DeSaulnier announces House passage of Mental Health Matters Act

Posted in: News, Health, Legislation | Comments (0)

A comprehensive package to address concerns of students, families, educators

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier.

Washington, D.C. – Today, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D, CA-11), Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, and Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) announced House passage of the Mental Health Matters Act (H.R. 7780), legislation they authored to help confront the mental health crisis by increasing access to support, services, and resources for children, students, workers, and families. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 220-to-205 with all Democrats and one Republican voting in favor.

From children and young adults experiencing an uptick in mental health challenges to educator burnout, our country is experiencing a mental health and substance abuse crisis. As someone who lost their father by suicide, I am proud to have led this comprehensive approach to strengthen mental health resources for students, educators, and workers with Chairman Scott,” said DeSaulnier. “I urge the Senate to pass this legislation so we can combat the mental health crisis in this county and ensure everyone has the resources they need to live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the mental health crisis among students, workers, and families. As a result, educators have been forced to play an outsized role in supporting and responding to students’ mental health needs, leading to increased depression and trauma among educators. Moreover, nearly half of the U.S. workforce now suffers from mental health issues since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In response to the national mental health crisis, I am proud to stand in strong support of the Mental Health Matters Act led by Congressman Mark DeSaulnier. The Mental Health Matters Act delivers the resources that students, workers, and families need to improve their well-being,” said Chairman Scott.

The Mental Health Matters Act takes comprehensive steps to address our nation’s mental health and substance abuse crises by strengthening school-based behavioral health care, bolstering mental health parity protections, and ensuring access to mental health and substance use disorder benefits for workers and families.

Specifically, this bill would:

  • Increase the number of mental health professionals serving in high-need schools and help to build a pipeline of school-based mental health services providers;
  • Help state educational agencies recruit and retain school-based mental health services providers at high-need public schools;
  • Require institutions of higher education to increase transparency around the accommodations process and allow incoming students with existing documentation of a disability to access disability accommodations;
  • Increase students’ access to evidence-based trauma support and mental health services through innovation by linking schools and districts with local trauma-informed support and mental health systems;
  • Require the Department of Health and Human Services to identify evidence-based interventions to improve the health of children and staff in Head Start programs, and help Head Start agencies implement these interventions;
  • Strengthen the capacity of the Department of Labor to ensure that private, employer-sponsored group health plans provide mental health and substance use disorder benefits under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA); and
  • Strengthen the ability of people with private, employer-sponsored health and retirement plans to hold plan sponsors accountable when they are improperly denied mental health and substance use disorder benefits.

DeSaulnier represents most of Contra Costa County in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Publisher @ October 1, 2022

Antioch candidates tout endorsements in council races, Torres-Walker, Wilson running as a slate backed by Mayor Thorpe

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

Wilson backed by the most politicians; Torres-Walker backed by many obscure and/or out-of-town organizations; both backed by Bernie Sanders’ organization and injecting partisan politics into campaign for non-partisan office

Ogorchock, Motts backed by Antioch Police Officers; White endorsed by Mayor Pro Tem Barbanica, Sheriff Livingston

Building Trades endorses both Motts and Torres-Walker; Assistant D.A. Mary Knox endorses both Ogorchock and White

Photo of Torres-Walker campaign door hanger showing endorsements by council colleagues Thorpe and Wilson. Source: Antioch resident of Council District 1

By Allen D. Payton

In the races for Antioch City Council Districts 1 and 4, the candidates have been announcing endorsements they’ve received from various individuals, including elected officials, as well as groups, including labor unions and the Antioch Police Officers Association (APOA). Incumbent Councilwomen Tamisha Torres-Walker and Monica Wilson are running as a slate with the backing of Mayor Lamar Thorpe.

