Interesting alliances formed, claims made in races covering Antioch

Plus a few observations

By Allen Payton, Publisher

Some candidates for Antioch city council and school board have formed alliances during this election. In addition, there have been some interesting claims made by various candidates running to represent Antioch in different levels of government.

Alliances and Endorsements

First you have Councilwoman Mary Rocha, who is running for reelection, endorsing fellow candidate, and newcomer Monica Wilson. But nowhere does it say Wilson is endorsing Rocha.

Then there’s Wilson and Antioch School Board candidate Synitha Walker running joint automated phone calls (robo-calls) to voters asking them to vote for both of them. They have endorsed each other, as well. Plus Walker has been endorsed by Antioch Mayor Pro Tem and Mayoral candidate Wade Harper.

Wilson and Rocha have been endorsed by Public Employees Union Local One, which makes me wonder to whom they’ll be beholden when the time comes for contract negotiations. Not usually a good thing for taxpayers.

The Antioch Police Officers Association (the cops’ union, not the Antioch Police Department) has endorsed Don Freitas for Mayor. But that’s not surprising since he gave them the very generous and expensive 3% at 50 retirement benefit, as well as the expensive, six-year contract in 2007, which the current council had to buy their way out of – and which has prevented the city from affording all the police we need. Instead we’re down a net 30 sworn police officers, right now. The APOA has also endorsed current Mayor Jim Davis, who voted for the same things Freitas gave them. The difference is, Davis learned the error of his ways and supported the new contract, this year, which reduces city costs for police pensions and pay.

Partisan politics in Antioch, race-based endorsements by the Dems?

The county Democrat Party has endorsed both Rocha and Wilson for Antioch City Council and Synitha Walker and Deborah Vinson for School Board – all of them minority women, as well as Wade Harper for Mayor – instead of any white Dem man or woman for Mayor, Council or School Board, to the consternation of some of their white, Democrat opponents.

Plus the Dems endorsed the 21-year-old, African-American, recent college graduate, De’shawn Woolridge, for College Board, over the more experienced (and white) Dems Daniel Borsuk and Greg Enholm, who have each served in public office.

A further complaint, by some of the white Democratic candidates, is that on the county Democratic Central Committee’s October 18 meeting agenda (Updated 11/3/12) all but one were minority candidates under item #8,:“Other campaign help needed Monica, De’Shawn, Deborah, Argentina, Sarah, Jael, Maria, Cecilia and other endorsed candidates.”

(Updated 11/3/12) That information is being emailed around as well as that by a statistician who claims if the endorsements were a random decision it would happen only once in every 120 elections.

(Updated 11/3/12) Read the response to this issue by the CCDCC’s Endorsement Chair, by clicking here.

Regardless of the racial aspect, my question is why is the Democratic Party injecting itself into local, what are supposed to be, non-partisan races? Then again, the Republicans are, too for the first time in this writer’s memory. They have a door hanger that volunteers are distributing to homes of Republican voters with a list of all their candidates for local, state and federal office.

Also on the Republican side, the county Central Committee voted to oppose Measure B in Antioch and included it on the door hanger. But after local Republican leaders in Antioch said they were supporting it, the party said go ahead and change the flyers.

Baseless attacks

There have been relatively few attacks in any of the local elections, this year. But, in the Mayor’s race, during the Contra Costa Times/League of Women Voters candidate forum, which can be seen on the Times website, Harper attacked Freitas for the growth that happened during his two terms as Mayor. One problem, almost all the new growth that has happened in Antioch was approved in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, long before Freitas was elected to the City Council in 1998.

Update 10/31/12: I was reminded by a reader, yesterday, that Freitas did in fact approve growth, when he voted to extend the expiring development agreements during his terms on the council. The proof is the implementation of the Residential Development Allocation (RDA) program fee on those new homes, which generated funds that the council spent on various things, such as the six, bluish grey “City of Antioch” signs around town.

Then in the Antioch Chamber of Commerce debate, Freitas attacked Gary Agopian and took a swipe at the entire current City Council for voting to hire additional police officers using a federal grant for three years, claiming it was playing politics. Doesn’t Don realize that if he’s elected, he’ll be working with at least two and as many as four of the current council members? Not a good way to offer leadership.

Where was Wade?

Harper missed both the Chamber debate and the Take Back Antioch candidates forum. Harper works swing shift in Tracy as a police Lieutenant, and has to take vacation time to attend City Council meetings. The Chamber debate was on a Thursday evening when he was working. But, why did he miss Take Back’s Saturday morning forum? Earlier this year he said he couldn’t attend a special meeting to discuss placing a police tax on the ballot, if it were held. If he doesn’t have the time to attend council meetings and candidate forums, how does he think he’ll have enough time to be Mayor, which takes much more time? Perhaps he should just wait until after he retires in two years.

Word on the street is $150,000 will be spent to help elect Harper as Mayor and that he’s backed by the Seenos, Garaventas and the unions. I’m only aware of one mailer that has been sent out supporting Harper. So unless all that money is going to be spent this week – which I seriously doubt – that probably just isn’t true.

