Antioch Planning Commission to consider forming Transitional Housing Zoning Overlay District for homeless motel Wednesday night

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The Executive Inn on E. 18th Street is proposed to be used for transitional housing for homeless. Herald file photo.

Located at 515 E. 18th Street

By Allen Payton

During their meeting Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m., the Antioch Planning Commission will consider creating a Transitional Housing Zoning Overlay District for the Executive Inn on East 18th Street, to provide temporary shelter for the city’s homeless residents.

The proposal moves forward the effort announced in 2020 by the council’s Unhoused Residents Ad Hoc Committee by Mayor Lamar Thorpe and then-Mayor Pro Tem and committee member Joy Motts. The council on a split vote of 3-2 approved pursuing funding for the program, earlier this year. (See related articles here and here)

The staff report for the Planning Commission meeting agenda item 2 reads as follows:

“The City of Antioch is presently working to address its unhoused resident population by pursuing opportunities to provide facilities and services to directly address unmet needs. The City recognizes the importance of connecting unhoused residents with housing solutions while also introducing them to critical services. The goal of this combined effort is to provide the stability and resources to enable unhoused residents to transition into full time housing. This complement of housing and services is commonly referred to as transitional housing.”

The staff report also provides the definition of Transitional Housing of “Dwelling units with a limited length of stay that are operated under a program requiring recirculation to another program recipient at some future point in time. Transitional housing may be designated for homeless or recently homeless individuals or families transitioning to permanent housing as defined in Cal. Health and Safety Code § 50675.2(h). Facilities may be linked to onsite or offsite supportive services designed to help residents gain skills needed to live independently. Transitional housing may be provided in a variety of residential housing types (e.g., multiple-unit dwelling, single-room occupancy, group residential, single-family dwelling). This classification includes domestic violence shelters.”

In addition, the staff report reads: “Presently, Transitional Housing is defined, but is not otherwise regulated or permitted in the Antioch Municipal Code; additional action is required to create opportunities for transitional housing in the City of Antioch.”

Location of the Executive Inn at 515 E. 18th Street. Source: City of Antioch staff report

Transitional Housing Zoning Overlay District Update – The City of Antioch proposes to amend Title 9, Chapter 5 of the Antioch Municipal Code to establish a Transitional Housing (TH) Zoning Overlay District and to apply the proposed TH Zoning Overlay District to the property at 515 E. 18th Street (APN 065-143-018).

RECOMMENDED ACTION(S):

1) Approve the resolution recommending:

  1. that the City Council adopt the ordinance amending Title 9: Chapter 5 of the Antioch Municipal Code (Zoning Ordinance) to create a Transitional Housing Overlay District; and
  2. that the City Council adopt the ordinance amending the zoning of the parcel at 515 E. 18th Street (APN 065-143-018) to be located within the Transitional Housing Zoning Overlay District; and
  3. that the City Council approve a Use Permit for Transitional Housing at 515 E. 18th Street.

The resolution forming the overlay district for the motel includes the following:

“1. The granting of such Use Permit will not be detrimental to the public health or welfare or injurious to the property or improvements in such zone or vicinity.

The proposed transitional housing project will be subject to operational restrictions imposed by the City of Antioch through separate process and agreement. These restrictions will ensure that proper management and property maintenance occurs and is sustained for the proposed land use.

  1. The use applied at the location indicated is properly one for which a Use Permit is authorized.

The concurrent amendments to the zoning map and Municipal Code amendments create a Transitional Housing Overlay District and apply the new zoning to the property at 515 E. 18th Street. As such, a transitional housing land use may be permitted with a Use Permit.

  1. The site for the proposed use is adequate in size and shape to accommodate such use, and all parking, and other features required.

The property was evaluated for project suitability and found to be adequate. The proposed land use is functionally comparable to the existing hotel land use.

  1. The site abuts streets and highways adequate in width and pavement type to carry the kind of traffic generated by the proposed use.

The project site is located adjacent to 18th Street, which is a major thoroughfare in the City of Antioch and capable of accepting traffic resulting from this land use.”