District 1 Candidate Endorsements

In the District 1 race, in addition to the support of her two council colleagues, incumbent Councilwoman Torres-Walker has announced a variety of endorsements on her official Facebook page, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1020, Central Labor Council which didn’t interview either of her opponents before issuing their endorsement, and the Contra Costa Building & Construction Trades Council which also endorsed Joy Motts. Following Wilson’s lead, she’s injecting partisan politics into a non-partisan race touting the endorsement of the Contra Costa Young Democrats and the Marsh Creek Democratic Club. She also is endorsed by Antioch School Board Vice President Antonio Hernandez, Antioch Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Marie Arce, Contra Costa Water District Director Patt Young and State Treasurer Fiona Ma.

But many of Torres-Walker’s endorsements are from out of town and/or obscure organizations, such as Our Revolution East Bay which, according to their website, is “a local chapter of Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution”; Lift Up Contra Costa Action, which is part of ACCE and a coalition that includes Torres-Walker’s Safe Return Project non-profit; the Black Church PAC, East Bay Action, California Working Families Party, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance which is also part of Lift Up Contra Costa Action, Black Women Organizing for Political Action, and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Action (ACCE) Action, which has a conflict of interest as one of the sponsors for the North Antioch Candidates Forum scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 5.

Former Councilwoman Joy Motts received the endorsement of the APOA, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 302, Ironworkers Local 378, Sheet Metal Air Rail Transportation Local Union No. 104 and Contra Costa Building & Construction Trades Council, who endorsed both her and Torres-Walker. Motts also has the support of Antioch School Board President Gary Hack, former Antioch School Board Trustee Barbara Cowan, former County Board of Education Trustee Richard Asadoorian and former Antioch Mayor Don Freitas.

Former Antioch School Board President Diane Gibson-Gray said she tried for the APOA endorsement but didn’t receive it. She also participated in the Delta Association of Realtors and the East Bay Times’ interviews from which their endorsements have not yet been announced. However, Gibson-Gray said she is not soliciting endorsements from politicians or friends in her campaign. Yet, if offered she will accept them, including the endorsement of former Antioch High Principal Louie Rocha.

District 4 Candidate Endorsements

Barbanica endorses White. Source: Facebook

In District 4, running for her fourth term on the city council, incumbent Councilwoman Wilson once again is also injecting partisan politics into the local, non-partisan race by touting endorsements by the California Democratic Party, Democratic Party of Contra Costa County and the Marsh Creek Democratic Club. On her website it shows she’s been endorsed by the Central Labor Council, Contra Costa Building & Construction Trades Council, and three of the same, obscure or out-of-town organizations backing Torres-Walker, including Lift Up Contra Costa Action, ACCE, and Our Revolution East Bay. In the past, both Lift Up Contra Costa and Our Revolution East Bay endorsed Diane Becton for Contra Costa District Attorney.

Wilson also has the most politicians backing her, including her council colleagues, Thorpe and Torres-Walker, as well as Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, State Controller Betty Yee, State Treasurer Fiona Ma, State Senator Steve Glazer, Assemblymembers Tim Grayson and Lori Wilson, Contra Costa D.A. Becton, Supervisor Federal Glover, East Bay Park District Board Chair Colin Coffey and controversial Brentwood District 1 Councilwoman Jovita Mendoza.

District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, who was gerrymandered into District 4 earlier this year by Wilson, Torres-Walker and Thorpe, also received the endorsement of the APOA as well as the California Apartment Association. Individual endorsements of her campaign include Jack Roddy, Antioch School Board Trustee Mary Rocha, Louie Rocha, Board of Supervisors Chair Karen Mitchoff, Assistant D.A. Mary Knox and Greg Feere, former president of the Contra Costa Building & Construction Trades Council.

Shawn Pickett designated by Moms Demand Action as a Gun Sense Candidate. Source: Facebook

Another challenger, former Police Crime Prevention Commission Chair Sandra White has the backing of Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica who announced his support in a YouTube video posted on his official Facebook page on Sept. 25 instead of his council colleague, Ogorchock, who he said he supports and still wants on the council as a “very positive voice” but wants her to remain in District 3 for the next two years.

White also has the backing of Contra Costa Sheriff David Livingston, former State Assemblyman Jim Frazier, former Antioch Mayor Wade Harper, former Antioch Councilman Brian Kalinowski, former Antioch City Clerk and Councilman Arne Simonsen, and Nina Carter, Executive Director, Bonafide Sisterhood, Inc., as well as endorsed by Assistant D.A. Mary Knox, who also endorsed Ogorchock.

