Preliminary PG&E report: substation equipment issue caused outage for almost 25,000 Antioch, Oakley customers Thursday

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Map of PG&E power outage affecting Antioch and Oakley on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. Screenshot of website.

Investigation continues

By Allen Payton

A power outage affecting 24,000 PG&E customers in Antioch and Oakley Thursday afternoon might have been caused by a problem with substation equipment.

According to Pacific Gas & Electric Company spokesperson, Tamar Sarkissian, on Friday afternoon, “preliminary reports show an issue with equipment at a substation; the investigation into the cause continues.”

Another PG&E spokesperson, Karly Hernandez informed the Herald late Thursday night, “Today (Thursday, January 13) at approximately 4:10 p.m., the East Bay experienced a transmission-level outage. At the peak, 24,776 customers in parts of Antioch, Oakley and Brentwood were affected.

PG&E worked to restore power, safely and as quickly as possible. By 5:25 p.m., all affected customers had been restored. The cause of the outage is under investigation. The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility.”

The outage affected homes, businesses and stoplights throughout the two cities and seemed indiscriminate with some businesses in the same shopping center with the power and lights out while the power and lights at other businesses remained on. It depended on which circuit they’re on, Hernandez explained.

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Publisher @ January 15, 2022

Participate in democracy during BART’s remaining redistricting meetings

Posted in: News, Politics & Elections, BART | Comments (0)

Proposed BART Districts 2022 Plan A

For redrawing BART director districts; next meeting today at 9:00 a.m.

RELEASE DATE: 01/14/2022

Have a direct say in democracy by participating in BART’s redistricting meetings. The next virtual meeting is scheduled for January 15, at 9 am, followed by two 6pm meetings on January 22nd and February 2nd.

BART election districts are redrawn every 10 years following the U.S. Census. The primary purpose of redistricting is to ensure population equality among districts.  This process is guided by traditional redistricting principles as well as the U.S. Constitution, the California Constitution, the federal Voting Rights Act and the BART District Act.

Districts must be contiguous and should also be compact, minimize splitting cities, respect communities of interest and follow natural and man-made boundaries.

Proposed BART Districts 2022 Plan B

Key Points to Consider in Redistricting

Traditional Redistricting Principles

Since decennial redistricting began in the late 1960s, traditional criteria and principles have developed. While the equal population of election districts is the overriding principle there are accompanying goals. In varying degrees, the criteria are compactness, continuity, respect for communities of interest, preserving political subdivisions, and the core of previous districts. All are not of equal weight, and all are subordinate to an equal population. Care must be taken not to dilute the voting strength of minorities.

Compactness

Compactness refers to a districts’ geographic shape and how its interior is dispersed within its boundaries. A circle is a perfectly compact shape. In redistricting, the notion of compactness is difficult to evaluate because one begins with irregularly shaped borders and the political subdivisions may be irregular in shape. Geometric measures of compactness are often misleading because geographic features and relationships are more complex than simple geometry. The principle of compactness should be considered functionally and must compete with other criteria.

Continuity

Continuity requires that all parts of a district be connected. Districts can be drawn that are contiguous by way of water or a bridge. While crossing water is allowed it should be minimized as it makes it more difficult to respect communities of interest.

Preserving Political Subdivisions

An attempt should be made to minimize splitting cities and well-defined neighborhoods.

Respect for Communities of Interest

Communities of interest are subjective and difficult to define. A community of interest has some common thread of shared interest. Those communities can be based on such diverse elements as geography, language, socio-economic-cultural interests, even transportation corridors. Race may be considered, but it may not be the sole reason for drawing a district in a particular manner.

Preserving the Core of Prior Districts

Preserving the core of a previous district is thought to be the least disruptive to the voters in each area. One, of course, would not seek to maintain a previous district that was legally objectionable.

New districts should be drawn deliberatively and with common sense. Adherence to traditional redistricting principles and the federal Voting Rights Act will ensure fair and reasonable districts.

Community participation is available via Zoom on January 15, 2022 starting at 9 am at https://us06web.zoom.us/j/88956838390

You may join the Committee Meeting via Zoom by calling 1-669-900-6833 and entering access code 889 5683 8390. Dial *9 to raise your hand when you wish to speak, and dial *6 to unmute when you are requested to speak.

Virtual Meetings of BART’s Redistricting Committee and Archived Video 

The BART Redistricting Committee consists of Directors Lateefah Simon (Chairperson), Elizabeth Ames and Mark Foley. Here is the remaining proposed redistricting outreach meeting schedule, materials, zoom information, and videos of previous meetings are provided below the list of meetings dates:

  • Meeting 4: Saturday, January 15, 2022, 9 am
  • Meeting 5: Saturday, January 22, 2022, 6 pm
  • Meeting 6: Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 6 pm

January 8, 2022 Meeting – A virtual meeting was held Saturday, January 8, 2022 from 12 to 2 pm. Watch the video of the 1/8/22 meeting.