How To Submit Public Comments

There are two ways to submit public comments to the Planning Commission

  • Prior to 3:00 the day of the meeting:  Written comments may be submitted electronically to the Secretary to the Planning Commission at the following email address: planning@ci.antioch.ca.us. All comments received before 3:00 pm the day of the meeting will be provided to the Planning Commissioners at the meeting. Please indicate the agenda item and title in your email subject line.
  • After 3:00 the day of the meeting and during the meeting:  Comments can be made directly to the Planning Commission through the Zoom webinar. Please use the link for the specific meeting to attend the webinar and click the ‘Raise Hand’ icon to notify staff that you wish to speak. Or, use the ‘Submit Public Comments’ Link below, and your comment will be read into the record (not to exceed three minutes at staff’s cadence).

The meeting is online only and can be viewed at antiochca.gov/pcmeetings.

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Publisher @ November 30, 2021

Antioch Council’s homeless subcommittee proposes spending $300K for emergency housing

Posted in: News, Community, City Council, Finance, Homeless | Comments (0)

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe was joined near the Antioch Amtrak Station by members of Louie Rocha’s family and city staff for the press conference Tuesday morning, Nov. 30, 2021. Photo by Allen Payton

Plan named for Louie Rocha, a homeless resident recently killed by a train; to pay for 15 rooms at former Motel 6 in Pittsburg; requires council approval

Michael Rocha, brother of Louie Rocha speaks during the press conference on Nov. 30, 2021. Photo courtesy of Mike Burkholder.

By Allen Payton

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe and District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica, as members of the city council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Unhoused Residents, have proposed the council approve spending $300,000 more to help homeless residents with emergency housing. Thorpe said the name would be the Louie Rocha Emergency Housing Plan, in memory of the homeless resident who died, recently after being struck by a train in downtown while walking to the public restrooms at the Antioch Marina parking lot.

That amount is in addition to the $519,000 approved by the city council in December 2019 to be spent to help the homeless. Those funds were used to hire a consultant, motel vouchers, and portable toilets that were vandalized and removed. A full accounting of the use of those funds has been requested of city staff and one council member by the Herald multiple times but it has yet to be provided. (See related article)

During a press conference, Tuesday morning, Nov. 30, 2021, near the Antioch Amtrak Station, Thorpe, was joined by members of Rocha’s family, Assistant City Manager Rosanna Bayon Moore, and the City’s Unhoused Resident Coordinator, Jazmin Ridley, to make the announcement. Barbanica was unable to attend due to a medical procedure, the mayor shared. Rocha was not related to the principal of Antioch High School with the same name nor his mother, Antioch School Board Trustee Mary Rocha.  (See press conference video)

Antioch’s Unhoused Resident Coordinator Jazmin Ridley speaks during the press conference on Nov. 30, 2021. Photo courtesy of Mike Burkholder.

The proposal requires at least three votes of council members to approve the budget expenditure. If approved, the funds will be used to pay for 15 rooms at the former Motel 6 in Pittsburg, owned by the County and purchased for $17.4 million, last year. (See related articles here and here)

The former motel is currently undergoing renovations and appears unoccupied. Efforts to reach Supervisor Federal Glover to confirm that and asking why were unsuccessful prior to publication time. When asked about the matter, Supervisor Diane Burgis was not aware the former motel was closed. It was announced during the Tuesday press conference that it will reopen on December 10.

Thorpe’s Prepared Remarks

“A few days ago, a lifelong Antioch resident living on our streets was tragically killed by a train trying to get to a public restroom at the City’s Veteran Memorial and Marina.

Last Monday, I attended a candlelight vigil outside of City Hall in his honor and had the opportunity to speak with members of his family to offer my condolences. On Tuesday, I opened our first in-person city council meeting in his memory with a moment of silence.

His death along with many other similar deaths throughout our Country symbolizes everything that is contrary to our American values. Individualism doesn’t free ‘me’ or any of ‘you’ from the greater ‘we’ which is needed for community cohesion.

In January of 1981, three months before I was born, President Ronald Reagan famously proclaimed in his first inaugural address to the nation, ‘Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.’

President Reagan couldn’t have been more wrong.

When I was born in prison, the state government said, we’ll provide stability for this child by placing him in foster care with the appropriate support system until he’s 18. Thank God the government stepped in to help me when I had no one else to turn to. While things weren’t easy growing up poor by any stretch of the imagination, it was the stability the government created that allowed me to join and succeed in the Navy.