While not an endorsement, newcomer and retired Richmond cop Shawn Pickett recently announced on his campaign Facebook page that his “campaign has been awarded the Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate distinction” for “advocating for gun violence prevention and making a commitment to govern with gun safety in mind, if elected.”

The lists for each candidate are not complete but include their major endorsements. See their websites or Facebook pages for complete lists. The election is November 8.

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Publisher @ September 30, 2022

Take a tour of the Vasco Caves Regional Preserve in October

Posted in: East County, Parks, Recreation | Comments (0)

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Publisher @ September 30, 2022

Bay Area transportation agency adopts landmark policy to promote housing, commercial development near transit stations

Posted in: News, Growth & Development, Jobs, Transportation | Comments (0)

TOD projects adjacent to the BART line. Source: MTC. Credit: Noah Berger

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), yesterday, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, adopted a new Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC) Policy designed to boost the overall housing supply and increase residential densities in transit-rich areas throughout the Bay Area; spur more commercial development near transit hubs served by multiple agencies; promote bus transit, walking, biking and shared mobility in transit-rich areas; and foster partnerships to create transit-oriented communities where people of all income levels, racial and ethnic backgrounds, ages and ability levels can live, work and thrive. The newly adopted policy applies specifically to transit priority areas within a half-mile of BART, Caltrain, SMART, Capitol Corridor and ACE stations; Muni and VTA light-rail stations; Muni and AC Transit bus rapid transit stops; and ferry terminals.

Studies show people are more likely to ride transit if they live within half a mile of a rail station, ferry terminal or bus line. And jobs that are within a quarter-mile of transit often are more attractive to the Bay Area’s workforce.

The TOC Policy is the update to MTC’s 2005 Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Policy. That set minimums for the average number of housing units (both existing and/or permitted housing units) within a half-mile of each new rail station funded through Regional Measure 2. However, according to MTC spokesperson Rebecca Long the new policy applies to any all existing and future transit priority areas.

“The Transit-Oriented Communities Policy is truly groundbreaking,” explained MTC Chair and Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza. “Using transportation funds as an incentive, the policy encourages cities and counties to upzone transit-rich areas so transit, walking and biking can be viable travel choices for more people, and so we can generate maximum value from the billions of taxpayer dollars that have been invested in our transit network over the years as well as new transit lines that will be built in the years to come. The policy specifically encourages the development of affordable housing and protects current residents from being displaced by new development.”

The TOC Policy links all four of the themes — transportation, housing, the economy and the environment — of Plan Bay Area 2050, the long-range transportation plan and sustainable communities strategy adopted by MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments in 2021. Minimum residential density requirements range from 25 units per acre for locations within a half-mile of ferry terminals; SMART, ACE and Capitol Corridor stations; and Caltrains stations south of San Jose’s Tamien station up to 100 units per acre within a half-mile of BART stations in downtown San Francisco and Oakland, and within a half-mile of San Jose’s Diridon Station. The policy also eliminates minimum parking requirements in many transit-rich areas, allows for shared parking between residential and commercial uses, and mandates at least one secure bike parking space for each new dwelling unit.

MTC is the regional transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

 

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Publisher @ September 29, 2022

Following pursuit Antioch armed robbery suspect captured

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

Gun and bullets found in suspect’s car and confiscated by Antioch Police. Photos: APD

By Antioch Police Department

Suspect’s car.

Over the weekend, one of our citizens was the victim of a violent crime in which their car was stolen at gunpoint. Soon after, another robbery was reported in the city of Oakley by the same suspect at a gas station.

Thankfully, Officer Marques was looking for the culprit and located him near Cavallo Road. Believing the gig was up, the suspect fled the area, taking officers on a brief pursuit.

Knowing the potential danger this suspect posed to the community, officers chased after him until he ultimately crashed their car. After a brief foot pursuit, the suspect was captured by Officer Dibble, and a loaded firearm was located in the vehicle. We are happy to report that no one was injured.

