Archive for July, 2012

Somersville Towne Center to Host e-Waste Recycling Collection Event July 28 & 29

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Somersville Towne Center : Home

Help Reduce e-Waste in our Cities and Landfills

In order to create a cleaner environment for our community, Somersville Towne Center is hosting an electronic waste [e-waste] recycling collection event.

DATE:  Saturday, July 28th and Sunday, July 29th, 2012

LOCATION:  Somersville Towne Center’s main parking lot directly across from Kaiser on Delta Fair Blvd. in Antioch.

This event is a free service to both city residents and businesses to properly dispose of their computer obsoletes, and at the same time, help reduce improper and illegal dumping in our city and landfills.  More importantly, the event helps protect our planet from various toxicities from reaching our soil and environment.

E-Waste includes electronic products or devices, such as computer monitors, televisions, PC systems, printers, copiers, facsimile machines and home entertainment systems that have reached their useful end, whether in working condition or not.

Please come and show your support for a cleaner environment by sending e-waste away from our city and landfills to the appropriate recycling process.

For more information on Somersville Towne Center for this or other events, visit

Somersville Towne Center is the only enclosed, air conditioned mall in Antioch.

It is owned by Macerich, a fully integrated self-managed and self-administered real estate investment trust, which focuses on the acquisition, leasing, management, development and redevelopment of regional malls throughout the United States. Macerich now owns approximately 64 million square feet of gross leaseable area consisting primarily of interests in 63 regional shopping centers.  Additional information about Macerich can be obtained from the Company’s Web site at

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Antioch Firefighters Ask the Public to Fill the Boot to Benefit Muscular Dystrophy Association

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

By Allen Payton, Publisher

Once again, firefighters in Contra Costa County will be participating in the annual “Fill The Boot” fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

This year, on Monday, July 23rd and Wednesday, July 25th, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. firefighters will be at the intersection of Somersville Road and Delta Fair Blvd in Antioch.

Last year the Contra Costa Firefighters raised $76,000 through their annual effort. This year’s county-wide goal is $80,000 and the firefighters in Antioch are trying to raise $10,000.

According to MDA Executive Director Kirsha Zupetz, “The funds raised will stay local and will provide hope and help for local families living with muscle disease. More specifically the funds will go towards multi-disciplinary clinic visits at Stanford, UCSF and Forbes Norris, MDA summer camp for children ages 6-17, support groups, wheel chair and leg brace repairs, as well as research.”

The International Association of Firefighters has been participating in the “Fill The Boot” campaign since 1954.

So, when you see the firefighters with the boots in their hands, drop in a dollar or two, or more, later this month.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is a voluntary health agency working to defeat neuromuscular diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive services, and far-reaching professional and public health education. MDA is the largest nongovernmental sponsor of neuromuscular disease research. For more information visit or call (925) 460-8260.



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Antioch Faith, Community Leaders and Residents March Against Violence

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

East County March Against Violence marchers head north on A Street in Antioch, Sunday evening, July 8, 2012.

By Allen Payton, Publisher

About 40 faith, community leaders and residents from Antioch and East County joined together on Sunday night, July 8, 2012 to march against violence in Antioch.

East County March Against Violence marchers

Led by Antioch Church Family and coordinated by Contra Costa Interfaith Community Supporting Organization (CCISCO), faith leaders, such as Pastor Tuma Johnson of International Christian Ministry in Pittsburg and community leaders, such as Keith and Iris Archuleta of the Youth Intervention Network, Mayor Pro Tem Wade Harper and Antioch School Board Trustee Walter Ruehlig, participated in the march.

“We were hoping to bring the faith community together, primarily in Antioch, but all of far East County to visibly make a statement to the community that we are aware and that we stand with those concerned about the violence in Antioch and East County,” said Irish Archuleta. “Also, we wanted to make a strong statement to those committing the violence that we are not sitting by idly and letting that happen.”

Nearly a dozen congregations from the area have joined the movement that aims to bring hope and address the issue of violence in East County.  The participating congregations include: St. John Lutheran Church; Antioch Christian Center, Antioch Church Family, East County Shared Ministry (Pittsburg Community Presbyterian & First Congregational Church of Antioch); International Christian Ministry; Grace Bible Fellowship; St. Ignatius of Antioch; Most Holy Rosary Church; Islamic Center of the East Bay; and St. George Episcopal Church.

