Antioch Police Oversight Committee to consider ban on restraints, changes to chief hiring process, use of force policy Tuesday afternoon

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

All five council members serving on committee, will make recommendations to themselves; will council choose new chief instead of city manager?

By Allen Payton

Acting as the Police Oversight Standing Committee, the entire Antioch City Council will consider voting to recommend to themselves a “policy banning restraints, holds, tactics and maneuvers that pose a substantial risk of positional asphyxia”, changes to the “police chief recruitment and hiring process”, as well as Antioch Police Department Policy 300: Use of Force”.  The meetings are now held before the council’s second regular meeting of the month on the fourth Tuesday, and tomorrow’s will be begin at 4:00 p.m.

The committee was to only consist of District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker, who serves as chair, and District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, who serves as vice chair. However, this will be the fourth meeting of the committee with all five council members included, although according to the minutes of the committee’s July 13th meeting, Mayor Lamar Thorpe “stated he asked for the entire City Council to attend, and it will be temporary.”  (See agenda)

For the first two agenda items the recommended action is for the committee “to recommend that the City Council approve a policy by formal action at a regular meeting of the Antioch City Council” or “provide direction to staff to revise the policy in accordance with the standing committee’s instructions.” The third item only includes the option to “accept the presentation”.

Ban On Restraints

According to the staff report on the item, “during the Regular Council Meeting on August 24, 2021, the City Council directed the City Manager and the City Attorney to work with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Police Oversight Standing Committee and the Antioch Police Department to develop a new policy.”

A draft policy, on banning restraints potentially causing positional asphyxia that could result in unconsciousness or death, is included with Tuesday’s meeting agenda. The staff report reads, “Command Staff and subject matter experts from the Antioch Police Department researched existing Positional Asphyxia policies from around the world, including medical expert opinions on the matter. In addition, the City team examined federal and state laws which guide law enforcement use of force along with reports on industry best practices.

On September 7, 2021, staff met with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Police Oversight Standing Committee to review the gathered materials and receive further guidance. A draft Positional Asphyxia Policy was created and underwent further revision by Police Department staff.”

Furthermore, according to the staff report, “The Police Department contracts with a company called Lexipol which designs web-based policy manuals and training for law enforcement agencies all over the United States. Lexipol further provides a full library of customizable, state-specific law enforcement policies that are updated in response to new state and federal laws and court decisions. Through multiple meetings, the consensus of the City team was that this policy should exist as a stand-alone policy. The…Positional Asphyxia Policy was drafted in Lexipol and is consistent with federal and state guidance as well as industry best practices.”

Following are the “Positional Asphyxia Requirements” in section 3 of the draft policy:

“Officers shall comply with the following conduct concerning positional asphyxia: a) A person lying on their stomach in a face-down position may have difficulty breathing. An officer shall only physically force a person to a face down position when reasonably necessary to do so to protect the safety of the person, the officer, or pedestrians.

b) Immediately following the application of force or restraint of a person, and as soon as it is safe to do so, officers shall position a person in a recovery or seated position to allow for free breathing and to avoid positional asphyxia.

c) Any body-to-body contact or officers’ placement of weight on a person must be transitory. Officers shall not forcibly hold down or place weight on a prone person any longer than reasonably necessary to safely restrain the person. As soon as practicable, an officer’s weight on a person shall be removed. Officers shall be aware of the amount and duration of any weight placed on a person.

d) If officers hold a person down while restraining them, officers shall avoid placing weight on the person’s neck or head which can fracture the hyoid bone or cervical spine. No more than two officers shall place weight on a person’s upper body or torso. If additional assistance is needed, an additional officer or officers may restrain a person’s limbs to restrict their movement.

e) Once officers safely restrain a person, officers shall not sit, kneel, stand, or place their weight on a person’s chest, back, stomach, or shoulders.

f) Officers must inquire about a restrained person’s well-being, including, but not limited to, that person’s recent use of drugs, any cardiac condition, or any respiratory conditions or diseases. Officers shall recognize and respond to risks such as the person saying that they “can’t breathe”, gurgling or gasping sounds, panic, prolonged resistance, the lack of resistance, etc. Officers must be aware of environmental factors, including the nature and temperature of the surface on which they are restraining a person. For example, holding a person down on a hot surface, or in mud or water, can cause other injury or impair breathing.

g) If a person continues to resist after being restrained, officers must check if any resistance is related to a person’s difficulty breathing. When a person has their breathing restricted, the person may struggle more. What officers perceive as resistance may be an indication that the person is struggling to breathe.

h) Officers shall share any relevant information regarding a person’s condition, medical condition, what has transpired during their interaction, or any information about drug or alcohol use, which might be medically relevant, to other officers, personnel, or individuals administering medical aid. If there has been any restriction to a person’s breathing, such information is medically relevant and shall be shared at the first practical opportunity.

Persons who exhibit extreme agitation, violent irrational behavior accompanied by profuse sweating, extraordinary strength beyond their physical characteristics and imperviousness to pain, may be experiencing a serious medical condition and at risk of sudden death. Calls involving these persons should be considered medical emergencies. Officers who reasonably suspect a medical emergency should request medical assistance as soon as practicable and have medical personnel stage away if appropriate.”

New Police Chief Hiring Process

According to the staff report, Torres-Walker “requested that this item be placed on the agenda”. In addition, city “staff prepared a description of the City Manager’s recruitment and hiring process for the Chief of Police. The steps are described as follows:

  1. Work in tandem with the Human Resources Department to review and update the job description and salary for the position as appropriate. Any changes to either would require City Council approval.
  2. If an in-house candidate(s) exists, determine whether an internal or external recruitment best serves City goals and agency needs.
  3. If an internal recruitment is the selected pathway, publish minimum qualifications, open the application process and establish the candidate pool. Review applications and invite qualifying applicants to the interview process.
  4. If an external recruitment is the selected pathway, initiate the RFP process to solicit and select an executive search firm to conduct the recruitment. Once a firm is selected, contribute to brochure content and work with firm to establish the overall timeline and approach. Once adequate applicant pool is achieved, review applications and identify candidates for interview.
  5. Utilize a panel interview format comprised of different audiences – city managers, public safety executives, department heads, police department personnel and community members.
  6. Once the panel interview process informs the ranking of candidates, City Manager interviews the top candidate(s).
  7. Conditional offer of employment is made to the top candidate.
  8. Conduct a thorough background check which includes, credit history, criminal background, professional and personal references, neighbors. If an external candidate is selected, may visit finalist’s current / last place of employment to gather additional information.
  9. Upon clearance of all conditions, make and announce appointment.”