Honesty is such a lonely word

The most interesting thing stated in this campaign was by Woolridge who is using the word “Experience” on his campaign signs, which is a bit humorous, if not just plain dishonest. What experience? He just graduated from college in May and is 21 years old. The ones with experience in the race are Borsuk with eight years as an elected member of the County Board of Education and Enholm with four years as an elected member of the Ambrose Recreation and Park District Board. Woolridge has only served in appointed positions, except for being elected student body president while in college.

Woolridge told me he currently works three jobs. How will he find the time to serve in an elected position?

Woolridge also states on his campaign website “Native of the District” but he was born in Oakland, according to the Success Story about him on the Los Medanos College website before it was removed in October. He was raised in Pittsburg, but that doesn’t make him a native. (Perhaps we need to see his long form birth certificate. LOL)

Plus, Woolridge has gone a bit over the top by posting a graphic on his Facebook page which includes a photo of Martin Luther King, Jr. with the words “I have a dream,” a photo of President Obama with the words “I’m living that dream,” then a photo of himself with the words “I want to keep the dream alive.” Clever. But, perhaps he should think about King’s other statement about “the content of their character.” Honesty is the most important character trait we need in our elected officials.

The most interesting endorsement

Then there’s the most interesting endorsement of any candidate in Antioch. That’s the one by Willie Brown, the controversial former Speaker of the California State Assembly and Mayor of San Francisco for Noel Pinto, who has it on his website. Huh? Why would anyone in Antioch want the influence of Willie Brown in our city? The only local endorsement Pinto claims is former Councilman and current candidate for City Clerk, Arne Simonsen.

As for Simonsen he also endorsed Don Freitas for Mayor, with whom he formed a coalition immediately following the 2008 election, which they both lost, called the Friday Morning Breakfast Club. Interestingly, Simsonsen states “I do not accept endorsements from elected officials or political parties” and “The city clerk must be nonpartisan in all aspects.” Then why is he endorsing other candidates whose elections he’ll be overseeing, if he’s elected City Clerk?

The other candidate in the Clerk’s race, Argentina Davila-Luevano lists her occupation as “Social Worker” but she isn’t. She used to be and has a degree in it. But, in her ballot statement she says “I am president and CEO of California LULAC Institute a nonprofit organization designed to provide services and programs in Education, Health, Housing Social Cultural and Economic Development throughout California.” LULAC stands for League of United Latin American Citizens. She told me she does social work when helping people through that organization, but that doesn’t make her one, currently.

Stuff that makes you go hmmmm

Davila-Luevano’s “Top Priorities if Elected” are Women in Positions – Fifty/Fifty by 2020, Ending Violence Against Women – Globally, and Equal Pay for Equal Work. What does any of that have to do with being City Clerk? Nada. (Nothing). Perhaps she’s viewing City Clerk as a stepping stone to higher office where she can pursue those priorities.

The oldest candidate photos

Two winners in this category. Freitas used a photo that’s at least 10 to 15 years old in his campaign materials. It shows him with all brown hair, but he’s got a little touch of grey, now. One of his friends and supporters told me he jokingly told him, “Don, it’s nice to see your senior picture from high school.” Then there’s Ruehlig who used one that’s got to be at least 5 to 10 years old in some of his materials and on his website. No hat on, though.

Free publicity

Both Woolridge and Harper are graduates of LMC and there was a success story on each of them on the LMC website, until this writer discovered the one for Woolridge and questioned the college’s new president and College District’s leadership about it. I wasn’t aware of the one about Harper. But both were removed two days later and will be down until after the election. (see article by clicking here)

Then there’s the article with photos of Ruehlig, entitled “That Guy Beneath the Hat,” in the new magazine, Delta Living, being published by Deer Valley High journalism teacher, Charleen Earley. The article was written by one of her ROP Journalism students, Latori Shepherd, for the DVHS student newspaper. So Earley used it in her magazine, just in time for the election. (to read the article, click here)

Statements by candidates

Pinto has made some statements during the campaign of things he will do to meet with businesses to attract them to town and about other things he wants to do if elected. But, how will he have the time when he works in Berkeley in charge of that city’s parking enforcement? (He recently switched jobs from the City of Oakland). Will he be able to take time off work to be in Antioch during the day or meet for breakfast before going in late for work? It’s possible, since he’s in a management position.

Then there are the statements by Wilson on economic development, which sound good. But that’s it, since she hasn’t accomplished or proposed anything as a member of the city’s Economic Development Commission, according to fellow commissioners. She may have degrees in merchandising and marketing, but she works as an Executive Assistant for one of the deans at Mills College in Oakland. How will she have the time to be in Antioch during the day to meet with business owners and representatives we want to attract to town? Plus, she says her greatest accomplishment is helping with city clean ups. That’s nice and her words are great. But, as my mom always says, “actions speak louder than words.”

Davis also works out of town, in Walnut Creek, but he’s in a management position at a bank and has demonstrated the ability to be in town during the day for city-related matters and make up work during the evening and on Saturdays, when necessary.

Wilson stated during a candidates’ forum, that she “hopes to create a strategic economic plan that would cultivate existing business and bring in new business.” That plan has already been done for Antioch and most of it has yet to be implemented. All she has to do is go get a copy of it from City Hall. It’s the 1996 Antioch Economic Development Plan. I would assume every Economic Development Commissioner would have a copy of it.