The Antioch Police Department is dedicated to keeping our community safe and stopping those who mean to do our community harm.

 

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Publisher @ September 29, 2022

Behind closed doors Antioch Council majority selects “Con” Johnson to be permanent city manager

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

No public process, no executive search; directs city attorney to draw up contract for Oct. 25th vote

Two council candidates decry decision

“The best practice here in terms of transparency is to advertise the vacancy with details about the position…” Martha Perego, Director of Member Services and Ethics for the International City/County Management Association

Cornelius “Con” Johnson.

By Allen D. Payton

During the closed session meeting prior to the Antioch City Council’s regular meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, on a 3-2 split vote, they selected Interim City Manager Cornelius “Con” Johnson to be the permanent city manager, just six weeks before the November election. Mayor Lamar Thorpe and District 4 and 1 Councilwomen Monica Wilson and Tamisha Torres-Walker voted in favor while Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica and District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock dissented. A final vote to hire Johnson and approve his contract is scheduled for their October 25th meeting, just two weeks prior to the election.

The council held no nationwide search using an executive search firm nor did they open it to other city staff members including Assistant City Manager Rosanna Bayon Moore, to find the best candidate for the position. Although it was rumored to be Johnson, no official notice was provided to the public who the council was considering, so no input could be given prior to the decision being made. All that was written in the council meeting agenda for the fourth time was “PUBLIC EMPLOYEE APPOINTMENT: CITY MANAGER. This closed session is authorized pursuant to Government Code section 54957.” (See agenda)

At the beginning of the council’s regular meeting, City Attorney Thomas Smith reported out from closed session that, “on a motion by Councilmember Wilson and a second by Councilmember Walker the city council made a motion directing the city attorney to prepare a contract for the appointment of Cornelius Johnson as the city’s permanent city manager,” and that the vote passed 3-2.

Four council challengers were asked if they had a comment about the selection of Johnson, in closed session and without the public knowing who it was the council was considering.

District 4 candidate Shawn Pickett responded, “I’ll keep it brief. City council talks transparency but actions say otherwise.”

District 1 candidate Joy Motts also responded writing, “For a Council that claims they want to be inclusive, transparent and making community driven decisions, I personally want to know why they made this decision behind closed doors and without a public process and public input? Antioch deserves the best and the brightest. Mr. Johnson may have ultimately ended up being the best person for the job, but we will never know. These are the exact type of decisions and actions that are causing many of their constituents and community leaders to lose respect and confidence in their ability to govern.”

The other District 1 challenger, Diane Gibson-Gray responded, “Hiring a city manager before the November election is a disservice to the new city manager and the community.  Currently, the mayor has the majority vote, however, with the November 8th election that may change. After the election if there is a new council majority, I am confident there will be a candidate selection process that includes posting the position internally and externally, including hiring a search firm. Antioch is a city of 115,000 and we need a strong, experienced city manager. If on November 9th the council majority remains the same, that is a story for another day.”

Sandra White did not offer a comment but had previously said the council should wait until after the election to hire a permanent city manager. (See related article)

Attorney Smith was asked via email Wednesday morning if the vote should have occurred in public, and the candidate’s name be provided so the public could offer their comments prior to the vote. He was also asked if it is proper procedure to make the decision before the contract was provided for the council members and the public to review prior to the vote rather than prepare the agreement after the fact.

His Executive Legal Assistant Rakia Grant-Smith responded Thursday morning, “The appointment of the City Manager has not yet occurred. It will be an agenda item for City Council consideration at an upcoming regular City Council meeting.  The contract template will be included in the agenda packet for that meeting.  The City Council will determine compensation for the position at a regular meeting after hearing public comment.  We anticipate this item will be placed on the October 25, 2022 agenda.”

Smith was asked again, Thursday morning, shouldn’t Johnson’s name have been included in the agenda item so the public would know who they were considering in order to provide input to the council before their closed session vote. No response was received prior to publication time.