Council To Hire New Chief? Choice Already Decided?

From ICCMA.

As a council-manager form of government, it is the responsibility of the city manager to hire the police chief, as one of the city’s department heads. The council hires the city attorney and city manager, and the latter hires all the department heads. Sometimes that’s done with input and/or approval by the council, other times not. According to the International City/County Management Association, “the elected officials hire a professional city, town, or county manager” and the manager, “recruits, hires, supervises, and terminates government staff”.

However, the word on the street is that some council members want the city council to choose the next chief to replace former Chief Tammany Brooks, who recently retired and accepted a position with the City of Boise, Idaho. In addition, while Antioch Police Captain Tony Morefield, as previously reported by the Herald, is the acting chief, one name floated to be the city’s next police chief is that of Cornelius “Con” Johnson, a retired San Francisco Police lieutenant. He was introduced last November, as a member of then-mayor-elect Thorpe’s “transition advisory team” to co-chair police reform, along with City Attorney Thomas Lloyd Smith.

Use of Force Policy

According to the staff report for the item, Torres-Walker “requested a presentation and review of the Antioch Police Department’s current Use of Force Policy”, as well. Lexipol was also used to develop it, as the department has contracted the company for the past six years, and the “Use of Force Policy…is consistent with federal and state guidance as well as industry best practices”.

The policy “provides guidelines on the reasonable use of force”. Furthermore, section 1, the Purpose and Scope of the policy reads, “while there is no way to specify the exact amount or type of reasonable force to be applied in any situation, every member of this department is expected to use these guidelines to make such decisions in a professional, impartial, and reasonable manner (Government Code § 7286).

In addition to those methods, techniques, and tools set forth below, the guidelines for the reasonable application of force contained in this policy shall apply to all policies addressing the potential use of force, including but not limited to the Control Devices and Techniques and Conducted Electrical Weapon (i.e. taser) policies.”

The nine-page policy includes information on a De-escalation Requirement, Factors Used to Determine the Reasonableness of Force, Pain Compliance Techniques, Alternative Tactics – De-escalation, Deadly Force Applications, Shooting At or From a Moving Vehicle, Display of Firearms; Reporting the Use of Force including Notification to Supervisors and to the California Department of Justice; Medical Consideration and assistance; Responsibility of Supervisors including Watch and Bureau Commanders; Training and Policy Availability for access by the public.

How To Provide Public Comment

Notice of Opportunity to Address the Standing Committee

Members of the public wishing to provide public comment may do so in the following way:

1) Prior to 3PM the Day of the Meeting – Written comments may be submitted electronically to the following email address: policeoversight@antiochca.gov. All comments received before 3PM the day of the meeting will be provided to the Police Oversight Standing Committee at the meeting. Please indicate the agenda item and title in your email subject line.

2) After 3PM the Day of the Meeting and During the Meeting: Oral comments can be submitted to the Police Reform Oversight Committee during the meeting with advance registration. You may register and attend the webinar by visiting   https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Qfj08tzhQg2lOh01zllM4w

– You will be asked to enter an email address and a name. Your email address will not be disclosed to the public. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to connect to the meeting.

– When the public comments are announced, click the “raise hand” feature in Zoom. For instructions on using the “raise hand” feature in Zoom, visit: https://www.antiochca.gov/raise_hand.

– When calling into the meeting using the Zoom Webinar telephone number, press *9 on your telephone keypad to “raise your hand”.

Please ensure your Zoom client is updated so staff can enable your microphone when it is your turn to speak. Please be advised that the City cannot guarantee that its network and/or the site will be uninterrupted. To ensure that the Standing Committee receives your comments, you are strongly encouraged to submit your comments in writing in advance of the meeting.

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Publisher @ September 27, 2021

PG&E disputes Shasta County criminal charges related to 2020 Zogg Fire

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

2020 Zogg Fire statistics. Source: CalFire

SAN FRANCISCO — PG&E Corporation shared the following statement from CEO Patti Poppe today, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021 regarding criminal charges filed by the Shasta County District Attorney’s office related to the September 2020 Zogg Fire. The utility company was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of four people, and other felonies and misdemeanors for the Zogg Fire and other fires that started in the county over the last year and a half.

“We are all devastated by the effects of wildfire here in California. My heart aches. I have seen firsthand how devastating it is and have spoken with many of those most harmed. These communities are the hometowns where my coworkers live and work, too. While I am new to this environment, I hope my heart never becomes hardened to the devastation that catastrophic wildfire can cause.

I came to PG&E to make it right and make it safe, which is a commitment that my 40,000 coworkers and contract partners all share. We’ve already resolved many victim claims arising from the Zogg Fire, along with the claims by the counties of Shasta and Tehama. And we are working hard to resolve the remaining claims.

We’ve accepted CAL FIRE’s determination, reached earlier this year, that a tree contacted our electric line and started the Zogg Fire. We accept that conclusion.  But we did not commit a crime.

Today’s climate and unprecedented drought have forever changed the relationship between trees and power lines. And please know we’re not sitting idly by. We have established a new standard for our lines and the vegetation near them because it poses such a real risk to our communities.

For example, on the Zogg Fire, the tree that started the fire is one of over 8 million trees within striking distance to our lines. Here are a few other facts.