Then she said “Once people have jobs, you’ll see crime go down.” She has that backwards. Wilson should know that the businesses with their jobs won’t come to Antioch until after the crime is down.

The most over-the-top, partisan campaign mailer

Wilson put out the most partisan mailer for local office in Antioch that this writer has ever seen. On one side it shows a photo of President Obama and states “Fired Up for Obama – Biden” and “Don’t Stop There” at the top, then “Move Antioch forward by electing Monica Wilson to the Antioch City Council” at the bottom. Then on the other side it states “Add to your Democratic Team” and “Monica Wilson for Antioch City Council – #1 on ballot” at the top of the other side. It provides a list of endorsements of Democrat politicians and organizations. Then it lists her experience of being on the Contra Costa Democratic Central Committee and Policy Issues Chair for the Women’s Caucus of the California Democratic Party, at the bottom, in addition to Economic Development Commissioner. However, Wilson only lists one accomplishment – again, helping with city clean ups, yet says nothing of what she will do if elected. Also at the bottom it states “Ready to Make A Difference.” Then why hasn’t she done so in the position she already holds on the commission? It makes you wonder why she’s really running for the City Council instead of some partisan office. Oh, that’s right, all the partisan seats are held by Democrats and she wouldn’t run against one of them – they’re all backing her. She needs to understand local office is non-partisan and you need to accomplish something before seeking one of the highest offices in our city.

The most interesting campaign ads

Walter Ruehlig wins that award with two ads in the Herald, both dominated by photos of him and some supporters. The first one got him in a little trouble with the priest at his church, St. Ignatius Catholic church, who claimed (unfairly) that it appeared Ruehlig was implying an endorsement by the church and the Fil-Am Society, based there. All the photo showed was Walter and two Filipino-American supporters standing in front of a grotto with a statue of Mary, the mother of Jesus. It didn’t say where it was located, just that the grotto was donated by the Fil-Am Society. The priest sent a scathing letter to this newspaper, which is posted on our website. But, things have been smoothed over and the priest apologized for his over-the-top letter.

Rocha’s ads stating “Bring Back Cooperation, Compassion, Commitment” are interesting. I didn’t know they’d gone away. The commitment part I can understand which differentiates her from a couple of the other candidates who haven’t done much of anything for Antioch, before deciding to run for council. Especially since this is Mary’s 28th year in public office in Antioch. She has said this will be her final campaign, win or lose.

A little humor

If you’re running to improve education, you should probably make sure you spell things correctly. On Synitha Walker’s website it says “Upcomimg Events.” As for one of her events, I have a complaint. She held her campaign kick-off outside of the district at the Straw Hat Pizza in Brentwood. Come on, Synitha, shop Antioch!

I like acronyms. I once promoted H.O.P.E. in one of my campaigns, for Homes, Opportunity, Protection and Education. Walker wins the prize this year with her “Vote S.M.A.R.T.” which stands for “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-oriented, Timely.” I assume she’s referring to educational goals and programs.

On Wilson’s materials and website she uses a bridge as her logo. With her lack of experience and accomplishments in Antioch, I’m afraid that might be a “bridge to nowhere.”

Foxes watching the hen house?

Walker is endorsed by the California Schools Employees Association. The Antioch teachers union is backing three other candidates for School Board, (all white women): incumbent Diane Gibson Gray, newcomer and former principal Barbara Cowan, and former district nurse and teacher’s union rep Linda Anderson (her endorsement is no surprise).

The union mailed a flyer to 10,000 Antioch homes, and Cowan and Anderson have been passing out more of them in front of Antioch schools. The flyer also states endorsements against Prop. 32 (paycheck protection for union members), and in favor of both Prop 30 (tax the rich) and Measure B (Antioch High improvements). There’s already one former teachers’ union rep on the school board in Gary Hack. Does Antioch need another one? If Anderson wins, the teachers will have control of 40% of the board.

There are currently no racial minority members on the Antioch School Board, even though blacks make up over 17% and Hispanics almost 32% of Antioch’s population. That will change if either Walker or Vinson are elected.

Best candidate name

Also running for the school board is John F. “Jack” Yeager, Jr. Now that sounds like a good mixture of names – a President, John F. “Jack” Kennedy, and a famous jet test pilot, Chuck Yeager who was the first to break the sound barrier. And yes, Chuck and Jack Yeager are related. They’re cousins. So, I guess that means Jack has “the right stuff.”

Campaigning on school property?

I’ve seen two signs about Measure B on school property. One is a Vote Yes on B sign on the fence at Prospects High on 2nd Street, which is inappropriate. The other one is a diagram of the improvements to the Antioch High sports fields if Measure B passes, on the school’s fence at the corner of 18th and L Streets. That one’s probably fine, since it’s just information and doesn’t take a position on the Measure. But the other one needs to come down.

Disregard for private property rights?

Any candidate who places a sign on private property without permission is trespassing. Would they want someone putting anything on their property without their permission? Of course not. Come on, candidates. Show some respect and don’t be so desperate to win and PLEASE be responsible and take them down within 10 days after the election. After that they’re just visual pollution and frankly, littering.