Questions were also sent Wednesday morning to Martha Perego, Director of Member Services and Ethics for the International City/County Management Association asking, shouldn’t the vote have occurred in public, and the candidate’s name be provided so the public could offer their comments prior to the vote. In addition, they were asked if it is proper procedure to vote to select someone as city manager without a contract being made available for review, first.

Perego responded, “The law varies from state to state about the topics a governing body is permitted to discuss in executive session. It is my understanding that under California law, the governing body can discuss the potential appointment and terms of an agreement in closed session.  But both the appointment and employment agreement must be approved in open session of city council and on the public record.

The best practice here in terms of transparency is to advertise the vacancy with details about the position including that they are seeking an individual to serve. Then they would interview candidates and announce their selection publicly with an explanation as to why they chose this individual to serve.  That of course assumes that the person is not from within the organization.

If it is an internal candidate, such as a current deputy or assistant manager, then it is fairly common for the governing body to make that appointment without any external advertising.”

“I’m not judging the competency of the interim candidate or the governing body’s judgment here.  But I observe that the fact that they never did a competitive search is raising this question ‘how do we know that this is the best candidate’,” Perego continued. “If someone is an internal candidate who got their position via a competitive process, has a track record with the organization and gets selected to be interim and then manager, you have the confidence that the person has demonstrated their capabilities. Even without a competitive search.

In this scenario, absent a competitive search for the interim, the governing body is now making a decision to award this person the permanent job based on one year’s experience.  That raises the question about how do we know that this is the best candidate. They could have resolved this issue by just going through a competitive process either with the selection of an interim (would have been a smaller field since it was a temporary position) or doing a competitive process now to select a permanent candidate.”

“I don’t think they are required to list who they are discussing when in executive session,” she added. (Emphasis added)

Johnson’s Record as Interim City Manager

Johnson was hired as the interim city manager last year, with a one-year contract, even though he had lied on his resume claiming to be a retired police captain from the San Francisco Police Department when he’s a retired lieutenant and was only an acting captain at the time he retired. In addition, prior to their vote the council members were all provided with information from an independent background check done by an Antioch resident that shows Johnson had filed for bankruptcy, twice and had three foreclosures. (See related articles here, here and here)

At the beginning of this year, Johnson worked to evict Congressman Jerry McNerney from his office space at the Community Center at Prewett Family Park, even though McNerney had a lease that didn’t expire until next January. (See related article)

Then Johnson made major mistakes in handling the hiring of a new interim police chief, when he fired the previous one, current Captain Tony Morefield, via email which included all the council members, other city staff members and even Steve Ford, who had just been announced as the new interim police chief the day before. He didn’t fill the position until nine weeks, later. (See related article)

Finally, Johnson was part of the group, along with Thorpe and Torres-Walker, who had the permit revoked for the annual Antioch Juneteenth event organized by Claryssa Wilson, and instead hired an Oakland-based motorcycle club to organize it. (See related article)

If the council hires him and includes a severance package in Johnson’s contract, should a new council majority be elected in November and seated at the first council meeting in December, they can terminate him from the position at a following special meeting, before the end of the year. But that will result in Johnson being paid for however long the severance lasts while at the same time paying an acting city manager until a new, permanent city manager is hired.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Publisher @ September 29, 2022

Former Antioch resident and mayoral candidate offers council election observations

Posted in: Opinion, Politics & Elections, Opinion, Letters to the Editor | Comments (0)

Editor:

There is a social media page called “You know you’re from Antioch” on Facebook….great postings that speak about the wonders of a small community that almost reads like a Norman Rockwell story.

I moved to Antioch in 2008 engulfing myself into the local activities to help my community to be better, safer and be the ideal city to raise a family. If it was voicing my thoughts at City Council, Police Commission or School Board meetings, I tried to bring me and my neighbors’ voices to the table. Always acknowledged by elected or appointed leadership, the actions that was to follow was from far too few. I was fortunate to live in a neighborhood where everyone knew each other, and we were more than neighbors; we were family.