Between October 2018 and last year’s Zogg Fire:

  • Two trained arborists walked this line and independent of one another determined the tree in question could stay.
  • We trimmed or removed over 5,000 trees on this very circuit alone.
  • This year we will remove 300,000 trees statewide.

This vital safety work is all done by real people who are trying every day to do the right thing. Trained, professional people – my PG&E coworkers and our extended contractor family. Arborists, specifically, are trained professionals and sometimes, just like doctors or architects, they can have professional differences. There will be debates about the facts around the tree that started the Zogg Fire. Professional debate in the service of doing what is right and continuously improving.

This was a tragedy, four people died. And my coworkers are working so hard to prevent fires and the catastrophic losses that come with them. They have dedicated their careers to it, criminalizing their judgment is not right. Failing to prevent this fire is not a crime.

Right now, PG&E is:

  • Investing more than $1.4 billion this year alone in vegetation management;
  • Removing 300,000 trees and trimming 1 million more;
  • We’re working toward burying 10,000 miles of power lines;
  • We’re installing remote and micro grids to eliminate the wires altogether; and
  • We’re reestablishing and building our system to a new standard of resilience that keeps our communities safe and powered as our climate continues to change around us.

We are seeing signs of progress. For example, even during this year, with extreme drought conditions, we have reduced our ignitions over 50%.

That is our best ever performance since we have been tracking this and yet, we are still dissatisfied. That’s why we are not going to stop there.

We’re putting everything we’ve got into preventing wildfires and reducing the risk. Though it may feel satisfying for the company of PG&E to be charged with a crime, what I know is the company of PG&E is people,  40,000 people who get up every day to make it safe and to end catastrophic wildfire and tragedies like this.

Let’s be clear, my coworkers are not criminals.  We welcome our day in court so people can learn just that.”

Poppe’s statement is also available on PG&E Currents and broadcast quality video is available here.

Details about PG&E’s efforts to further reduce the growing wildfire risk, harden its systems, and use new technologies to help keep its communities safe can be found in the company’s 2021 Wildfire Mitigation Plan.

About PG&E Corporation

PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG) is the parent company of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E or the “Utility”), a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pgecorp.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements that are not historical facts, including statements about the beliefs, expectations, estimates, future plans and strategies of PG&E Corporation and the Utility, including but not limited to the criminal charges filed in connection with the 2020 Zogg fire and the Utility’s vegetation management and system hardening efforts. These statements are based on current expectations and assumptions, which management believes are reasonable, and on information currently available to management, but are necessarily subject to various risks and uncertainties. In addition to the risk that these assumptions prove to be inaccurate, factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements include factors disclosed in PG&E Corporation and the Utility’s joint annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, their most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2021, and other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available on PG&E Corporation’s website at pgecorp.com and on the SEC website at www.sec.gov. PG&E Corporation and the Utility undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether due to new information, future events or otherwise, except to the extent required by law.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Publisher @ September 25, 2021

Antioch Mayor Thorpe served with recall notice, refuses to receive

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

Video screenshot of Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe tossing the recall notice out of his car after being served by resident Kathy Cabrera. Thorpe with framed petition posted on his official Facebook page on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021.

Tosses it onto City Hall parking lot, twice; later picks it up, has it framed and posts photo with it on Facebook

“We believe that the citizens of Antioch deserve better,” – Kathy Cabrera, recall proponent

9,400 signatures of registered Antioch voters needed within 160 days to qualify for the ballot

By Allen Payton

Recall petition on ground in the Antioch City Hall parking lot after Mayor Lamar Thorpe tossed it there. Photo by Kathy Cabrera.

Less than a year into his four-year term, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe was served with recall papers in the parking lot of City Hall, Friday afternoon, Sept. 24, 2021, by one of the 20 residents who signed them, including several community leaders. Antioch resident Kathy Cabrera served Thorpe, but he refused to receive the required, legal recall notice, going so far as to toss it out of his car onto the ground, video shows. (Download and watch the video, here: Thorpe served recall vid1  or see the video on the Herald Facebook page)

“Today, at 12:30 p.m. at the City Hall parking lot I served Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe with a notice of intention to circulate recall petitions,” Cabrera said when reached for comment. “He said he didn’t know who I was and wouldn’t accept service.”

Thorpe can be heard in the video saying, “I don’t know who you are. Get away from my car.”

She then tossed the paperwork into his car and Thorpe tossed it back out. Cabrera then picked it up and placed it under his windshield wiper repeating, “you’ve been served.  You’ve been served.” He got out of his car, took the recall notice off his windshield and tossed it on the ground, again and drove off.

According to Cabrera, after driving off Thorpe circled back and picked up the notice off the ground. Later, he took a photo with the document in a frame, which Thorpe posted on his official Facebook page.

When reached for comment, Cabrera offered some of the group’s reasons for recalling the mayor.

“We believe that the citizens of Antioch deserve better,” she said. “We’ve seen a variety of good city employees, businesses and residents leave during his tenure at mayor. The people of Antioch are frustrated with the political games, constant self-promotion, and his lack of leadership and in the wrong direction.”

“We are moving forward with the recall process and will soon be out gathering signatures to let the citizens’ voices be heard,” Cabrera added.

Top part of Notice of Intent. Photo by Kathy Cabrera.

The Notice

More and the official reasons for recalling Thorpe are included in the notice which will be part of the petitions that Antioch voters will be asked to sign. Following is the text of the notice Thorpe was served, Friday:

NOTICE OF INTENTION TO CIRCULATE RECALL PETITION

TO THE HONORABLE Lamar Thorpe: Pursuant to Section 11020, California Elections Code, the undersigned registered qualified voters of Antioch, in the State of California, hereby give notice that we are the proponents of a recall petition and that we intend to seek your recall and removal from the office of Mayor, in Antioch, California, and to demand election of a successor in that office.

The grounds for the recall 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”.

————-

Signature Gathering Expected to Begin in October

“The petitions won’t be available until about three weeks,” said former Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen. He is one of the 20 recall proponents and was with Cabrera to submit the notice and the proof of personal service to the city clerk’s office, following the interaction with the mayor.