It will be interesting to see what happens next Tuesday at all levels of government. Remember to vote and vote smart. In fact that’s a good place to go to get more information about the candidates. Click on Then choose either city or school for local races. It’s the League of Women Voters’ election website, in which candidates post their own information. Some of the candidates have done so and have shared links to their websites there, as well.

Good luck to all the candidates and if you lose, don’t just disappear like so many others have done in the past. Get and stay involved. You don’t have to hold elected office to make a difference in our city or schools.

Update 11/5/12: Now, let’s get something, straight. I’m being accused of injecting race into the elections in Antioch. Let’s be clear. I was not the one who put out the emails about the issue. I received them and spoke with a few of the white Democratic candidates for office in Antioch about the issue and shared that information in my commentary. They chose to share it with me on condition of anonymity. If people are upset, so be it. No issue is too sensitive to discuss it if it’s of concern to candidates running for office or the voters. But don’t shoot the messenger or even try to read into anything I wrote. You need to take it on its face value. Debate and discuss the issue don’t attack the one who brought it out of the shadows. If those candidates who have the concern wish to remain anonymous, that’s their choice. But it would be good if they would step forward and share their concerns, publicly and challenge their own party.

This is America where we have freedom of speech. Don’t be afraid to speak up and speak out when you feel an injustice has occurred – no matter who it might be against.

31 Comments to “Interesting alliances formed, claims made in races covering Antioch”

  1. Andrew Schleder says:


    Great information. Facts not Fluff.
    Keep up the good work.


  2. Dave Francis says:

    It doesn’t matter who takes the Commander in chief’s job, the ultimate public servants job in the Oval Office, but under the Obama regime the absolute promise of blanket immigration reform is sacrosanct. Should Mitt Romney take the Oval office, he could still be intimidated by the greed leeches, the K Street lobbyists and the elitists in his own party, to keep the illegal migrants and immigrants coming. I don’t not hold much hope in Obamas court, with his instance of nationalized health care system that is going to attract even more illegal aliens, his global dominance ideology and his pampering the murders from the Arab countries, cutting down of permits for our gas supplies then opening up America to more resources than any other place in the world. The man has ignored the “Rule of Law’ and passed a dream Act without the requirements of passing through the House. His rules and regulations are dragging our small businesses down and his commitment to hit the rich with more taxes will just limit commercial enterprise. He is an entitlement president to allow illegal aliens access to food stamps, our jobs.

    Our schools are swamped with foreign kids who have little understanding of the English language and traditions. It seems incredulous to me and a large majority of citizens and honest legal residence that either party would reward the illegal alien invaders with massive dollars, and that we are forced to pay for it all by the courts. In California for instance where the Sacramento assembly shields illegal aliens from the law. Two measures are being pushed by the Liberal Democrats known as measure 30 and 38; more money for education and schools. What these brain dead politicians who have been brought and sold by the Teachers Union, is they want taxpayers money to pay for the onslaught of illegal alien children, which for the last 2-3 decades have devastated the California educational system. Don’t vote for this travesty as it evens more taxpayer’s money going down the toilet.

    “THE BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP ACT, which will eliminate these entries, so at least one parent must have valid citizenship, for the child to gain citizenship. This would be very financially beneficial to U.S. taxpayers that would halt this activity, and would save over 100 billion dollars a year. This law will bring to halt illegal aliens bringing their children here to take advantage of our health services, educational system and many more free programs with cash benefits. Our borders still remain wide open in many places, including Canada for the illegal importation of drugs and people.

    Adding further to boundaries is THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT (E-Verify) should also be implemented, so businesses and the agricultural industry can no longer just hire illegal workers without penal implications and harsh fines. As we need temporary workers, then a fully regulated system should be installed as it was with the 1940’s “Bracero” Program. This worked well, but greedy politicians in collusion with the business community closed it down. Now we have a corrupt system that has been highlighted by many companies being raided by ICE and the owners punished. So getting back to the California state voting measures and probably in other states, illegal immigration is a very expensive situation, which needs a solution? But its not being continually taxed to pay for the illegal entry of illegal aliens and their children. Honest immigrants wait years to get an entry visa, while the other types get rewarded by Washington and individual states with a cornucopia of free welfare programs. The Legal Workforce bill could drive illegal aliens home, as if they cannot be hired, then they will leave. Instead of listening to my personal suggestions, go to TEA PARTY.ORG, NumbersUSA and and you can judge the absolute financial negative effects of illegal immigration. Remember–this November it’s illegal and a felony for non citizens to vote, but then the Democrats have proven time and time again they don’t care who votes. Illegal or not?

    Obama is a tax and spend president and is ready to pass a massive, trillion dollar cost illegal alien amnesty. He is already ignoring federal immigration laws, which is going to attract even more illegal aliens from across the world, bring their unborn babies for American taxpayers to pay the delivery, health care, education and a bountiful basket of free programs including welfare payments for every child. The government itself has increased in size fort the more people living of the public trough, the more agencies need administrative staff. If you read the U.S. constitution the government the government was never meant to control our lives, as it has now. Obama will get the votes of the “Freeloaders” the “Don’t want to work” crowd and prefer to live their lives of the rest of us. The 47 percent that Mitt Romney discussed is not the infirm or handicapped. The open border zealots are in both political parties and only the TEA PARTY proponents will stop them. The costs will just accelerate and all to be paid by the public, while the instigators pay nothing. I was a true Democrat, but the party has been infiltrated by Communists and hard core Liberals, who see our country under the control of a Socialist experiment that has never worked. Without doubt if Obama gets his second term the 16 trillion dollar will escalate to pay for every illegal alien, scrounger and large part of the 47 percent of welfare vermin.

