). The Hillside Estate Housing designation in the General Plan Land Use Element allows development at a rate of one dwelling unit per gross developable acre…this would allow an absolute maximum of 256 single family homes on the Zeka Ranch property.”

However, some of the land in the Zeka Ranch is not on hillsides and the proposed project includes between 320 and 400 units, which was reduced from the original plan for over 1,100 homes. (See related article).

The report concludes, that, “with the passage of The Ranch Initiative, the development potential of Zeka Ranch was reduced to one unit per eighty acres, which results in a maximum development potential of eight homes. The Sand Creek Initiative applies an identical density and would result in a maximum of eight homes as well.”

Takings Provisions Allow Legal Challenges

However, both initiatives have provisions which allow for a challenge by a landowner who believes their rights were violated due to a “taking” of their property.

The report states that, “Under State and Federal laws, a government agency may not simply ‘take’ a person’s private property and the down-zoning of property has been, and may be, interpreted by courts to constitute a form of unlawful ‘taking’. Presumably, a landowner would need to prove with substantial evidence that the initiative had the unintended effect of unconstitutionally taking their property through the diminishment of development rights, etc.”

The difference between the initiatives is who gets to decide what constitutes a “taking”.

The report states, “Whereas, The Ranch initiative allowed the City Council to determine the validity of a takings grievance and take proper steps towards restitution, The Sand Creek Initiative would require that courts determine that the terms of the initiative violate the law. The Sand Creek Initiative would impose a higher and costlier standard to resolve a takings dispute, should one arise.”

The council meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 200 W. Third Street. It can also be viewed via livestream on the city’s website at www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CityGov/citycouncilmeetings.htm. Since it’s a special meeting, it will not be televised live on local cable access channels.

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