The Proponents

Besides Cabrera, who is the director of a non-profit organization for cats in the city, and Simonsen, the other 18 proponents represent a cross-section of residents in Antioch, including Antioch School Board Trustee Mary Rocha, former Antioch Planning Commission Chair, Ken Turnage II, who was removed by the council, last year, after posting controversial remarks about seniors and COVID on his Facebook page; former Councilwoman and current Planning Commissioner, Martha Parsons; Velma Wilson, the county’s 2021 Humanitarian of the Year; former Mello-Roos Board President, Terry Ramus; plus Tom Hartrick, Lindsey and David Amezcua, Ricardo Cabrera, Nicole Silva, Kathy Vasquez, James Davis (not the former Mayor of Antioch), Mary and Roy Ledford, Katherine J. Belleci, Truman Davis Jr., Clark Wilson, James Wilson, and Thomas McNell, the co-author, with Ramus, of Antioch’s growth-metering ballot initiative Measure U that was passed by 69% of the vote in 1998.

Recall proponents Kathy Cabrera and Arne Simonsen with a copy of the proof of service form date stamped by the Antioch City Clerk’s office. Photo by Kathy Cabrera

The Process

The mayor has seven days to provide a response of no more than 200 words, which will be include on the recall petition for circulation for gathering signatures. But he’s not required to provide one.

The notice includes additional details about the process.

“Elections Code section 11023. (a) Within seven days after the filing of the notice of intention, the officer sought to be recalled may file with the elections official, or in the case of a state officer, the Secretary of State, an answer, in not more than 200 words, to the statement of the proponents.

(b) If an answer is filed, the officer shall, within seven days after the filing of the notice of intention, also serve a copy of it, by personal delivery or by certified mail, on one of the proponents named in the notice of intention.

(c) The answer shall be signed and shall be accompanied by the printed name and business or residence address of the officer sought to be recalled.”

UPDATE: According to the Procedure for Recalling State and Local Officials on the California Secretary of State’s website, and the Guide for Recalls on the Contra Costa County Elections website, organizers must gather the signatures of at least 15% of registered voters in Antioch, if the registration is between 50,000 and 100,000, to qualify the recall for the ballot. As of the November 2020 election, there were 62,394 registered voters in the city which requires they gather approximately 9,400 signatures within 160 days or about 59 per day on average.

Thorpe received 19,792 votes to win the election for mayor, last November out of 44,539 votes cast, for 44.44% of the vote. Should the recall make it to the ballot, just like in the recent gubernatorial recall election, he will face an up or down vote. In addition, a separate vote for the replacement candidates will decide who will be the city’s next mayor for the remainder of the term through Dec. 2024. If a majority of those voting, vote yes to recall Thorpe, the candidate with the most votes in the replacement election wins.

Past Antioch Recalls

Thorpe is the second Antioch mayor to be served with recall papers in the past 35 years, including Wade Harper in 2014 and 2015, and Joel Keller in 1986. But the attempts against Harper, by the same organizers, were unsuccessful, first due to improperly publishing the notice in the paper, and the revived effort failed to gather enough signatures. Organizers for the effort against Keller thought they had collected enough signatures and submitted them. But it didn’t make it to the ballot as it was tossed out by the county elections office after too many signatures were disqualified.

The last time a successful recall of an Antioch councilmember occurred was in 1995 when Councilwoman Elizabeth Rimbault was recalled. (This reporter also faced recall on the same ballot but beat it by 52-48%).

An effort to reach Thorpe for comment and asking him why he threw the notice on the ground, was unsuccessful prior to publication time.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Publisher @ September 24, 2021

Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Wilson steps into school district superintendent removal fight

Posted in: News, City Council, Education | Comments (0)

Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson (from LinkedIn), Antioch School Board President Ellie Householder, Vice President Clyde Lewis and Superintendent Stephanie Anello (from AUSD).

Takes swipe at Board VP Lewis claiming he’s missed three “critical votes”

By Allen Payton

Source: Wilson’s blog header.

The Herald learned on Friday that in a post on Tuesday, on her blog, which has 11 followers, Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson took the unusual step of injecting herself and opinion into a school district issue, supporting Board President Ellie Householder’s efforts to fire Superintendent Stephanie Anello. The move failed with only four trustees in attendance at Tuesday night’s urgently called special closed session meeting, since Board Vice President Clyde Lewis was absent for a work conflict and personal matters. Because of that, Wilson took a swipe at him and claims he missed other “critical votes”, as well. (See related articles here and here)

Wilson also, once again, injected a race into an issue, by reminding Lewis that he’s the only Black member of the school board, and writing “our community cannot afford to lose another generation of students but in particular Black and Latino students.”

Statement from Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson Regarding Antioch Unified School District Special Meeting of September 21, 2021

“I’ve learned the hard way as an elected official that doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result, is the definition of insanity and only serves to reinforce the status quo.

For far too long, the Antioch Unified School District administration has created a subpar environment that has made it difficult for students, in particular students of color, to have the necessary support and environment for success in the classroom.

For this reason, I would like to take this moment to commend Board President Ellie Householder for having the courage to call for a special meeting in her efforts to change the leadership of the Antioch Unified School District’s administration.

As Board President Householder has said, this is a fight for the future of Antioch, as our community cannot afford to lose another generation of students but in particular Black and Latino students because they did not receive an adequate education.

I would also like to take this moment to publicly call on Dr. Clyde Lewis to be present at the meeting, and to vote in support of our students and families by supporting change.

As the only Black leader on the Antioch Unified School Board, Trustee Lewis needs to realize that we in the community have noticed his pattern of missing critical votes. We are watching, and are fully expecting him to rise to the moment, and vote for the children of Antioch.

To not be present for this vote would mark the third time that Trustee Lewis has missed a key vote. In doing so, he will be making it clear that he is not prepared for the pressures and intensity of serving in elected office.”