    The socialist experimental though mild has crushed self sufficiency in Europe and Greece is the epitome of failing society run by greedy trade unions and of course special interest groups. There social experiment hasn’t worked and European countries have had to count on asperity measures to save the European Union. America has been seduced by public assistance even to the 20 million plus illegal aliens and of course they are going to vote for this unpredictable president, with 37 Socialist czars, who are out to destroy our sense of self worth. Its a fact that the majority of Americans want nothing to do with Socialist programs and an agenda to propel the whole population into a George Orwell (1984) mentality of “Big Brother”. Then again I don’t trust the political backup of Mitt Romney Republicans, Wall Street and all the special interest groups in both parties. I am a free TEA PARTY moderate Conservative whose agenda is elevating America up from a potential gutter, to enforce the “Rule of Law”; to not apologize to dictatorship or criminal countries. To tell the truth about the massacre in Benghazi, which the mainstream press are saying almost nothing about; even to keeping the facts out of the headlines. The TEA PARTY mission is to bring awareness to any issue that challenges the Security, sovereignty or domestic tranquility or our beloved nation…THE UNITED STATE OF AMERICA.

  3. NOYB says:

    When talking about Synitha Walker it’s clear you need to check your facts. First of all Synitha Walker is the only candidate with children in the school system. How can any of the other candidates relate to parents and students? Your “bridge to nowhere” comment was assine and by far untrue. Have you ever heard of the Non-profit organization Parents Connected in Antioch?? You know the program Synitha Walker started to help high school student pass the CAHSEE?? I believe more high students passed the exam in the last two years than ever before with the help of Parents Connected. If the only things you can point out is 1 typo and her fund-raiser being in Brentwood, clearly she’s the right candidate. VOTE FOR SYNITHA!!!!

    • Publisher says:

      As I emailed you, without response, you need to re-read the section with which you have an issue.
      My “bridge to nowhere” comment was about Monica Wilson, who has a bridge in her campaign logo.
      Not Synitha Walker.
      Allen Payton, Publisher

  4. NOYB says:

    Oh, and the person @ 2:38 is ridiculous.

  5. Skip says:

    Diane Gibson Gray wins the award for the best signs. She doesn’t have as many, but the sparkles on the outside make them look homemade. I’ll be interested to see if it impacts the voting since they seem to stand out. Almost nothing written about the Agopian campaign. I like his idea about a free economic zone in Antioch, even if I do disagree with his views on some of the tax initiatives. It shows a deep understanding of our city’s strength and needs vs. some of the other empty rhetoric. That area of town has easy access to the bridge and with Sacramento and San Francisco being nearly equal distances apart, there’s a great opportunity to attract businesses that want to serve both markets. Once they widen Wilbur to 4 lanes, it would make the area even more attractive. I think that the city should have allowed a vote on the annexation, but a free economic zone would go a long ways towards making sure that our new residents will benefit from joining the city.

    • Publisher says:

      I believe you’re referring to Claire Smith’s signs with the sparkles, which do appear to be homemade.
      Allen Payton, Publisher

      • skip says:

        You’re right, Claire Smith wins that award. Homemade signs just seem more appropriate for someone running for the school board.

  6. Michael says:

    Dear Mr. Allen Payton,

    Thank you so much for this article. It truly made my day. I hope the voters of Antioch will open their eyes and vote smartly, if they want to truly improve this city.

    I agree with the comment that this is an article of facts and not fluff! It is only obvious why some of these candidates are running. It makes me sick.

    Kudos to you Mr. Payton and keep the articles coming.

    • Publisher says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Michael. We’ll do our best to keep the articles coming that inform Antioch residents about their city.
      Allen Payton, Publisher

  7. Michael Leon says:

    Good afternoon Mr. Payton,

    Just read your article and although it’s right on I’m disappointed that you did not mention me once. Any of my views on taxes or my experience in dealing with businesses or my lobbying efforts in Congress that led to the change in the safety of our military helmets that led me to the white house for breakfast. Not to mention starting business and making payroll, these are real world experiences and accomplishments that none of my opponents can come close too.

    You go to great lengths connecting the dots with regards to endorsements and campaign donations. I have been asked to meet with several groups and political Pacts but declined all invitations for endorsements and money; all my campaign signs you see I made myself. Instead I’ve walked the streets, knocking on doors and meeting and talking to people.

    If you are looking for Political experience, with the current incumbents running again for the same office or in some cases changing offices, ask yourself this, how has that worked out for us living in Antioch. There is another choice, someone without any ties or political baggage, someone who is use to thinking outside of the box and looks at “NO” as opportunities and seeks no further political ambitions, that candidate is me.

    Michael Leon
    Candidate for Antioch Mayor

    • Publisher says:

      I didn’t intend to slight you. This was mainly an article about those candidates and things that have occurred during the current election cycle that were controversial or information many readers might not have already known.