This was the second of monthly marches planned for the second Sunday at 7 p.m.  The march will start at a different church, each month.

After witnessing violence in their own churches and the impact it was having on their congregation members, the faith leaders were determined to do something to address the critical issue of violence.  The night walks is only the first step in what they see as a strategy to decrease the violence in their communities.

The Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization (CCISCO) is a federation of 25 religious congregations, seven different denominations, representing 35,000 families in Contra Costa County. CCISCO is an active member of the PICO National Network.  For more information call (925) 779-9302 or visit them at 202 G Street, Suite 1 or online at


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Columnist Details Contra Costa Fire District Finances

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

In November 2010 Contra Costa Fire Chief Louder told the Board of Supervisors the district would deplete its reserves by the next fiscal year because it had used $8.7 million in reserves, deferred $4M in workers’ comp to patch its budget hole and all possible cutbacks and consolidation had occurred, leaving only personnel cuts. (Salaries and benefits accounted for more than 85% of the departments budget.) He told Supervisors that as many as 8 fire stations could close if voters rejected a parcel tax in 2011.

In June 2011 Supervisor Goia announced that the Contra Costa County Professional Firefighters Local 1220 voted to save the County $6.2 million per year by approving an amendment to their contract that would cut their salaries by 5%, waive the right to a previously negotiated 5% salary increase, extend their contract through 2014 and agree to discussion of pension benefits in summer 2012. The agreement would allow the district to maintain the same level of high service and prevent layoffs.

What happened? Why are residents again being threatened with station closures and layoffs unless we approve a parcel tax? Why is the Contra Costa County Fire Chief now stating that, without a parcel tax in November 2012, he’ll have to shut down 6 of the district’s 28 fire stations and lose 63 firefighters

Yup folks, on June 27th Chief Daryl Louder presented a report to the Contra Costa County Fire Board of Directors, aka the CCC Board of Supervisors, entitled “Report on Tiered Tax Rate Structure for a Special Tax Measure to be Placed on the November 6th Ballot“.

The Board then provided direction to the Fire Chief on the special tax provisions, including a tax amount of $75 annually, a sunset provision of seven years, and rate structure tiered by property type. July 31, 2012 was fixed as the hearing date to consider adoption of a resolution calling for a special election on 11/6/12 and adoption of a special tax ordinance to be submitted to voters on 11/6/12. (No mention was made as to inclusion of a senior citizen exemption to the parcel tax.)

As much as I value safety personnel such as firefighters and police, I’m not about to approve additional taxes which would put me in the poor house. Certainly not when they’re receiving generous pay and benefits, overtime, and a 3% at age 50 retirement package. (The County Administrator stated in April that Con Fire’s benefits cost is 103% of salary.)

Firefighters make up 40% (268 out of 645) of the Contra Costa County‘s $100,000 Pension Club, compromised of those retirees/beneficiaries of Contra Costa County Employees’ Retirement Association (CCCERA) who are receiving pensions of $100,000 or more. In fact, Contra Costa Consolidated Fire Protection District (ConFire) firefighters fill 180 of the Club membership slots. CCCERA retirees were granted a 3% cost of living adjustment on April 1, 2012.

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Congressional Candidate Gill to Report Over $470,000 Raised in Second Quarter

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Has More Than $1 Million Cash On Hand

Ricky Gill

Ricky Gill, a National Republican Congressional Committee “Young Gun” candidate in California’s 9th District, which includes 70% of Antioch, will report raising over $470,000 in the quarter that ended on June 30. Gill also will report finishing the quarter with more than $1 million cash on hand.

In a three-way open primary on June 5th, Gill handily defeated a Republican opponent to advance to the November general election against incumbent Congressman Jerry McNerney. Gill earned 40.1 percent of the primary vote and held McNerney to just 47.8 percent. Running in a new district centered 50 miles away from his Pleasanton home, McNerney received a lower percentage of the primary vote than any other incumbent in the region.

“In 2010, a tough four-way Republican primary gave McNerney an unearned advantage,” said Gill consultant James Fisfis. “In this year’s primary, by contrast, Ricky won handily and immediately secured his Republican opponent’s endorsement. In this election, McNerney is not only weak and out of his element — he’s also facing a unified Republican opposition.”

Separately, voter registration figures in the 9th District continue to trend in the Republicans’ favor. At the end of July 2011, the district included 9.7 percent more registered Democrats than Republicans, according to Political Data, Inc. Over the past year, the gap has narrowed steadily, and it now stands at only 7.3 percent.