Questions for Wilson and Lewis

The following questions were sent to Wilson and Lewis early Friday afternoon.

Since it wasn’t posted on either her official Facebook page nor sent to the Herald, and her blog only has 11 followers, Wilson was asked, “did you not want that many people to read it? Was it part of an effort to run for school board or higher office, next year? Or was it to take a swipe at a potential political opponent, Board VP Clyde Lewis, who lives in the same council district you currently represent, in an attempt to eliminate your competition should you decide to run for reelection?”

In addition, she was asked, “do you think it’s appropriate for a council member to interject their opinion into school district business? Would you want school board members, other than (City Clerk) Ellie Householder, doing the same for city matters?” and “don’t you have enough city issues to deal with?”

Lewis was asked if he had any comments about Wilson’s blog post and “to which other critical votes do you think she’s referring?”

Neither of them responded before publication time. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Publisher @ September 24, 2021

Sprint car racing at Antioch Speedway Saturday night

Posted in: Sports | Comments (0)

Get tickets or watch live on antiochspeedway.tv. For more information visit at www.AntiochSpeedway.com.

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Publisher @ September 24, 2021

Antioch school district staff by 97.5% support vote of No Confidence in Board President Householder

Posted in: News, Education | Comments (0)

“…the employees of the AUSD have No Confidence in Ellie Householder’s ability to lead the Antioch Unified School District.”

Separate online petition started to remove her from school board

By Allen Payton

The Antioch Unified School District staff, including teachers, classified and management employees, announced Wednesday night, that 97.5% approved a Vote of No Confidence in Antioch School Board President Ellie Householder. A total of 669 staff members voted in favor, only 15 district employees voted no and three voted to abstain.

The three groups are the Antioch Education Association (AEA) representing the teachers, California School Employees Association Antioch Chapter 85 (CSEA) and the Antioch Management Association (AMA), representing the principals and district leadership. The A A members voted 441-8-0, the CS A members voted 213-6-2 and the AMA members voted 45-1-1.

The AEA announced on their Facebook page, Wednesday night, Sept. 22, “The employees of the Antioch Unified School District have overwhelmingly voted in support of a Vote of No Confidence in School Board President Ellie Householder.”

Also on Wed. night, on the CSEA’s Facebook page, the AEA’s post was reposted with the comment, “Resounding vote of ‘no confidence’ in Ellie Householder.”

In addition, during public comments of the school board regular meeting, representatives of the three employ groups issued the following statement:

“A vote of no confidence is defined as ‘a formal vote by which people indicate that they do not support a leader, government, etc.

In an electronic secret ballot election held from September 18-22, 2021, 97.5% percent of votes cast were in support of a Vote of No Confidence in Ellie Householder as the President of the AUSD School Board. Only 15 votes were cast in opposition, representing only 0.02% of the total ballots cast. The breakdown of votes is as follows: 98.2% of certificated staff (AEA), 97.8% of management staff (AMA), and 97.3% of classified staff (CSEA) stated their lack of confidence in the Board President.

The following violations of Roberts Rules of Order and the Brown Act have occurred at board meetings presided by President Ellie Householder:

  • Allowing a substitute motion to go through on a non-debatable motion such as “motion to table”
  • Efforts to limit or eliminate public comment by removing agenda items without consensus of the board
  • Efforts to shorten public comment by reducing the time limit allowed after comments had been submitted
  • Stopping public comments midstream when she felt it wasn’t appropriate or directly related to the agenda item
  • Requesting staff to use personal judgement on which public comments should be entered into public record and which should not
  • Abusing her presidential authority by not recognizing staff and board members’ requests to speak or provide input during a public meeting
  • Asserting that the president must not only collaborate on, but approve, the board agenda. Ed. Code and Board Policy do not require the board president’s approval, just collaboration on the development
  • Abusing her authority by calling and/or adding agenda items at special meetings, that were neither urgent, nor necessary
  • Violating the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), by publicly posting unauthorized video of students without permission

For all of these reasons, the employees of the AUSD have No Confidence in Ellie Householder’s ability to lead the Antioch Unified School District.

Valorie Luke, President, Antioch Education Association

Scott Bergerhouse, President, Antioch Management Association

Josh Isenbarger, President, California School Employees Association, Chapter 85”

————–

Online Petition Launched to Remove Householder from School Board

In addition, Change.org petition was started by Emily Smith with the title, “Remove Ellie Householder from the District Board”. As of Thursday afternoon, Sept. 23 it had garnered 144 signatures.

It includes the message, “As we have watched multiple ‘emergency’ meetings set up by Ellie Householder, it has become evident that she is not fit for her position. She has unilaterally removed the agenda item involving her removal, TWICE! She has violated The Brown Act and does not follow Roberts Rules unless it is convenient for her argument.  Ellie has turned out district into a laughing stock [sic] and has silenced the other trustees on the board. These are just a few examples of why Ellie Householder is not fit to be the board president. She is refusing to allow the Board to act as a board, silencing them and refusing to recognize them. These are all elected officials. She has been abusing her power, and refuses to listen to other trustees. Let your opinion be heard and let the district know the community wants Ellie Householder out!”

Efforts to reach Householder for comment on both the vote and petition were unsuccessful prior to publication time. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

 

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Most Holy Rosary Church Harvest Faire in Antioch Friday & Saturday Sept. 24 & 25

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Householder selectively invokes rules to pull item for vote on her removal as Antioch School Board president from meeting agenda, for second time

Posted in: News, Education | Comments (0)

The AUSD’s attorney, Lou Lozano, bottom right, speaks during the meeting, Wednesday night, Sept. 22, 2021. Video screenshot.