      Here are my thoughts on your candidacy – some of which I shared with you when we met. I think it would have been better if you had run for City Council instead of Mayor. I like the fact you’re a business owner. But I don’t like the fact you didn’t locate your business in Antioch. That shows a lack of commitment to our local economy, in my estimation. The fact that you have no experience in elected office is OK if you weren’t running for the top elected job in the city. But, I do believe it’s important to have elected office experience before serving as Mayor, and that a candidate has shown leadership and proven the ability to get things done before attempting to lead the city.

      Running without that shows a naivete and you have demonstrated during your campaign a lack of knowledge of the issues and how the city operates. Yes, you’ve accomplished some things for your neighborhood and other things in your life, which are great. But that’s not enough to qualify you to serve as Mayor.

      A candidate who doesn’t accept campaign contributions is an indication they don’t have support of the people. If you can’t get at least the support of your own friends and family, financial and otherwise, why should anyone else support you? And what’s wrong with individuals and groups contributing financially to your campaign if they agree with what you want to accomplish in office? Yes, you need to be careful to limit how much you accept and there are some people and groups from whom you may not want to accept contributions. But accepting none is just plain foolish.

      Campaigns are all marketing and about getting your message to the voters. If you haven’t raised enough money to mail to every voter in town, then you’re at a disadvantage. The lowest cost way to do so is the ballot statement. If you didn’t at least pay for that, then you’re not giving the voters the opportunity to know much about you. Walking door to door is good and the best form of campaigning, and I applaud you for it. But a successful marketing campaign must be multi-media, which takes money, which you understand as a businessman, and it’s the same thing in business as well as political campaigns.

      I don’t think it’s wise to decline the opportunity to meet with a group of people interested in our city. You don’t have to agree with them or accept a contribution from them, but you should at least take the opportunity to meet with them to hear their concerns and get their input. Politics is about building coalitions. Rejecting people is not the way to get things done. You may need their support when you propose an idea and you won’t know if they agree with your positions and ideas if you don’t meet or hear from them and them from you. Remember, it takes 3 votes on either the council or school board to get something done. And some of those people and groups might just have the ear and support of one or more other council members.

      Just know, that it’s not uncommon for a candidate to run one time to get known and the second time to win. Should you not win, this time, perhaps you should consider applying for an appointment to a City Commission, and then run for Council in two years. But, don’t just serve on a commission, accomplish something. Of course you don’t have to serve on one to do something for the entire city and gain an understanding and the necessary knowledge to help lead our city or school district and prove yourself to others – which is what helps give one the credibility and legitimacy with voters when it comes time to run for office.

      I’m looking for people who have accomplished something, know how to work with others to get things done and will work to improve our city, make it safer, and attract businesses to town to employ our people. That doesn’t require elected office experience – except in the case of the Mayor. But, just because one may have elected office experience doesn’t mean they’re ready for the top job, either. Plus, they must have the time to devote to the position. I know how much time it takes, having served as Mayor Pro Tem my first two years on the council, and on a variety of regional boards all four years of my term. Those who work in town, or are in management positions if they work out of town, are more inclined to have the necessary time to devote to public office.

      I equate elections to the hiring process – if you’re applying for the job of elected office, as one of your bosses (voters/residents) I want to know if you’re more qualified for the position than the other candidate(s). Once you’re in office, if you want us to renew your contract by reelecting you, then show us you’ve done what you said you were going to do the last time you were elected. Finally, if you want a promotion by getting elected to higher office, then you better have done what you said you’re going to do in your last campaign and gone the extra mile and demonstrated the ability to go above and beyond what’s expected.

      The columnist George Will once wrote, and I paraphrase, there are two types of people who run for office, those who seek to do something and those who seek to be something. I want the former not the latter. I’ve seen candidates who run to be something who will do and say whatever it takes to get elected. But once they’re in office they don’t accomplish much, if anything, because they have no vision or purpose, because getting elected was the goal, to feel important. They don’t speak up much, they don’t propose new ideas and you can’t count on them when they vote on an issue. Worst is the candidate who wants to be something and is run by other people and is merely a pawn or tool for them to implement their goals. Those type of candidates concern me the most. There are some of each of these three types of candidates running in the current election, here in Antioch. I believe you’re the type who is running to get things done. I just believe you need some more knowledge and experience with city issues before you’re ready.

      So many times I’ve seen candidates who come out of nowhere, without having been involved in anything or any leadership position in Antioch, run for office, lose and then disappear after the election. I first saw this in college. One of the guys who ran against me for student body president and lost, ended up leaving the college and attending and graduating elsewhere. That showed a serious lack of commitment to the college. Just as those candidates did who lost and were never heard from in community service, in Antioch, again. If you really care about Antioch you will do something to help solve the problems in town and will recognize you don’t have to hold elected office to do so – before running.

      Frankly, I seriously doubt you did a “market study” to find out what it takes to run, get elected and serve as Mayor of Antioch, before you jumped in the race at the urging of a few of your friends. Had you done so, right now you’d probably be running for Council, instead or be supporting some other candidates – to learn what it takes to run and win an election – and/or been applying for an appointment to a commission. I advise all candidates (I’ve been a paid campaign consultant since 1989) to help on a few successful campaigns, first before running to see if they really want to run and to know what to expect. Campaigns also take time. If you don’t have the time to campaign and appear at candidate forums, raise the necessary funds to pay for your campaign marketing or meet with people, then you won’t have the time to serve in office – which is a sacrifice.