Over the years, the political forum became clearer and the levels of back door dealings more transparent. Things moved and people stood silent as it appears this was the norm. As we entered into 2016, the silo’s that existed in silence in Antioch grew even larger and more visible. It was the change that many cities were facing, but never one would think it would be as large as it was in Antioch. The generation and culture change that occurred was beyond what the city could manage. The implementation of programs yielded minimum to no results. The actions of leaders were far from being implemented, vision was clouded, and words had no substance. This became more evident as we entered the COVID era and government had to continue, but it seemed that city leaders were more divided than ever. Past political actions came to the forefront and voters led the way on who they wanted to have govern them. It was a change that now created more separatism on many scales.

Many look at the “Now” and do not realize that those elected must undo the actions of previous administrations. The discoveries or like they say, hidden skeletons, came forward and one needs to realize that they need to own or manage it if change cannot happen. Most importantly, have professional courtesy and acknowledge each other as tensions were high. It is fine to agree to disagree but do so with respect and consideration. But we are not seeing this as special interests and idealism have taken charge.

The voters of Antioch have the ability to bring a change this November. The Antioch of the old has perished and the new Antioch is having true growing pains. The key question is, who can bring your voice to the table and help Antioch to be the city of opportunity?

The community literally has the ability to vote out candidates who have been in office that really have not been able to reach across the aisle to bridge their differences. They allow and encourage the separatism of the community to exist. You need to ask those who have been in office – “What have you done to better Antioch?”

Those that are trying to be reelected will speak more about the division rather than responding to the question. If you look at existing candidates’ endeavors, you will find that many were not completed or never got off the ground. Basically, all talk and no action. And sadly, the backdoor deals continue to present themselves as one candidate posted signs that they had APOA support prior to the official APOA announcement or candidates you never see in your neighborhood, now appear and provide excuses on why they need your vote.

New candidates bring a fresh and eager way and maybe, just maybe, they can work with their peers in order to have the new Antioch be on the pathway of a community that you want to have. When looking at the candidates, I see very familiar faces as well as a new one. The realization is that many of these candidates all speak to the issues that concern many (e.g., crime, schools, safety and blight). But ask yourself, “Who has the experience – the hands-on experience?”

Review the candidates and don’t pick someone because they are your friend, or someone told you to. Examine who they are and if they have the experience necessary to really make a change.  Being on a committee or member of local community groups do not outweigh having hands-on experience. You wouldn’t take your car to be fixed by a person who sells homes or provides therapy, would you?

As a former resident of Antioch until a couple months ago, I cannot provide an opinion on who would best represent you. But I hope this read brings some thoughts into mind that your vote in this election will shift the momentum of the city and bring it forward; or take it backwards. Remember, think what is important for you and don’t allow special interests, family, friends or outside support groups decide for you. This is not about being a Democrat, Republican, liberal, Green, etc.… this is about aligning your vote to the candidate that best represents the values you have and what you want for your family or community. What is most important, is they have the experience necessary to make it so.

In heart,

Gil Murillo

Former Antioch resident of Council District 4 and 2016 candidate for mayor

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Publisher @ September 29, 2022

Antioch council to consider two more cannabis businesses, hiring permanent city manager, again plus, discuss traffic calming needs

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

Tuesday night: cannabis retail store proposed for Somersville Road, “nursery” for W. 10th St.; temporary office space for displaced non-profit organizations; $60K for “Faces of Opportunity” marketing campaign

By Allen D. Payton

During their regular meeting Tuesday night, Sept. 27, 2022, the Antioch City Council will discuss Mayor Lamar Thorpe’s proposed traffic calming devices on major city streets in response to the tragic accident that injured three school children, recently. They will also consider approving temporary office space agreements with four non-profit organizations displaced from the Rivertown Resource Center, two more cannabis businesses and funds for the “Faces of Opportunity” marketing campaign. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.

During a closed session meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m., the council will once again consider hiring a permanent city manager, less than two months before the election, which is opposed by both Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica and District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, as well as the four other challengers in this year’s city council races.  (See complete meeting agenda packet, here).