December 15, 2021 Meeting – A virtual meeting was held Wednesday, December 15, 2021 from 6 to 8 pm. Watch the video of the 12/15/21 meeting.

December 1, 2021 Meeting – A virtual meeting was held Wednesday, December 1, 2021 from 1 to 3 pm. Watch the video of the 12/1/21 meeting.

Documents from the December 1 meeting:

BART Board Districts Map Plan A
BART Board Districts Map Plan B
Table of BART District’s Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) by Race/Ethnicity
Table of Population by BART District, 1990-2030(estimate)

November 10, 2021 Meeting – The first virtual meeting was held Wednesday, November 10, 2021 from 1 to 3 pm. Watch the video of the 11/10/21 meeting.

Current District Maps and Early Drafts of Potential (Not Final) New Maps

District 1
Current District 1 Map
Potential new maps (not final):
District 1 Plan A
District 1 Plan B

District 2

Current District 2 Map
Potential new maps (not final):
District 2 Plan A
District 2 Plan B

District 3

Current District 3 Map
Potential new maps (not final):
District 3 Plan A
District 3 Plan B

District 4

Current District 4 Map
Potential new maps (not final):
District 4 Plan A
District 4 Plan B

District 5

Current District 5 Map
Potential new maps (not final):
District 5 Plan A
District 5 Plan B

District 6

Current District 6 Map
Potential new maps (not final):
District 6 Plan A
District 6 Plan B

District 7

Current District 7 Map
Potential new maps (not final):
District 7 Plan A
District 7 Plan B

District 8

Current District 8 Map
Potential new maps (not final):
District 8 Plan A
District 8 Plan B

District 9

Current District 9 Map
Potential new maps (not final):
District 9 Plan A
District 9 Plan B

Mapping Tools for Public Engagement

BART has rolled out mapping tools to enable public input for redistricting.

BART interactive mapping tool for redistricting: This tool gives residents the ability to create and share a Community of Interest and/or draft Board of Director districts. Map submissions will appear in the gallery on the main landing page, enabling residents to view public input for redistricting.

BART Districts and Demographic Data: This web mapping tool is for visualizing BART districts and demographic data.

In addition to the interactive mapping tool, BART is providing a Community Input Map to allow residents to identify and provide supplemental information regarding their Community of Interest. This feature can be used on a mobile device and is offered in English and Spanish (Español), providing residents with an app that can be used to submit community information in their language of choice. Explore these tools using the links below.

Community Input Map: English

Community Input Map: Spanish

Information about current District boundaries

BART 2011 Election Districts Final Report – Adopted 12/1/2011 (10 Mb .pdf file)
All BART Districts
Counties Included: Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco
Map: All BART Districts (.pdf file)

District: 1
Counties Included: Contra Costa
Cities Included: Acalanes Ridge, Alamo, Alhambra Valley, Blackhawk, Camino Tassajara, Castle Hill, Clayton, Concord, Contra Costa Centre, Danville, Diablo, Lafayette, Martinez, Mountain View, Norris Canyon, North Gate, Pacheco, Pleasant Hill, Port Costa, Reliez Valley, San Miguel, San Ramon, Saranap, Shell Ridge, Vine Hill, Walnut Creek
Map: BART District 1 (.pdf file)

District: 2
Counties Included: Contra Costa
Cities Included: Antioch, Bay Point, Bethel Island, Brentwood, Byron, Clyde, Concord, Discovery Bay, Knightsen, Oakley, Pacheco, Pittsburg, Vine Hill
Map: BART District 2 (.pdf file)

District: 3
Counties Included: Alameda, Contra Costa
Cities Included: Albany, Ashland, Berkeley, Castro Valley, Cherryland, El Cerrito, Kensington, Lafayette, Moraga, Oakland, Orinda, Piedmont, San Lorenzo
Map: BART District 3 (.pdf file)

District: 4
Counties Included: Alameda
Cities Included: Alameda, Oakland, San Leandro
Map: BART District 4 (.pdf file)

District: 5
Counties Included: Alameda
Cities Included: Castro Valley, Cherryland, Dublin, Fairview, Hayward, Livermore, Pleasanton, Sunol
Map: BART District 5 (.pdf file)

District: 6
Counties Included: Alameda
Cities Included: Fremont, Hayward (partial), Newark, Sunol, Union City
Map: BART District 6 (.pdf file)

District: 7
Counties Included: Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco
Cities Included: Albany, Bayview, Berkeley, Crockett, East Richmond Heights, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Hercules, Kensington, Montalvin Manor, North Richmond, Oakland, Pinole, Richmond, Rodeo, Rollingwood, San Francisco, San Pablo, Tara Hills
Map: BART District 7 (.pdf file)

District: 8
Cities Included: San Francisco
Counties Included: San Francisco
Map: BART District 8 (.pdf file)

District: 9
Cities Included: San Francisco
Counties Included: San Francisco
Map: BART District 9 (.pdf file)

Learn more at www.bart.gov/redistricting.