      Here’s my advice to you: relocate your business to Antioch. Join the Chamber. Get involved in the Economic Development/Government Affairs Committee and apply for an appointment to a city commission. Maybe join a service club like Kiwanis or the Lions club, too. Then decide in a couple years if you want to run, again.

      OK. Enough of my rambling.

      Good luck on Tuesday.
      Allen Payton, Publisher

  8. lisa stanley says:

    WOW!WOW! You waste your time talking about so much BS. What about all of the bad mess with the current school board that’s happening in Antioch Schools? Have you discuss that??? That’s important information if Diane Gibson Gray and Claire Smith would like to be re elected. Why re elect them and allow them to continue do HORRIBLE work as school board members? It’s time Antioch get New School board members!!! So what the candidates are “BLACK”!!! and!!! What’s your point? White people that’s on the school board currently continue to cost Antioch Schools to lose losts and losts of money too with their ways of thinking for hispanic and black children in Antioch Schools and it’s costing them thousands and thousands of dollars. Let’s tell the truth about Diane Gidson Gray and Claire Smith just sit on the board and do nothing!!! Why??? because they are “WHITE” and the old people of tired Antioch will continue to vote for them. They all are tired, old, miserable people, with no life, racist and need JESUS. LOL!LOL!LOL! That. Yes, you run this newspaper and you can publish whatever you like, but what’s not right is, you said nothing about how Antioch School district is being ran and how much money Antioch district is paying out because of the “current” School Board” This is the by far, worst city in the world, tired, low class, ignorant people, with a one track mind and the people who has lived here for years are not attracked either. They look like life has gotten the beat of them! LOL!LOL!LOL!

    • Publisher says:

      Ms. Stanley,
      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.
      The Antioch Herald reports regularly what is happening with the school district and it’s finances.
      That wasn’t the subject of this commentary.
      My point regarding if either Walker or Vinson get elected, is that they will be the only members of a racial minority on the school board, which currently doesn’t reflect the racial diversity of our city, as does the city council.
      I’m sorry that you feel what I’ve written is BS, that the school board incumbents are racist and that Antioch is the “worst city in the world.”
      I completely disagree.
      Allen Payton, Publisher

    • Michael says:

      Dear Lisa Stanley,

      Let me say Wow, Wow and another Wow! Way to pull out the good ‘ol race card. If you have nothing else to go one always resort to the one thing you have last. I

      t is unfortunate people like you are so hypocritical about “racism”. Obviously, you failed to get the gist of this article. Yes, critical thinking is tough.

      No one was grouping “blacks” in this article. You did that on your own, congratulations. You definitely demonstrated a great example of stereotypical racism.


  9. Carolyn Phinney says:

    SARAH is not a minority candidate, she is a Caucasian female running for School Board. Hence, the statistical claims based on this analysis are B.S.

    That having been said, I wish every race was analyzed in this fashion, with the caveat that the facts be correct.

    Also, the statistician also forgot to take into account the BASE RATE of minority candidates in Antioch. When you have a city with a largely minority population (BASE RATE), you don’t expect most of the candidates to be Caucasian.

    Lastly, African American and Hispanic elected officials are very rare in Contra Costa County, while there is a large population of both African Americans and Hispanics. This under-representation of minorities among elected officials has produced minorities largely being represented by nonminority elected officials. That’s an inequity that political parties must consider and address in supporting candidates. Why should mostly white people rule the county? When you have an excellent candidate like De’Shawn Woolridge, who is endorsed by State Superintendent Tom Torlakson and many many other elected officials, why shouldn’t the Democratic Party get behind him and give the CURRENTLY ALL WHITE COLLEGE BOARD one minority leader to represent the huge number of minority students.

    Fascinating piece, but you didn’t go far enough.

    • Publisher says:

      Ms. Phinney,
      Thank you for reading and sharing that additional information.
      I don’t know what the racial make-up is of each of those listed on the Democratic Central Committee’s October meeting agenda.
      The concerns shared weren’t mine, they were of the other candidates running for local office in Antioch and East County.
      De’Shawn is a sharp, young man. I just don’t believe he’s ready to serve in elected office yet at age 21, and needs more experience in the real world under his belt before being put in the position of making multi-million dollar decisions about our tax dollars and helping oversee an organization with thousands of employees, when he’s yet to have one answer to him. We’ll see what the voters say on Tuesday.
      Just for your information, Antioch is 17.3% African American, 31.7% Hispanic and 48.9% White, according to the 2010 census. But good point on the statistician.
      Allen Payton, Publisher

      • Carolyn Phinney says:

        BTW, I am in my 2nd term as an elected member of the Contra Costa County Democratic Party Central Committee…for full disclosure. A ton of the candidates were endorsed were Caucasian. At no time, with the exception of De’Shawn, did I hear any discussion about race. When you have an all white Community College Board serving a community college system with a huge percentage of minority students, that is problem and race is a factor. These minority students’ racial perspectives are unrepresented. I’m white. I can’t understand the life experiences of a minority student. Someone on the board needs to bring their special desires and problems into focus. De’Shawn has different experience from the rest of the board. He was recently a student. He can represent the students better than any other board member, as he has a student leader. Furthermore, he can shed light on special needs and interest and values of the minorities he understands.