District’s attorney who said, “I wasn’t at the meeting” argues in support, citing Robert’s Rules of Order

“I don’t want just you, making that decision” – Trustee Rocha, regarding removing the item from the agenda

Also, unilaterally removes the one item from closed session

Board agrees to hire a parliamentarian for meetings – even though Householder, as Antioch City Clerk serves as the council’s parliamentarian

Rocha calls for censuring Householder

School district staff announce 97.5% vote of no confidence in Householder

This is uncomfortable” – VP Lewis

By Allen Payton

During the Antioch School Board meeting Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, before the regular open session began, a closed session was to be held to discuss one item entitled, “Student Discipline or Other Confidential Student Matter: Interdistrict Transfer Permit”. However, Board President Ellie Householder unilaterally removed it from the agenda, cancelling the closed session, which according to the agenda was scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. (See meeting agenda)

“There was a request that this item be pulled for tonight,” Householder explained. “So, I’m going to pull it and we are going to have a separate meeting to discuss that matter. So, we won’t have any items for closed session.”

“I did just want to have it on the record that I did not consult with the superintendent in the development of this agenda,” she continued. “So, a way that we can, you know, continue tonight, and discuss everything on this agenda, I just want to get a consensus from my colleagues, are we OK with this agenda. Because that is in essence what is done by the board president, before the meeting,

All four other trustees agreed to the agenda – which included item 12B, the vote on Householder’s removal as board president.

“Apologies for this false start, here,” Householder said.

“I believe you’re going to have to have a motion and a second in order to remove that from the, just so it’s clean, the closed session item,” Superintendent Stephanie Anello.

“I don’t have to,” Householder responded. So, if there is a motion, that’s fine. But I was requested by the individual that this is regarding to have this item removed. So, we’re not going to discuss it.”

An attempt to ask Anello why Householder didn’t receive a draft agenda for her review before the final version was sent out was unsuccessful before publication time.

Open Session Householder Unilaterally Removes Item for Vote on Her Removal as Board President

Then, at the beginning of the open session that began at the regular time of 7:00 p.m., Householder again, unilaterally removed the item for a vote on her removal as board president, invoking the same Robert’s Rules of Order she has violated during recent meetings. This time it was placed on the agenda by Trustee Mary Rocha and Area 5 Trustee Gary Hack.

“Because our board follows Robert’s Rules of Order, folks on a losing side of a motion cannot bring back a motion for reconsideration,” Householder explained as reason for her action.

Rocha responded, “I’ve gone through the proper channels and put it on the agenda as I was told. It’s not a reconsideration it’s a renewing.”

“Thank you for that information, Trustee Rocha. “If you recall the motion was made and because you were on the losing side you can’t bring it back for reconsideration.”

“It’s not for reconsideration, ma’am,” Rocha shot back. “It’s renewing, which is a different way of looking at it, which it can be heard.”

“I would agree with you,” Hack said.

“I will pose this question to our attorney. It is because we are a board that’s dictated by Robert’s Rules of Order,” Householder said. “I’ve never heard of this…

The district’s attorney, Lou Lozano said, “I wasn’t at that meeting. If there was a motion and if that motion failed, under Robert’s Rules of Order, reconsideration is done when a member on the winning side of the motion asks for reconsideration of the motion. I understand you operate under Robert’s Rules of Order. It’s up to the board to waive those or not. It would take someone on the winning side of the motion to bring that back.”

Rocha continued to argue her point that it was a “renewal of main motion.”

“It’s up to the board if they want to waive Robert’s Rules of Order,” Lozano said. “It would take a member on the winning side of the vote. It’s up to the board. If the board chooses to say we want to hear this motion…it’s really up to the board to decide to hear it.

Area 1 Trustee Antonio Hernandez said, “That’s pretty clear to me in following Robert’s Rules of Order. Mr. Lozano brings a very good point.”

“I can’t believe you’re letting this go,” Rocha said as Householder tried to move on to the flag salute. “I have a right to have a motion on the table. I’m sorry I’m not dropping it. I’d rather that you look at your own book and find out.”

Board Vice President and Area 3 Trustee Dr. Clyde Lewis was the only member to not comment about the matter.

ANALYSIS: During their last regular meeting on Wed., Sept. 8, Householder unilaterally removed the same item on a vote to remove her as board president from the agenda, claiming she didn’t approve it to be there, which was later proven false. She then unilaterally moved the public comments for that agenda item to the general public comments for items not on the agenda, at the beginning of the meeting. Once that occurred, the item and any motion, discussion or vote on it was moot. Yet, when the time for that item arrived, Rocha was allowed to make a motion, seconded by Hack and Householder allowed a vote on it, which failed 2-3. Yet, again, the motion and vote were moot. Therefore, having the same item placed on the agenda for the Sept. 22nd meeting was not a reconsideration of the previous motion and vote, but a new one.

Had the district’s attorney, Mr. Lozano, reviewed the video of the Sept. 8th meeting to be fully informed before participating, tonight, he most likely would have given the same advice. However, as Lozano said during the meeting, he was asked at the last minute, to participate by Householder, which is why he was dressed so casually. So, instead, while it would have been correct in a usual situation of a motion, the advice he offered was standard information from Robert’s Rules of Order and not specific to this unusual situation.  (See related article)

Householder Unilaterally Moves Agenda Item 12B Comments to End of Meeting

Following agenda item 12A, Householder was going to allow the public comments for the item 12B, which would have been a vote on her removal as board president. However, since she’d already removed it from the meeting agenda, for the second regular meeting in a row, Householder unilaterally moved the public comments for that agenda item, to item 20 for the general public comments for items not on the agenda, at the end of the meeting.

Rocha Tries Again for Vote to Remove Householder as Board President

Rocha then continued her effort for a vote to remove Householder as board president.

“Madame Chair, 12B is still the same one that I had put down for removal of board chair. Actually, Board Member Hack also brought this item up,” Rocha stated. “Again, this is a different motion than the motion, before. It’s a renewing motion not a reconsideration motion. So, I don’t believe you can remove it. Unless you want to ask the rest of the board members to renew it, then I have no choice, but to accept what the board members wanted to do.”

“Alright, so moving on. Section 7 district reports, we don’t have any this evening…” Householder said.