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Publisher @ January 15, 2022

Save Mount Diablo protects almost 154 critical open space acres on Mount Diablo

Posted in: News, Delta & Environment, Parks | Comments (0)

Aerial view of the nearly 154 acres of open space on Mount Diablo’s North Peak, owned by the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association, which has been permanently protected. Credit: Cooper Ogden.

Purchases land, uses conservation easement

By Queenie Li and Ted Clement, Save Mount Diablo  

In December 2019, Save Mount Diablo and the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association (CMDTRA) signed a two-year option agreement, giving Save Mount Diablo time to raise over $1.04 million to permanently protect almost 154 acres of open space on Mount Diablo’s North Peak with a conservation easement.

Save Mount Diablo raised the necessary funds. And on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, the parties closed escrow, with Save Mount Diablo successfully purchasing the conservation easement and thereby forever protecting this highly strategic land.

“We are so happy and grateful to start 2022 by permanently protecting almost 154 acres on Mount Diablo! The land that we just conserved is contiguous with Mount Diablo State Park and other lands protected by Save Mount Diablo. I want to thank our terrific Save Mount Diablo supporters and our wonderful partners at Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association for making this possible,” said Ted Clement, Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director.

This Mount Diablo open space land that was protected by Save Mount Diablo on January 11 had been vulnerable. More than 15 houses and other buildings had been constructed near the approximate 154 acres just conserved with a Save Mount Diablo conservation easement.

A conservation easement is a perpetual legal agreement between a landowner and a qualified organization, like a nonprofit land trust or government agency. It restricts future activities and development on the land to protect its conservation values for the benefit of the public.

The newly protected land will continue to be owned by the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association with Save Mount Diablo overseeing its conservation easement with annual monitoring.

“It is with great happiness and a sense of future vision that the Conservation Easement Agreement between the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association and Save Mount Diablo is signed. This agreement will assure that future generations will be able to fully enjoy the natural beauty of this area of California without the threat of development. Save Mount Diablo took into consideration the history of our equine needs while sculpting the agreement,” said Diane Jorgensen, CMDTRA Board member.

“It is almost surreal that after more than 15 years in the making, we are finalizing the Conservation Easement between Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association and Save Mount Diablo. This agreement affords us the security of knowing that a beautiful piece of the mountain will be forever protected from urban development without sacrificing land ownership,” said Elaine Baker, CMDTRA Board President. “The heritage of horses on Mt. Diablo can continue indefinitely. We are eternally grateful that Save Mount Diablo has been so supportive and patient, tirelessly navigating us through the entire process. I hope that other landowners will follow in our footsteps to protect their land too.”

“I would like to thank Ron Brown, Seth Adams and Ted Clement for their patience, determination and love for Mt Diablo that facilitated the formation of the unique Save Mount Diablo/CMDTRA Conservation Easement,” said Chris Barnhart, CMDTRA Board Treasurer. “This partnership allows all of us to protect this vital, beautiful piece of Mt Diablo for perpetuity while allowing CMDTRA to retain ownership and the right to use the property as we always have in the past and will in the future. This agreement took over 15 years to finalize. Save Mount Diablo was very supportive of the needs of CMDTRA and are a wonderful group of caring and dedicated people who are dedicated to preserving Mt Diablo in perpetuity for future generations to come. It is with pride and love for Mt Diablo that CMDTRA has agreed to place the Conservation Easement on 154 acres of CMDTRA land.”

The $1.04 million needed to purchase this permanent conservation easement, along with additional transaction costs, was raised through Save Mount Diablo’s Forever Wild Campaign, which was completed in 2021.

The mile-wide property is part of the “Missing Mile,” a square mile of privately owned open space land on Mount Diablo’s North Peak. The property is adjacent to Save Mount Diablo’s Young Canyon property and our North Peak Ranch project and is also surrounded by Mount Diablo State Park on three sides.

It rises from 1,100 feet to 2,010 feet with views from the Carquinez Strait and Suisun Bay to Lassen Peak and the Sierra Nevada Range.

The property’s rich biodiversity is due to the complicated geology of Mount Diablo’s main peaks, including serpentine soils that host dozens of rare plant species like the Mount Diablo globe lily.

The now protected property will help secure the extremely important Mount Diablo high peaks area local ecosystem and preserve the scenic value the mountain affords to countless numbers of people.

The Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association will keep a separate approximate 47 acres where the association’s buildings are located, next to the almost 154 acres of open space just conserved with Save Mount Diablo’s conservation easement.

­­­­­About Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association (CMDTRA)

Nestled on the northeast slope of Mt. Diablo, you’ll find one of the best kept secrets in the East Bay—the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association. CMDTRA is a family-oriented nonprofit organization founded in 1941 dedicated to horsemanship, land preservation, and fun! In 1959, CMDTRA purchased more than 500 undeveloped acres on Mount Diablo and began building trails, a clubhouse, residences, and other horse-related recreational facilities. In 1965, CMDTRA sold 312 acres to Mount Diablo State Park and retained about 200 acres. Learn more at https://www.cmdtra.org/.