Later, it was the government that created the stability for me to complete college using federal grants and loans, and it was the government that provided me and my family the opportunity to purchase our first home right here in the City of Antioch.

Since President Reagan, and every U.S. president since him, including members of my own political party, have overseen major cuts and reforms in social safety net programs, which has helped push and keep many more people into poverty, housing insecurity, and homelessness.

In Antioch, we have not shied away from the issue of homelessness. Over the last two years, the City has worked on leasing the old Executive Inn on East 18th Street to provide housing with the appropriate wrap-around programs to provide temporary stability for those living on our streets to get back on their feet.

It’s been about a year and a half since we started that process. Tomorrow, the Antioch Planning Commission will be meeting to discuss this very important issue. If all goes well, the item then moves to the City Council after 30 days.

So today, I’m announcing a joint proposal by Councilmember Mike Barbanica and I called the Louie Rocha Emergency Housing Plan, which authorizes an additional $300,000.00 towards homeless services specially to secure 15 rooms from Contra Costa County at the Motel 6 in Pittsburg for individuals living along active railroad tracks in and around downtown Antioch.

In addition, today, our Police, Code Enforcement, and Abatement Departments will be meeting to produce a plan that proactively concentrates on these areas to ensure we’re moving folks from here and into housing.

This program will not work without the participation of everyone, meaning we can no longer accept that this dangerous area is acceptable for people to live in. I’m calling on all homeless advocates, ministries, and others to find new locations to do the lord’s work. It’s much, much too dangerous here.”

Ridley and Bayon Moore offered additional details about the program and Michael Rocha, Louie’s brother, thanked the mayor “for the help we’re trying to get.”

“The homeless are really difficult to work with and work around, and I’ve been dealing with it for 30 years,” Rocha stated. He then thanked Thorpe “for getting the word out.”

 

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Publisher @ November 30, 2021

Candidate for Contra Costa DA, Mary Knox offers three-point plan to prevent smash-and-grab retail theft

Posted in: Police & Crime, Opinion, Politics & Elections, District Attorney | Comments (0)

Sources: (Left) Herald file photo and (Right) Mary Knox for DA campaign.

The current DA has been slow to respond to flash mob robberies, and once she responds, she’s ineffective. Given my 36 years of experience as a Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney, I know the District Attorney can do more. We need to implement these three steps immediately:

  1. Convene a Bay Area-wide law enforcement response to track and apprehend suspects 

Contra Costa law enforcement agencies are partnered to provide mutual aid during emergency situations.  This “mutual aid” concept should be employed throughout the Bay Area to strategically shut down access routes for potential retail targets to intervene and prevent crime before it happens.

The investigative and technological expertise of this team will:

  • Identify the criminal syndicates who organize the smash-and-grab robberies
  • Intercept the “chatter” on social media planning these events
  • Share information between law enforcement agencies to quickly locate and arrest perpetrators

The ideal team to coordinate this activity is the DA/FBI Safe Streets Task Force, comprised of local, state, and federal task force agents who are partnered with prosecutors assigned to the Community Violence Reduction Unit (a unit that I created in the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office).

Given the violence involved and the value of the merchandise being stolen, the Task Force will collaborate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to charge qualifying cases under the Hobbs Act and prosecute them in federal court.

The criminal syndicates committing the smash-and-grab robberies, as well as strings of residential burglaries in Contra Costa, are mobile and active in surrounding counties.  During the past four years, regional law enforcement agencies have done an impressive job of sharing information to identify the true scope of the criminality of these crews and to provide investigative support.  The information supplied by this well-coordinated network provided me with the evidence required to file multiple counts following very significant organized retail theft and residential robberies.  I worked with the Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill Police Departments through the investigative challenges of the looting in 2020 and filed charges on a number of suspects.  As District Attorney, I will continue to support this allied inter-county effort.

  1. Prevent the use of our freeways as crime corridors, deploy cameras 

Organized shoplifting gangs have been using the regional freeway system to quickly move between targets in neighboring law enforcement jurisdictions.  By the time an investigation starts at the first crime, the gang has moved on to loot another store in the next county.