“I’m asking for a motion, Madame Chair,” Rocha said, interrupting her.

“You can make a motion,” said Householder.

“I’m asking for a motion for the board members that are against this motion,” Rocha said. “So, I’m saying it should be placed on there because it’s a renewing one, not a reconsideration.”

“I hear your comment, noted,” Householder said. “My suggestion would be to talk offline with any one of us. But right now, I mean…”

“If you want a motion, OK, I’ll place the motion, in place and that is to remove you as chair,” Rocha stated. “That’s my motion. I just need a second.”

“The thing is, though, Trustee Rocha, that’s not valid because you already made that motion, last time,” Householder said. “So, if there’s a motion to reconsider of myself…”

“It’s not reconsider, it’s renewing,” Rocha repeated.

“But that’s not a valid motion, so I can’t recognize it. I understand, I’ve fully noted what you said,” Householder repeated. “So, I have to insist we move on with our agenda. So, Section 7…”

“Well, Madame Chair, you can’t remove it without the rest of the board agreeing to remove it,” Rocha stated. “You did not take action.”

“Trustee Rocha, I did take action,” Householder replied.

“No, you didn’t. You didn’t take the vote,” Rocha said.

“Trustee Rocha, I’m not going to argue with you,” Householder said.

“I’m just trying to tell you, it wasn’t voted on,” Rocha said.

“OK, I’m noting your concerns,” Householder responded. “But I’m telling you that it was voted on at the last…”

“There was no vote, when it was taken earlier,” Rocha repeated.

“That’s not a valid motion that you can make, legally, per Robert’s Rules of Order,” Householder stated. “So, I cannot recognize it.”

“Renewing is,” Rocha said.

“I cannot. We just had our attorney on here, Trustee Rocha that said…” Householder said.

“It was reconsideration, but not renewing,” Rocha responded. “So, I want the board to take action. Either they want it on the board (she meant agenda) or they don’t want it. I don’t want just you making that decision.”

“Trustee Rocha, I appreciate your concerns,” Householder said. “So, Section 7 District Reports…”

“You did not take action, Madame Chair, you did not take action,” Rocha repeated. “So, that item is still on the agenda.”

Householder continued with the meeting agenda.

Other Matters

The board members discussed holding in-person meetings, again. They’ll make their decision at their October meeting.

Agree to Hire Parliamentarian

In other board action, they then discussed and approved hiring a parliamentarian, which was placed on the agenda by Anello.

“Thank you for introducing that, Superintendent Anello,” Householder said, then public comments were read, all in support of the proposal.

“I think this is a great idea. My only direction that I would provide, is it’s someone…who hasn’t been to our prior meetings, so we have a fresh start,” said Householder, who as Antioch City Clerk is the parliamentarian to the city council.

“I think it’s a healthy addition,” Lewis said. “I think the challenge will be to ensure that person is neutral. I’m a big process guy. I don’t make decisions willy nilly…around emotions. All of my decisions are based around logic and reason. Again, I think disagreement is healthy and I think a parliamentarian can add to that.”

“Both you and I are in agreement with that,” Householder said.

“I think it’s healthy. It would be good to have someone tell us,” Rocha said. “I think it’s also good for us to know what the rules are.”

“I’m absolutely in support of this,” Hernandez said. “We all have to be in agreement with who the person is. Just want to make sure we’re all working together as a board and all on the same page about things like that.”

Hack said, “I would agree it’s 5-0. Absolutely.”

“Is this a paid person?” Rocha asked.

“If we’re going to bring someone in, a contract would be brought before the board,” said Deputy Superintendent Jessica Romeo.

“Hopefully, we can have a contract on the agenda in October,” Householder said.

Future Agenda Items

Under Future Agenda Items Rocha called for a vote to censure Householder on the next meeting agenda.

“At this time, I’d like to bring forward a censureship of Trustee Householder and the need for Vice President Lewis to bring it forward, so the chair does not remove it,” Rocha said.

Public Comments

There were still 140 pages of public comments remaining to be read at the end of the meeting.

“I don’t know if we’re going to be able to make it all the way to the end,” Householder said, suggesting reading comments for 30 minutes and then taking a break. “We’ll decide that later.”

Many of the public comments were against forcing students in the district to wear masks. See all those read during general public comments, here:

Comments for 9.22.2021 RBOE – Part 1   Additional Comments for 6A 9.22.2021

More Additional Comments for 6A 9.22.2021    Two More Additional Comments for 6A 9.22.2021

Additional Comments for 6B 9.22.2021    Additional Comments for Items 12A, 12B, and 12C

School District Staff Announce Vote of No Confidence

During the public comments, one was submitted and read from the three school district staff groups, the faculty, classified and management employees, announcing their vote of no confidence in Householder by 97.5% with only 15 staff members voting no. (See related article and article with further details to be posted on this website, later)

Rocha Makes One More Attempt

During the Reports/Comments from Board Members section of the agenda, Rocha tried again to have a vote on removing Householder as board president.

“Madam Chair, point of order. Trustee Hack and myself, placed on the agenda, as required, a motion to remove board chair, Ellie Householder. I have this book, right in front of me, that says Robert’s Rules of Order. It shows you that on chapter 10, section 38, page 85…the renewal of the motion.”

Householder attempted to stop Rocha saying, “We’ve already discussed this” but Rocha continued to speak.

“So, I’m reading to you, Robert’s Rules of Order makes it easy to reintroduce a defeated motion at a future meeting,” Rocha stated. “This is called renewing the motion. So, all members have to do is request the motion to be placed on the agenda, which I have done the proper way. And so, I am ordering, at least call for the motion. I need a second. I think we should take action and then bury it.”

“Any other reports?” Householder asked, trying to move forward with the agenda.

“I need a second on this motion,” Rocha continued. “I’m calling for the motion.”

“Trustee Rocha, we’re not going to back and forth. This is an illegal motion,” Householder said. “Is there other reports?”