About Save Mount Diablo

Save Mount Diablo is a nationally accredited, nonprofit land trust founded in 1971 with a mission

to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, watersheds, and connection to the Diablo Range through land acquisition and preservation strategies designed to protect the mountain’s natural beauty, biological diversity, and historic and agricultural heritage; enhance our area’s quality of life; and provide educational and recreational opportunities consistent with protection of natural resources. To learn more, please visit www.savemountdiablo.org.

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Publisher @ January 15, 2022

Volunteer today for Antioch’s annual MLK Day of Service Monday, Jan. 17

Posted in: Community, History | Comments (0)

Register to help beautify city parks during “A day on, not a day off”

Every third Monday in January of each year is observed as “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Day in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities!

On January 17, 2022, join the Antioch community in restoring, beautifying, and cleaning up our parks, including Antioch Community, Gentrytown Park, Prewett Family Park, and Waldie Plaza!

Registration required at activenet.active.com/antiochrecreation.

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Publisher @ January 14, 2022

Antioch Police staffing currently down 21 sworn officers

Posted in: News, Police & Crime | Comments (0)

Authorized to have 115 to 121 sworn officers on the force, currently 94 are at “full duty” status; below 1 officer per 1,000 population; state average greater than 2 officers per 1,000, national average of 2.4

By Allen Payton

Th Antioch Police Department is down 21 and as much as 27 sworn officers from what the city council has authorized of between 115 and 121, as of Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. In addition, there are currently no lateral officers in process that could be hired from other departments.

Plus, the city council, in spite of increases in tax revenue of $5.6 million and $8.7 million in this and next years’ budgets, did not include the hiring of any additional officers. Although District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker has asked for four more officers to be hired for her district,  District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica called for adding six more officers over the next two years and requested the hiring of additional police officers be placed on a council meeting agenda, and District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock was the only one to vote against the current, two-year budget because it didn’t include funding for any additional police officers, Mayor Lamar Thorpe has refused to agendize the matter. (See related articles here, here and here)

Current Antioch Police Staffing

In response to questions about police staffing, Captain Trevor Schnitzius wrote, “We are currently staffed at 109 sworn-police officers (authorized to 115) with Council approval to over hire by six (in theory 121).  We have 15 Officers on various leaves which places us at 94 officers at “full duty” status (this number is current as of today and can fluctuate due to injuries and staff returning to work from injuries).  We had two applicants formally withdraw from our hiring process in recent months.  We do not currently have any lateral police officers in process with our department, but that can change at any time.”

“It is not at all unusual for this time of year just coming out of the Holiday Season and heading into the New Year to experience a lull in applicants, it’s typically one of our slowest times of the year for recruiting,” he continued. “We have three new police officer trainees that started the Academy in January, and we maintain continuous, open recruitments for lateral, academy grad, and police trainee positions.  Our agency is still offering a $10,000 hiring bonus for lateral officers dispersed over benchmark timeframes.”

“It’s still an extremely competitive market for qualified police officer candidates these days.  Our recruiting challenges are not unique to us, and we still have a ton to offer as one of the premier law enforcement agencies in our area.”

Less Than One Officer Per Thousand Population

That leaves the city with only 1.0 officer per 1,000 population authorized based on the 2020 Census figure of 115,291 and less than 0.82 officers per thousand at full duty. The goal has been to achieve 1.2 officer per thousand since the mid-1990’s. That’s well below the approximate 2.0 officers per thousand statewide as of 2019 statistics. “Nationwide, the rate of sworn officers was 2.4 per 1,000 inhabitants” in 2019, according to an FBI report.

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Publisher @ January 14, 2022

Antioch Mayor Thorpe uses racist term to promote recall campaign fundraiser roast Friday calling proponents “Karens”

Posted in: News, Politics & Elections | Comments (0)

Promotion for Mayor Thorpe’s roast fundraiser for his recall campaign committee on Friday night Jan. 14, 2022, showing host committee members and roasters and name of committee using racist “Karen” term on the Eventbrite site.

“Lamar Thorpe is clearly lashing out with disrespectful and racist verbiage to distract voters from pointed examples of his failed leadership” – recall supporter Alicia Taylor

Other elected officials listed as roasters or on the host committee refuse to denounce rhetoric

“I find it infuriating he’s calling us all Karens and furthering the racial divide in our city.” –recall proponent David Amezcua

Fundraiser announcement showing State Treasurer Fiona Ma as one of the participants posted on one of Thorpe’s social media pages. Source: Arne Simonsen

By Allen Payton

In expectation of his recall qualifying for the ballot, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe is planning to raise funds by hosting a roast of himself Friday night, Jan. 14. On the fundraiser’s Eventbrite site the description refers to the proponents and supporters as “a small group of #Karens”. In addition, the name of Thorpe’s campaign committee is, “Stop the #KAREN Recall of Mayor Lamar Thorpe”.

According to Dictionary.com, “Karen is a pejorative slang term for an obnoxious, angry, entitled, and often racist middle-aged white woman who uses her privilege to get her way or police other people’s behaviors. In 2020, Karen spread as a label used to call out white women who were captured in viral videos engaging in what are widely seen as racist acts.”