Contra Costa’s Freeway Security Network has the technological capability to combat organized retail theft.  The Allied Freeway Agencies have received additional funding for the Network and direction to develop a plan to augment and expand the Network county-wide in order to provide technological leads in preventing and investigating criminal syndicates involved in the violent organized retail theft.

I am proud to have originated the creation of this freeway camera system to combat freeway shootings.  Since the network was installed, freeway shootings have been reduced by 90% in Contra Costa while remaining all too frequent in neighboring counties. I continue to work with law enforcement and elected leaders to propose that additional funding that Governor Newsom included in the state budget be used to incorporate additional technology to target organized retail theft into the Freeway Security Network.

  1. Disrupt the use of social media as a key enabler of looting 

Organized retail theft would not exist without social media, which is the key element to planning and profiting from these crimes.

Looting is coordinated through social media 

Social media platforms provide the means of communication which allows criminals to conspire to commit take-over robberies. These platforms are directly aiding and abetting the commission of large-scale crimes, which may result in criminal liability for the social media platforms.  I will call on the social media platforms, as well as private communication platforms, to monitor and immediately report to law enforcement any communications planning a smash-and-grab robbery or the “fencing” of stolen property.

We must make it clear to technology companies that failure to monitor and report the coordination of criminal enterprise should not be a protected business activity and should instead be considered as aiding and abetting that crime.

Stolen goods are sold via online marketplaces 

If a market for the merchandise that is being stolen did not exist, the criminal syndicates would have no motive to steal.  While I am out talking with community members, most are surprised to learn that the merchandise that is stolen from CVS, Walgreens, Lululemon and the high-end retailers is often sold on the internet via OfferUp, LetGo, and the Facebook and Amazon Market Places.

As District Attorney, I will actively engage and educate our community members about the crime occurring in our county and ways we can work together to combat it, such as not buying merchandise off the internet that does not have a means of guaranteeing that it is not stolen merchandise.  I will also work with retail stores to modify their return/exchange policies to ensure that they are not accepting the return of their own stolen merchandise.

———————————————————-

About Mary Knox: Mary Knox was born and raised in Walnut Creek and has 36 years of experience advocating and fighting for victims, their families, and the larger community. She is a lead prosecutor in the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office, who has prosecuted and won high profile cases against some of the most notorious criminals in county history. She has broken the chokehold that criminal gangs have had on the most disadvantaged communities and has engaged in meaningful violence reduction by instituting effective strategies to reduce crime and prosecute violent criminals. Learn more about Mary at maryknox4da.com

 

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Publisher @ November 30, 2021

Newberry’s B.L.O.C.K. to host Toy Drive, Car Show at Lumpy’s Sunday, Dec. 5

Posted in: Business, Community, Sports, Youth | Comments (0)

The event will support former Center for the San Francisco 49ers and Antioch native Jeremy Newberry’s non-profit organization, Newberry’s B.L.O.C.K. which stands for Benefiting Leagues Offering Children Kindness. It provides underprivileged children the opportunity to participate in sports by sponsoring scholarships and equipment to youth programs. For more information visit www.facebook.com/NewberrysBlock.

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Publisher @ November 30, 2021

Following pursuit into Oakley 13-year-old Concord boy arrested for Oakland carjacking Sunday morning

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

By Sergeant R. Hoffman #4515, Antioch Police Community Policing Bureau

On Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021 at approximately 2:55 am, Antioch Police officers located a vehicle taken in an Oakland carjacking driving on L Street near Sycamore Drive. Officers were notified that the suspects in this carjacking were armed with firearms.

The vehicle led officers on a pursuit through Antioch and into Oakley. Ultimately, the vehicle lost control on Main Street in Oakley and drove over the center median and collided into a decorative boulder in the Starbucks parking lot located in the 2100 block of Main Street. Officers located a male running from the vehicle and eventually apprehended him, with help from Oakley PD, after a lengthy search throughout the surrounding neighborhood. The apprehended subject was identified as a 13-year-old male from Concord.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Publisher @ November 29, 2021

Four wanted for grand theft in smash and grab robbery of Antioch drug store Saturday night

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

By Corporal James Colley #4705, Antioch Police Field Services Division

On November 27, at approximately 8:36 pm, APD Officers responded to Walgreens, located at 3416 Deer Valley Road on a report of four subjects looting the store. Upon APD arrival, officers learned three Black male adults and one Black female adult, wearing COVID-19 style masks and hoodie-style sweatshirts, entered the store, and ran directly toward the cosmetic section. Once in the cosmetic section, the subjects used hammers to smash open the locked plexiglass cases and stole approximately $2,400-worth of products. No suspects were apprehended and there were no injuries reported by Walgreens staff.