Temporary Office Space for Displaced Non-Profit Org’s

During the Consent Calendar portion of the meeting agenda, the council will consider approving short-term lease agreements for temporary office space, inside the Nick Rodriguez Center,  with four of the 16 non-profit organizations that were displaced from the Rivertown Resource Center, when the city’s new Department of Community Services and Public Safety took it over, recently. The organizations include Rivertown Jamboree, Todos Unidos, Prison From the Inside Out and Mission Possible. (See related article)

Faces of Opportunity Citywide Marketing Campaign

In addition, with item K on the Consent Calendar, the council will consider spending $60,000 for a city-wide marketing campaign with Seattle-based Northwest Partners, entitled “Faces of Opportunity”. According to the staff report, On December 14, 2021, the City Council approved the marketing campaign which “focuses on real people that make Antioch a city of opportunity. The marketing team has selected a number of individuals who have compelling and inspirational stories to share.

The City Council previously authorized staff to execute media purchases not exceeding $185,000. However, the process of conducting the interviews, scheduling of the photography shoots, and creating the creative content extended beyond June 30, 2022.

Consequently, the funds authorized for media purchases were not expended. City purchasing policies require City Council authorization for payment of funds to any single vendor that exceeds $50,000. Northwest Media Partners was selected by the City’s media purchasing vendor, Orange22.”

Proposed First Cannabis Business on Somersville Road

The council will also consider approving another retail cannabis business, the first one in the Somersville and Delta Fair area at 2615 Somersville Road in the building between Wells Fargo Bank and Double Dragon Chinese restaurant.

Cannabis Nursery on W. 10th Street

The council will also consider approving the Delta View Nursery at 2101 W. 10th Street, next door to and in the same building as the Delta Dispensary.

Traffic Calming Needs Discussion

The last item on the council meeting agenda is a discussion of traffic calming devices. Following the accident caused by a driver passing in the oncoming traffic lane that resulted in serious injury of three school children walking home Friday afternoon, September 16, 2022, Thorpe and Area 1 Antioch School Board Trustee Antonio Hernandez posted a video on Facebook in which Thorpe proposed adding traffic calming devices, such as speed humps, to several city streets including Sycamore Drive, 10th Street, Davison Drive, James Donlon Blvd. and even Hillcrest Avenue.

The proposal comes after the council recently approved increasing the speed limit on several major thoroughfares in the city, including James Donlon Blvd., from 40 to 45 MPH. No action will be taken but direction to staff is requested.

Public Comments

The public has the opportunity to address the City Council on each agenda item. No one may speak more than once on an agenda item or during “Public Comments”. Members of the public wishing to provide public comments, may do so in one of the following ways (#2 pertains to the Zoom Webinar Platform):

  1. IN PERSON – Fill out a Speaker Request Form, available near the entrance doors, and place in the Speaker Card Tray near the City Clerk before the City Council Meeting begins.
  2. VIRTUAL – To provide oral public comments during the meeting, please click the following link to register in advance to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar: https://www.antiochca.gov/speakers

▪ 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 Mayor announces public comments, 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.

Speakers will be notified shortly before they are called to speak. When you are called to speak, please limit your comments to the time allotted (350 words, up to 3 minutes, at the discretion of the Mayor). The City cannot guarantee that its network and/or the site will be uninterrupted.

  1. WRITTEN PUBLIC COMMENT – If you wish to provide a written public comment, you may do so in one of the following ways by 3:00 p.m. the day of the City Council Meeting:

(1) Fill out an online speaker card, located at https://www.antiochca.gov/speaker_card, or

(2) Email the City Clerk’s Department at cityclerk@ci.antioch.ca.us.

Please note: Written public comments received by 3:00 p.m. the day of the City Council Meeting will be shared with the City Council before the meeting, entered into the public record, retained on file by the City Clerk’s Office, and available to the public upon request. Written public comments will not be read during the City Council Meeting.

Viewing Meeting

Antioch City Council meetings are held inside the Council Chambers at City Hall at 200 H Street. They are televised live on Comcast channel 24, AT&T U-verse channel 99, or via live stream at www.antiochca.gov/government/city-council-meetings/live/.

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Publisher @ September 26, 2022