The invite posted in December reads: “As Mayor Thorpe’s first year draws to a close, a small group of #Karens–who didn’t support his bid for Mayor in the first place–are now trying to undo the will of the voters.

Are we surprised? Hardly. We sent Mayor Thorpe to City Hall in order to upset the status quo–and, boy, are they upset!

He’s made it crystal clear from day one–the days of a small group of special interests trying to manipulate City Hall were over the moment he was elected.

Together, we still have important work to do! We hope you’ll join us at Mayor Thorpe’s next fundraiser. This event promises to be a lot of laughs, and we look forward to seeing you there.”

According to the Eventbrite site, the list of those scheduled to roast Thorpe are State Treasurer Fiona Ma, Congressman Jerry McNerney, State Senator Steve Glazer, Antioch District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson and Contra Costa Community College Board District 4 Trustee Andy Li. In a promotion of the event on Thorpe’s official Facebook page, not his campaign page, he announced Congressman Mark DeSaulnier is part of the host committee. In another promotion of the event on Sunday, Thorpe announced Congressman John Garamendi, who is running for re-election to represent part of Antioch in the newly drawn 8th District, has joined the event’s host committee, as well.

Fundraiser announcement showing Congressmen DeSaulnier and McNerney as participants posted on one of Thorpe’s social media pages. Source: Arne Simonsen

“Unexpected call from former CA Lt. Governor and current Congressman John Garamendi earlier today,” the mayor wrote. “He recently learned about the #Karen recall effort in Antioch. He reached out to let me know that he’s standing with me to protect the progress Antioch has made in working to house our nieghbors [sic] without houses, police reform, building youth programs, launch our mental health crisis response team, and Chinese reconciliation efforts.”

“He’s now part of the host committee and will be in attendance Friday. Help me put this noise behind us by making a donation today,” Thorpe added.

Proponents Say Thorpe is Race-Baiting

The use of the racist term used by Thorpe in the name of his committee, as well as what he’s claiming are the reasons why they’re recalling him is what has some proponents and other Antioch residents supporting the effort upset at him and those supporting him as roasters and event hosts. The 20 proponents who signed Thorpe’s recall notice include women and men who are White, Hispanic and Black.

“It is despicable that Thorpe and his followers are calling those leading the recall ‘Karens’,” said Arne Simonsen, one of the recall organizers. “

Asked if he thinks Thorpe is race-baiting by using that term, Simonsen responded, “Yes, he is. And the overwhelming number of proponents for his recall are registered Democrats!”

When reached for comment and asked if she is Hispanic, recall organizer Kathy Cabrera responded, “My hubby (one of the recall proponents) is, which means my children are and I am highly offended by his calling us Karens. My family is a melting pot. I’m white, Husband Latino, Children Latino, Foster son I raised is black And I have a transgender child. I am sooooo not racist.

It’s my belief that Thorpe thinks this recall is being run by Republican “Karens” and I want to set the record straight – in fact the proponents are a group of Bi-Partisan individuals – some of which who even voted for Thorpe but have been disappointed in his actions this first year in office.

Regarding Garamendi’s participation, Cabrera wrote, “I wonder if he is aware that Thorpe is deeming this event as ‘The Stop the Karen’s recall’ event? Basically, that he is calling his constituents ‘Karen’s’ which is offensive. Because us ‘Karens ’ are also HIS constituents, and we will remember this when it comes time to vote.”

Promotion for Mayor Thorpe’s roast fundraiser for his recall campaign committee on Friday night Jan. 14, 2022, showing host committee members and roasters and the name of his campaign committee (encircled in red) using the racist “Karen” term.

“One of the Thorpe Recall Proponents reached out to Mark DeSaulnier and stated that Mark DeSaulnier endorsed his original candidacy, he is not supporting this current climate nor is he aware that his picture or likeness is being utilized in this manner,” Cabrera continued. “Fiona Ma and Jerry McNerney are the same.”

“Many of us have been calling and emailing them all morning. Now, let’s see if these politicians still back him,” she added.

Another supporter of Thorpe’s recall, Julia Gonzalez, shared her thoughts writing, “I am also part of the Recall Thorpe group. I am also offended by the mayor calling us ‘KARENS’.”

Fundraiser announcement showing Congressmen DeSaulnier and McNerney as participants. Source: Thorpe’s official Facebook page.

“I am first-generation Hispanic, my ex-husband is from Mexico. My four children are first- and second- generation Hispanic and I’m also a proud mother and grandmother of a past and currently present U.S. Navy Servicemen,” she continued. “Lamar Thorpe is not Hispanic, just raised by a foster family that were. Anyone can learn the language. He’s a disrespectful Navy veteran that won’t even salute the flag at any event especially at the Veterans Memorial which there is a picture of this for proof.”

“When has it been tolerated to call citizens names like ‘Karens’ or heckling people in public?” Gonzalez asked. “He’s an embarrassment to our city, to our citizens and especially to all our servicemen, veterans and our country. I SUPPORT RECALL LAMAR THORPE 2022.”