The incident is described as grand theft.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Publisher @ November 28, 2021

Sales taxes – how much, what are they for and who raised them

Posted in: News, Contra Costa County, Taxes | Comments (0)

CCC Sales Tax Rate Breakdown chart and Chick-fil-A receipt.

I didn’t know that! Receipt from new Pittsburg Chick-fil-A raises questions – here are the answers

By Allen Payton

A post by someone, on Facebook, of their sales receipt from the new Chick-fil-A restaurant in Pittsburg, shows a breakdown of the sales tax they were charged. That started a discussion of what each of the line items is for.

I had never seen the sales tax broken down that way, previously, and I used to be a partner in a restaurant which collected sales tax and dealt some with it. I also served on the Contra Costa Transportation Authority for four years, but never knew the county received an additional .25% and the cities 1% in sales tax for transportation above the .5% for which we oversaw the expenditures. Nor have I seen the breakdown of the 6%, until now.

So, I set out on a quest to learn the details of the sales taxes we pay for many if not most of the purchases we make in Contra Costa County.

Once you read this, you too may say as I did, “I didn’t know that!”

County Finance Director Lisa Driscoll pointed out that on the Sales Tax page of the County’s website, each Quarterly Tax Report includes a breakdown of the sales tax, which answered most of my questions. She also mentioned the 1% “Bradley‑Burns” tax which is received by the cities for transportation.

On the State Auditor’s website, about The Bradley‑Burns Tax and Local Transportation Funds, it reads, “The tax charges 1.25 percent on the retail sale or use of tangible personal property in the State, of which 1 percent is allocated to counties or incorporated cities to use at their discretion and the other 0.25 percent is allocated to county LTFs.”

In Contra Costa County we also pay the voter-approved half-cent sales tax for BART operations, another half-cent sales tax from Measure J, passed in 2004, for transportation projects which is overseen by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, a half-cent approved by the voters with the passage of Prop. 147 in 2019 for public safety, and another half-cent from Measure X, passed last year, which is allocated by the Board of Supervisors. (See related article)

Source: Contra Costa County

Driscoll also shared, “The County does not actually collect any sales tax and the rate varies by location. Retailers engaged in business in California must register with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) and pay the state’s sales tax, which applies to all retail sales of goods and merchandise except those sales specifically exempted by law. The unincorporated rate is listed below.”

Each city’s sales tax rate can be different because they might also have a local sales tax the voters passed, such as in Antioch where they passed two half-cent sales tax increases, mainly to pay for more police, and has a rate of 9.75%. The highest sales tax rate can be a whopping 10.25% and the only city in Contra Costa County to have the maximum is El Cerrito! To see the sales tax rate in your city or community, click here.

As someone who advocates shopping local instead of online, to help support our local retailers and keep our sales tax revenue, you’d think I would know this stuff. But alas, no. So, this has been enlightening for me.

Plus, people, including me, tend to forget about the voter-approved taxes, including 2% of the sales tax in our county, and it’s good for us to be informed or reminded of why we’re paying them and who imposed the various taxes on “we the people”. Just like with the $9.5 billion for the California high-speed rail, about which I’m constantly having to remind people who complain about the state spending their tax dollars on it, that the voters approved that amount in bonds for the project. The same with the law making it only a misdemeanor for shoplifting less than $950 in goods due to Prop. 47. People, we did it to ourselves! LOL

As for the breakdown in the state sales tax and the 1% Bradley-Burns sales tax, say it with me, “I didn’t know that!” Well, now we do.

 

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Publisher @ November 28, 2021

Watch the CCC Delta Stars basketball team play in person in Antioch Sunday, Nov. 28

Posted in: Sports | Comments (0)

For more info and tickets visit www.CCCDeltaStars.com.

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Publisher @ November 27, 2021