“No, it isn’t. I just read to you it’s a renewing motion,” Rocha responded. “So, it was placed officially, the way you wanted it.”

Householder continued to speak and try to get Rocha to stop.

“I’m not giving it up,” Rocha said. “I need a second, so we can clear this item.”

“Trustee Rocha, please, for, please,” Householder exclaimed.

“I need a second,” Rocha repeated.

“Trustee Rocha, this is an illegal motion,” Householder repeated.

“I gave you a second,” Hack said, simultaneously.

“OK. Mr. Hack just gave me a second. I’m calling for the motion to be called,” Rocha said. “Call for the motion to be done.”

“But there are other reports,” Householder then said.

“I’m calling for the motion,” Rocha repeated.

“You’re not the board president,” Householder stated. “Are there other reports?”

“But you are, and you have the right to do what I’m asking you for,” Rocha responded. “I’m asking for you…”

Raising her voice, Householder asked, “Trustee Rocha, are you calling for a motion to reconsider my judgement as board chair?”

“I’m calling for the motion for the renewal of the motion I had placed on the agenda,” Rocha responded. “I just want it voted on, so we can clear it and it’s out of the area.”

“Trustee Rocha, you’re out of order,” Householder said speaking over her fellow trustee. “You’re out of order.”

“I’m not out of order,” Rocha shot back. “I have a second on a motion. So, I’m calling for the motion.”

“Do we have any other reports or comments?” Householder asked.

“Again, you’ve misused your power,” said Rocha.

Householder moved on, again asking for any reports or comments from other trustees.

Lewis Finally Speaks Out, Apologizes for Missing Monday’s Meeting

“I have something,” Lewis said, weighing in on the matter for the first time. “You know, I think in terms of being mature about this whole situation, I think a deeper conversation is needed. We are a policy developing board. If the goal is, or if the conversation revolves around justifications for actions against a particular board member, I think that’s a healthy conversation, at some point to have. However, that conversation has not happened, and we haven’t laid out criteria for which that request should happen. I think we should have that conversation.”

“I myself, as a…trained administrator, I’m all about protocol, I’m not about emotion. I’m not about any of that stuff,” he continued. “Any decision I make, any action I take is process oriented. So, you know, I think that is a healthy conversation that should happen.”

“Obviously…as vice president I don’t have the power to put something on the board (agenda),” Lewis stated. “I did recognize your comment, earlier, Trustee Rocha, and I’ll make sure that conversation happens. But I think that’s a conversation we need to have in terms of like, OK, if there are actions taken by a board member, or if there are some things that happen by a board member, how do we move forward as a board? You know. I think those conversations should happen. Those should be clearly defined. It shouldn’t be, ‘Oh, you know, this person made a decision I don’t like, so now I want to get rid of them.’ I don’t think that’s healthy. It sets a precedence that’s unhealthy for the board moving forward. That’s my opinion about that.”

“Now, I apologize to the board and to the public for not being here, last night,” he stated. “I had some personal matters I had to attend to. I won’t go into detail about it. I made a statement about why I wasn’t here. They were personal matters I had to attend to and that’s that.”

“We need a rebalancing, and I don’t know if that requires sort of a consultant to come in,” Lewis continued. “If this is the level of conversation that we’re having amongst ourselves, what message or what tone are we setting for our teachers as well as our students? The students and the public are watching us. Regardless of what side of this conversation you’re on, the students and the public are watching us. This is uncomfortable. And I don’t mean to reprimand. I’m not speaking down to anybody. It’s uncomfortable. So, I’m going to leave it there.”

Householder Returns to Rocha’s Motion

Householder then said about the motion to remove her as board president, “so, just for clarity to address your point, Dr. Lewis, yourself, Trustee Hernandez or me can bring back, what Trustee Rocha is requesting, per what our attorney said to us at the beginning and said to us, last night.”

Rocha could be seen shaking her head, wagging her finger, showing her copy of Robert’s Rules of Order, and speaking, but couldn’t be heard by those watching, to which Householder said, “OK, Trustee Rocha.”

“Our attorney told us, last night in our discussion, as well as at the beginning of this meeting, that those are the only three people that can bring this discussion back,” Householder continued. “I’m trying to be as open to hearing. I believe discussion is great, too. That’s why I asked Trustee Rocha, is she making a motion to appeal my decision. Because then we can have a discussion about it. But frankly, I cannot allow illegal discussion to continue to happen. Because that is one of my very explicitly, enumerated duties as board president to ensure that our board bylaws are followed, adhered to, and by making illegal motions they’re not.”

“I’m trying to tell you how to make the motion so that we can continue the conversation on and that’s ignored,” she continued. “I can’t do anything about that. We’re all individuals.”

“So, with that I really must insist that if this is about the motion on the table and if we, whatever,” Householder said stopping abruptly.

She then recognized Lewis, who shared “some positive things happening in the community.”

“I’m looking forward to a time we can overcome our differences. It’s clear there’s division, here and I think we need to find a way to get past that and work together as a board, work together with the superintendent,” Hernandez said. “Because we’re here to serve the students and the longer that we spend our time having these back and forths, it’s going to keep us away from doing what we need to do to be serving these students.”

“That’s why I came on here,” he continued. “I didn’t come on here to do any of these little political things that are going on. I care about the students and that’s what I’m here for. So, I just hope that we can all, like take a moment to really dig into our own selves and get to work for these students and realize there’s a much bigger thing, here at stake, which is the education our students get every day.”

He then recognized Lewis for “a massive promotion” at work in Alameda County.

“I’d love to see this board continue to focus on positive things and not things that are going to divide us,” Hernandez added.

Use of Force Policy

Lewis asked Anello, “how close are we to getting the conversation going, again about the contract for the use of force? Are we two weeks out or 14 days, something like that?”

“It’s been 14 days. So, we’re definitely working on it,” Anello responded.

“OK. Alright,” Lewis responded.

The meeting ended at 12:35 a.m.

Check back later for any updates to this report.

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Publisher @ September 22, 2021