Recall proponent, Velma Wilson wrote, “In response to the Mayor calling the proponents who signed the Recall against him ‘Karens’ I find it rather offensive and outright disrespectful. Myself and my husband are appalled by some of the behavior this mayor has displayed.”

“As African American residents we have raised our children to not only serve the community but to respect those in authority,” she continued. “It’s amazing as we prepare to celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. how his message of hope, peace, love and unity have been glossed over. Dr. King died trying to unify not divide. I say to Mayor Thorpe, you have failed the people of Antioch because of your lack of wisdom to support unifying the community.”

Fundraiser announcement showing State Senator Steve Glazer as a participant posted on Thorpe’s TikTok account on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022.

“I am not and never will be a ‘Karen’. I serve this community with my time and talent and yes, I am not afraid to speak on what is right,” Wilson shared. “Dr. King, once said, ‘The time is always right to do what is right.’ Lamar could start right now by doing a small part to treat people with dignity, courtesy and respect and stop spreading hatred and bigotry.”

“I am a first generation Mexican-American male that was born in Oakland and raised in Richmond and am one of the 20 proponents of the mayoral recall attempt,” David Amezcua wrote in response. “I find it infuriating he’s calling us all Karens and furthering the racial divide in our city.  It’s just a way to deflect from the real issues and try to discredit those of us that want him removed.”

Another resident, Alicia Taylor, shared her frustrations with the mayor and calling out his racism, and sharing photos of her African-American grandparents in a post on the Recall Lamar Thorpe Facebook page, writing, “I voted for the wrong man. I thought Lamar Thorpe understood our city and state. We are a melting pot of many ethnicities. We come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. I was wrong about him, and I feel like a victim of false advertising.”

Fundraiser announcement showing Community College Board District 4 Trustee (no longer president as of Dec. 8) as a participant posted on Thorpe’s TikTok account on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022.

“Lamar Thorpe is clearly lashing out with disrespectful and racist verbiage to distract voters from pointed examples of his failed leadership,” she continued. “Lamar Thorpe, you DO NOT know the constituents of Antioch. It is disappointing to see your disrespectful, self-serving agenda, and racist behavior produced by you, on social media. I hope everyone remembers your authentic smile displayed here when I’m out with the RECALL petitions.”

“Never assume, Lamar Thorpe,” Taylor wrote. “Effie Crenchaw Lee (only gma I knew) attended and worked for Dunbar High School in Little Rock, AR. She had to pay poll tax but couldn’t vote. She was a woman and a negro. Additionally, her cousin went on to represent a big part of black history.”

“Horace James Lee, (only gpa I knew) was one of twelve born on a farm in Edison, GA,” she continued. “On his way to fulfill his military orders from NY to Monterey, CA, he was denied rest / shelter because he was black, and with a white woman. Additionally, his aunt went on to represent black history, too.”

“You are attempting to divide MY FAMILY and MY NEIGHBORS with the old racist black and white show. DENIED. You can disagree with someone without being disrespectful. That’s a leadership quality you have forgotten sir. Do better,” Taylor added.

Questions for Thorpe, Host Committee Members, Roasters

Fundraiser announcement showing Antioch District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson as a participant posted on Thorpe’s TikTok account on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022.

Questions were sent via email Tuesday afternoon to Thorpe and each of the roasters and members of the host committee or their representatives asking if they are aware of the racist connotation of the term “Karen”. In addition, they were provided with a copy of Thorpe’s recall notice which lists the 20 proponents and reasons for his recall, asking, “are you claiming the proponents and other supporters of your recall are racists and trying to remove you from office because you’re Black? Are you not aware that the list of 20 proponents on your recall notice includes women and men who are White, Hispanic and Black, and some voted for you in 2020, some are Democrats who no doubt voted for some of those on the host committee and/or are roasters? Do you really believe all those Antioch community leaders and residents are racists and oppose you because of your ethnicity or skin color?” (See related article)

The reasons given for the recall, listed in the notice and on the petitions currently circulating for signature gathering, which mention nothing about Thorpe’s ethnicity nor skin color, are as follows:

“Disrespect for Council Members and the Public who disagree with you during City Council meetings. Blocking constituents and not allowing them to comment on your social media. You have failed to provide full support to the great men and women of the Antioch Police which is impeding their ability to keep our residents safe. As a result of your failed leadership it has led to the resignation of Police Chief Tammany Brooks who will be taking up a new post in Boise, Idaho; and the announced retirement of City Manager Ron Bernal. You put on the Council agenda to rescind the School Resource Officer Grant without any public input from the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) Board or Administration after the Officers had been interviewed and selected. You misled the Public about when you were informed about the death of Angelo Quintos, when you had earlier received an email from Chief Brooks. You blamed business owners on Sycamore Drive for the crimes that are being committed by others that live nearby which does not reflect Antioch’s theme: ‘Opportunity Lives Here’.”