About Ricky Gill

Ricky Gill is a native of San Joaquin County who was born and raised in Lodi, California. The son of immigrant parents, Ricky is a small business owner, a family farmer, and a former member of the California State Board of Education whose story speaks to the power of the American dream. Ricky grew up helping manage his family’s vineyard operation and serving the community as chair of the Greater Lodi Area Youth Commission. He has played an integral role in his family’s small business, which employs 60 people in the San Joaquin Valley, for several years. In 2004, he was appointed by the Governor to the California State Board of Education, where he served as the sole representative of more than six million public school students. He subsequently served as an adviser to the California Secretary of Education. Ricky now serves as a member of the Lodi Boys & Girls Club Board of Directors. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Princeton University, Ricky earned his Juris Doctor at the University of California, Berkeley. The National Republican Congressional Committee has named Ricky a “Young Gun” candidate.

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Antioch High Improvement Bond Measure J Barely Loses

Friday, July 6th, 2012

By Allen Payton, Publisher

The Antioch Unified School District’s ballot measure to provide funding to improve Antioch High School failed by about 40 votes.

The parcel tax needed a 55% majority vote to pass and 4,597 yes votes or 54.4% in favor versus 3,854 no votes or 45.6% opposed.

Prior to the vote being certified, School Board Members Walter Ruehlig and Joy Motts said they weren’t sure if the district would seek another ballot measure on the November ballot, if Measure J failed.

Discussions by the full board will take place at their meeting following certification of the election.

The measure would have approved $59.5 million in new bonds for the district. Most of the funds were planned for improvements to Antioch High. However, some of the funds were slated for improvements to Antioch Middle School.

No campaign was run, following the advice of the bond counsel, according to Ruehlig and Motts. That was, they said, because the last bond measure passed without a campaign, either.

One key factor in its defeat could have been the neutral position taken by the teachers union, due to their opposition to the district wanting to relocate their offices to where Prospect High School is located, now.

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Antioch Council Agrees to Include Residential Viera Area in Annexation of County Land

Friday, July 6th, 2012

By James Ott

The City of Antioch had decided to attempt to annex all of unincorporated North East Antioch after a letter from the Local Agency Formation Commission, (LAFCO), urged them to do so.

At the June 12 City Council Meeting council members voted unanimously to support the annexation after the recommendation of city staff. The city had previously only been working with the county and LAFCO to annex “Area 1” of unincorporated Antioch after residents in the remaining areas of “2a” and “2b” voted to oppose being annexed by the city.

That’s the residential area made infamous by the kidnapping and imprisonment of Jaycee Dugard by Phillip and Nancy Garrido.

In June, 2007 the city council voted to submit papers for annexation of “Area 1” after they asked residents and property owners in “Area 1” as well as areas “2a” and “2b” whether or not they supported being annexed.

Area 1” was and still is uninhabited so the few property owners in the area were polled and supported annexation overall.

Areas 2a and 2b both opposed annexation with about 60 percent of voters and landowners in 2a opposing and around 75 percent in 2b opposing as well.

The process of annexing Area 1 continued but was stalled within a year by the city and county not being able to come to terms on how to split taxes in the soon-to-be-annexed area.

Although the city now says that those issues are mostly ironed out and will be resolved and presented to city council very soon, on May 11 the city received the letter from LAFCO wanting areas 2a and 2b annexed along with Area 1.

LAFCO said that the reason that it wants all of the land annexed is that the original approval they gave to annex as well as their approval of a service agreement to provide power and electricity to the annexed areas by PG&E and GenOn, was contingent on annexing all of unincorporated North East Antioch.

LAFCO also said they do not want to leave parts of the area un-annexed because it would create unincorporated “islands” that the county has to stretch their resources to cover. They mentioned the 2009 Jaycee Dugard kidnapping as an example of the county having difficulty covering such “islands” with police and fire forces.

In their letter to city council, LAFCO also stated that GenOn previously pledged $1 million dollars to both the city and the county if the annexation of all of North East Antioch was complete by December 2012.

LAFCO said that these incentives and commitments as well as “an impending deadline with critical LAFCO statutes schedule to sunset,” were good reasons to annex the entire unincorporated area.