Finally, the other elected officials participating in the event were asked, “do you agree with Lamar calling the supporters of his recall racists, and think it’s appropriate or funny to support his fundraiser with that in the description?”

Garamendi Unaware of Use of “Karen” Term

Garamendi’s chief of staff, Bradley Bottoms responded, saying, “the congressman was asked to help Lamar which he agreed to do. But he wasn’t aware” of the use of the term “Karen” in Thorpe’s campaign committee name or promotion for the fundraiser. “It’s not his intention to offend anyone.”

Additional attempts to reach Garamendi or Bottoms, including a call and text on Thursday afternoon, for further comment were unsuccessful.

DeSaulnier Continues Support for Thorpe, Falsely Claim He Won by “Substantial Majority” in 2020

DeSaulnier responded with a statement that reads, “It’s clear to me that many recall campaigns are now being used as political weapons to undermine the will of the voters in free and fair elections. I support Mayor Lamar Thorpe, who was elected by a substantial majority in 2020 to represent the city and people of Antioch.  The recall effort against him in a non-election year is a total waste of taxpayer money.”

However, Thorpe received less than a majority of the vote with 44.44% in the November 2020 election according to the Contra Costa Elections Division of the county clerk’s office.

Pressed further, asking the congressman what he had to say about Thorpe’s use of the racist term “Karen” to describe his recall proponents and supporters, DeSaulnier did not respond.

Thorpe posted a video on his Instagram account about a woman being called a “Karen” on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. Source: Kathy Cabrera

Thorpe Doubles and Triples Down

Thorpe posted a video on his Instagram account about “Karens” on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. Source: Kathy Cabrera

Thorpe responded to the emailed questions writing, “The host committee is hosting the Roast of Mayor Lamar Thorpe. I’m characterizing the recall effort as a #karen recall because that’s exactly what it is.”

A follow up question was sent to the mayor, “So, just to clarify, you are calling the recall proponents and supporters racists and you believe they’re working to recall you because you’re Black?” But he did not respond.

Then on Tuesday, Jan. 11, Thorpe continued with his racist rhetoric by posting on his Instagram account a video of him laughing at a woman being called a “Karen”.

The event will be held at La Plazuela Restaurant in Antioch from 7:00-9:00 PM. Ticket prices are listed as $50 – #LOL, $100 – #bellylaugh, $250 – #one-liner and $400 – #heckler. As of Thursday evening the roast’s Eventbrite site shows it is sold out.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

 

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Publisher @ January 13, 2022

Antioch Police ask public’s help locating murder suspect in Nov. gas station shooting

Posted in: News, Police & Crime | Comments (0)

Source: APD

By Antioch Police Department

Antioch Police Detectives are requesting help in locating murder suspect Robert Mathews. A felony warrant has been issued for his arrest for first degree murder and attempted murder with gang enhancements.

On Nov. 10, 2021, Matthews shot and killed Johnta White in an unprovoked attack, in the middle of the day, at a busy gas station on Lone Tree Way. (See related article)

Another suspect in the shooting was arrested in December and is currently in custody. (See related article)

Matthews is described as a black male, 23 years old, 5’10”, 200lbs, with black hair and brown eyes.

Matthews is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached. Anyone with information with his whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Whitaker at (925) 779-6890.

 

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Contra Costa College Board votes for gerrymandered redistricting map protecting incumbents, splitting more cities

Posted in: News, Politics & Elections, Contra Costa County, Education | Comments (0)

The approved new Contra Costa Community College Trustee Ward Boundaries Map showing the location of high schools in the county, except for Deer Valley High School in Antioch. The name of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School, also located in Antioch, is misspelled. Source: 4CD

4-0-1 vote approves staff drawn map keeping boundaries significantly the same as current, politically drawn wards map from 2011; leaves portions of Antioch in same ward with most of the San Ramon Valley

By Allen Payton

The Contra Costa Community College board, on a 4-0-1 vote, approved a final redistricting, staff-drawn map that keeps the ward boundaries significantly gerrymandered, protecting each of the incumbents for re-election. Ward 5 Trustee Fernando Sandoval voted to abstain. During a public hearing on Ward Equalization Based on the 2020 Census at their regular meeting Wednesday night, the trustees reviewed three maps drawn by district staff, and only one member of the public, a former trustee, spoke. The new wards will go into effect for this year’s November elections, in which both Ward 3 Trustee Rebecca Barrett and Ward 4 Trustee Andy Li face re-election if they decide to run.

In addition, the board again discussed the “Public employee discipline/dismissal/release/complaint” of Chancellor Bryan Reece during a special meeting at 5:00 p.m. But no reportable action was taken during the closed session.

During the staff presentation on redistricting, Executive Vice Chancellor for Education and Technology Mojdeh Mehdizadeh said, “This is the fourth meeting we’ve held in order to achieve equalization” which was the main focus of the staff-drawn maps. Those include a Community Roundtable on Ward Redistricting on Jan. 6.

“You wanted to see more maps and interactive maps, you wanted to have the high school markers placed on the maps and more time for public input,” she continued. “We also asked the public for more input through an online survey…which went live on Dec. 17. We received a total of 12 responses.”

Three maps were offered to the public, two that are very similar to the current wards map, and one similar to the map that the county Board of Supervisors adopted, with a significantly gerrymandered Ward 2 which is very different than Supervisorial District 5. (See related article)

“Nearly 60% (7 people) indicated that Map 2 is the favored map. Map 3 was the least favored map. About 75% of respondents (8 or 9 people) said it was the least favorite,” Mehdizadeh stated. “We continue to offer Map 2 as the best map.”

That was the same map she and the district’s attorney recommended previously.

The three proposed maps show the locations of the high schools in the county except for Deer Valley High School in Antioch and misspelled the name of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School, also in Antioch.

Splits More Cities

While the new trustee ward map has a total population deviation of just 1.7% between wards – which is closer to the intent of the Constitution of ensuring one-person-one-vote – it keeps things pretty much the same as the 2011 map. It continues to split Antioch, Brentwood and Pittsburg in East County, Martinez, Concord, Walnut Creek and now, one of the county’s smallest cities, Clayton, in Central County, and in West County, instead of splitting Pinole, as the current map does, the new map splits Hercules.

Public Comments

Former board trustee Greg Enholm was the only person to speak during public comments saying, “as a Trustee for 2012 to 2020 I did not participate in the ward equalization process for the 2000 and 2010 Census data. But I was affected as a candidate for the subsequent 2006 and 2010 Ward 3 elections created from the 2000 Census Data and the 2012, 2016, and 2020 elections created from the 2010 Census Data.”

“I have been a candidate in five contested elections being elected in two,” he continued. “I have had many opportunities to interact as a candidate with the approximately 200,000 4CD constituents each in Wards 3 and 5 as well as eight years being accountable to all one million 4CD constituents. I believe that the voters must select their representatives not the reverse. I hope that all five trustees agree with that statement and will ask that staff prevent or at least reveal any inappropriate effort by any current or prior trustee to use ward equalization to primarily improve their opportunity to be re-elected or affect any current or prior trustee’s opportunities to be a successful candidate using the 2000, 2010, and/or 2020 ward equalization process.”

Enholm provided each of the trustees with a copy of his comments on the three maps proposed by staff.

“Please read my comment below on all three proposed maps and ask staff if they have assured that the 2000 and 2010 ward maps were created in full compliance with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations in effect when they were adopted,” he said.

Trustee Comments

Ward 3 Trustee Fernando Sandoval was the only member of the board to speak, asking, “Can you tell me the implications for adopting each map? Can we respond to Mr. Enholm’s question…if the maps were created fairly.”

All three maps comply with population balance, Mehdizadeh pointed out.

“Map number 1 is a slight variation of the first one we presented you,” she said. “As it pertains to the second map, we attempted to keep as many cities as tight knit.”

However, both proposed Maps 1 and 2 split more cities than the current ward map.

“The third map was a request that came from the December meeting…that the Board of Supervisors had adopted their map…that was a consideration, as well,” Mehdizadeh stated.

In response to Sandoval she said, “Your question about the 2000 and 2010 process, I personally was not involved in the 2000 process.”

Mehdizadeh again spoke of population balance.

“In 2010 I can tell you I was directly involved,” she stated. “We worked closely with our legal counsel…we spent quality time with our governing board to get public input.”

“Our county Office of Education chose to adopt the same map,” Mehdizadeh added. “That showed a reduction in costs” for printing and mailing ballots during elections.

“I do know they have a meeting on the 19th,” Sandoval said referring to the county Board of Education. “But this year they hired their own demographer. I don’t know why. Is there a reason we wouldn’t wait for them to come back? We want to make sure the alignment is consistent. Would it be prudent to wait until they vote on a final recommendation?”

“That could be our challenge,” Mehdizadeh responded. “Our maps have to be approved by the end of February. It really is who ultimately who votes and makes a determination of their maps. They have been working closely with us, as staff. They are very well apprised of the timelines. It really is up to the board.”

With no other comments by the trustees Board President and District 2 Trustee Judy Walters closed the public hearing.

Board Adopts Map 2

Then later during the meeting, under NonConsent Agenda – Action Items – Miscellaneous, on a motion by Trustee Li and seconded by Ward 1 Trustee John Marquez, the board voted 4-0-1 to adopt Map 2. Sandoval voted to abstain. Student Trustee Austin Green also voted for the motion, but the vote is advisory, only.

However, the resolution signed by both Walters and Marquez, who is the Board Secretary, incorrectly shows Sandoval voted for the map and Marquez voted to abstain. 4CD adopted Ward Equalization Resolution 0122-20B-MI – incorrect

When reached for comment about the mistake Sandoval said “that’s wrong. I’ll call John Marquez.”

When informed of the mistake, Marquez said, “I’ll call the staff member who handles that, Pat (Kaya) and get it corrected, right away.”

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Publisher @ January 13, 2022