Normally state annexation laws say that any unincorporated area with more than 12 voters – which both areas 2a and 2b have – would have to have it’s residents approve annexation with a majority vote before it could be annexed. However, if LAFCO determines such areas to be unincorporated “islands”, which it has all but declared for 2b but not 2a, then they could go ahead with the annexation without a voter approval.

City staff said that annexing areas 2a and 2b would likely cost more in public services than it would gain in taxes from the small amount of residents in both areas, making annexation likely a “break even” prospect or perhaps a slight net loss for the city. This does not take into account the $1 million they could receive from GenOn if they annex before December 2012, however.

Also city staff said the city could incur an estimated $3 million in infrastructure improvement costs from 2b because of the significant sewer and water upgrades it would need to it’s “over 50-year-old” septic systems.

Those costs could be somewhat offset by tax revenues from Area 1, said staff.

While 2a may need future improvements for any new residents, city staff said that that would be paid for by future developer costs and so shouldn’t have much of an immediate impact.


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Filing for Antioch Mayor, City Council, City Clerk, Treasurer and School Board Opens July 16

Friday, July 6th, 2012

By Allen Payton, Publisher

Filing for the November elections for local office opens on Monday, July 16 and closes at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 10, unless an incumbent fails to file for re-election. In that case, the filing period is extended until Wednesday, August 15.

In Antioch, now that Measures L and M both failed, the positions up for election in the City are Mayor, the council seats of Council Members Brian Kalinowski and Mary Rocha, as well as City Clerk and City Treasurer.

Rumor has it that Kalinowski will not seek reelection, but Rocha will be running, again. She will have served 32 years in office in Antioch, both on the school board and council at the end of this year.

Three candidates have been discussed for the Mayor’s race, including the incumbent Jim Davis, Councilman Gary Agopian and former Mayor Don Freitas, who after losing to Davis in 2008 might be making a comeback. But, Davis may opt to run for Council, instead.

The question is where is Don? He hasn’t been seen at any public events, lately, including the July 4th festivities.

For council, School Board Trustee Walter Ruehlig has announced he will be running for City Council instead of re-election. One other candidate, who has already launched his campaign website, is newcomer Noel Pinto, the Director of Parking and Enforcement for the City of Oakland. Other names being bandied about are former Councilman Arne Simonsen and another newcomer, Monica Wilson who works for Mills College as the Executive Assistant to the Dean of Student Life, is a member of the Antioch Economic Development Commission, Vice Chair of the Contra Costa County Democratic Party Central Committee, is the Treasurer for the California Democratic Party Women’s Caucus, and serves as the staff adviser to the Feminist Democrats (Fem Dems), the Mills College Democratic Club.

As of Monday, July 9, two more candidates for city council have stepped forward. First is Jonathan Hernandez, a self-described “lifelong Bail Agent, ” according to his website (although his campaign Facebook page states “I am a financial advisor by profession”), who announced his candidacy in an email to local business owners. His issues are crime, budget and education. In addition to the Facebook page, he has set up an informational and fundraising website at offering a campaign T-shirt, bumper sticker and/or pen for contributions ranging from $500 to $5,000, and another campaign website featuring the skyline of San Diego at and a donation page with amounts ranging from$1.00 to $1,200 using the City of Antioch Police badge icon next to each contribution choice.

Then, in an email to the Herald from a Dr. Douglas Quinn, dated Monday, July 9, 2012, he shared his intention to run for city council, as well. He has “created a little web page to chronicle the process at”

“I’ll be running a rather low-key candidacy, as this will be my first attempt at running for office,” Quinn stated. “However, low-key should not be confused with non-serious. I fully intend to give Noel Pinto, Arne Simonsen and Monica Wilson a good race. If there’s one thing my background gives me legs for, it’s talking up a storm in public venues.”

On the school board, the positions held by Trustees Walter Ruehlig, Claire Smith and Diane Gibson-Gray are up. Both Smith and Gibson-Gray have said they are running. But because Ruehlig will not be seeking reelection, the filing period for school board will be extended five more calendar days.

Also, this year, the City Clerk and City Treasurer positions are up for election. Appointed incumbent Denise Skaggs told me she won’t be running for the position. Treasurer Donna Conley is expected to run for re-election, although she supported Measure L and wanted the position to be appointed.

For more information and filing forms, check with the City Clerk’s office at 779-7009 or the County Clerk’s office at 646-4166 and ask for Candidate Services.

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