        You assume that more years of experience means you are going to do a better job. It’s my understanding from someone who served on the board with the candidate with the most experience that he should be put out to pasture..that he lacks innovation, doesn’t listen to parents or students, and just wants to stay in some office.

        You don’t really think that another candidate who is old and stale is always the best solution where innovation and fresh ideas are needed?

        Yeah, De’Shawn is young and he is already a shining star in the African American community leading young people by wonderful example. Do you really think Tom Torlakson is stupid and doesn’t know who the best candidate is?

        The students need De’Shawn and so do the rest of us.

        As someone privy to the kind of insider dirt that your article was all about, I am quite certain he is the best candidate. He will innovate.

        I really died laughing reading your article. I wish someone would write something like this where I live!

        • Carolyn Phinney says:

          You should have entitled it what it is…

          A ROAST.

          • Michael B. says:

            Hello Carolyn Phinney,

            Thank you for your passion in response to this article. It makes me wonder why someone with so much time and energy can have such dedication in getting their “opinion” across.

            Please allow me to share my opinion. In regards to your statement:
            “The students need De’Shawn and so do the rest of us.”

            I completely disagree. I feel De’Shawn is entirely inexperienced and needs life’s growing experiences to effectively lead.

            I admire your passion for “innovativeness”. Unfortunately, shooting by the hip is not the best way to go about managing my tax dollars. Yes, in my humble “opinion” innovativeness is an excellent experimental tool when you have the extra funds to experiment with. Antioch cannot afford “what if” scenarios. Tried and true practices, which stems from experience in the real world supersedes.

            Furthermore, your statement:
            “I can’t understand the life experiences of a minority student… He was recently a student. He can represent the students better than any other board member, as he has a student leader. Furthermore, he can shed light on special needs and interest and values of the minorities he understands.”

            I am a minority. I am Asian. Additionally, I am a recent transfer from LMC. I attended LMC when De’Shawn was there. I was active in many extra curricular activities with a 3.9 GPA, a member of the Honors Society and AGS. Currently, a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.

            So let me give my perspective as a minority student that went to school with De’Shawn. I never experienced any of his so-called leadership that made betterment for minorities. Nor did I experience any of the positives you boast about in his ability to “understand” and represent minority students.

            Will your logic lead you to say “well that’s because you’re Asian and not black” Well at any rate…De’Shawn lacks the experience and maturity to represent all minorities. Or did he just drop the ball with representing my minority ethnic group? Integrity is something learned through experience.

            Michael B.
            CSUEB Business Finance Student
            UC Berkeley Boalt School of Law candidate
            Contra Costa Top 1% Producer and member of the National Mortgage Broker’s Association NAMB, Real Estate Mortgage Broker
            Former California Highway Patrol Officer
            Antioch homeowner and parent

      • Cheryl G. says:

        Having met & interviewed De’Shawn, and other candidates, and also met de’Shawn through his involvements, I find him to be an exceptional candidate at ANY age! He is thoughtful and creative, and frankly a breath of fresh air. He is not restrained or constrained by the old techiniques and is very focused on the real world aspect of young people in the education system today and how to get them working ASAP. Given the opportunity, I wouldn’t think twice about that vote. You would be very lucky to have him.

  10. Carolyn Phinney says:

    The author writes: “Regardless of the racial aspect, my question is why is the Democratic Party injecting itself into local, what are supposed to be, non-partisan races? Then again, the Republicans are, too for the first time in this writer’s memory.”

    Political parties must care about local non-partisan races because these elected positions are the bottom rung on a ladder for higher office. You don’t want to give another party a toe-hold from which they can develop the political base to grab an Assembly seat.

    Look where our current likely Assembly people came from:
    Jim Frazier — City Council
    Joan Buchanan — School Board
    Susan Bonilla — not sure..she was a teacher…did she start on School Board or did she go straight to Supervisor?
    Nancy Skinner — Park District

    You see, all political candidates start somewhere. Usually, on the lower rungs on the ladder.

    • Publisher says:

      Correct, Ms. Phinney, many higher officeholders are former local elected officials.
      My point is that local office, below the State Assembly level, is supposed to be non-partisan, at least publicly. The candidates don’t run with a party designation behind their name. Local issues usually cross party lines. But, perhaps that’s changing, unfortunately.
      Allen Payton, Publisher

      • Carolyn Phinney says:

        I agree, local offices are designated “non-partisan” but there really is no such thing, when it comes to careers. What it means locally is that you are supposed to work with everyone and not be some party hack pushing the party agenda….that the job you are doing does not require a party perspective to be done. In the end, we are our biases and values. Party is one way to designate values…environmentalist? pro Middle Class or pro 1%, pro good Middle Class jobs that unions have provided our country for decades of growth or pro hiring people at cheapest wages possible, even if they can’t support a family and live in poverty. So, yes, candidates run as non-partisan, but parties play an important role and making sure you know whose non-partisan ox is going to be gored…and hence have a definite interest.

  11. Carolyn Phinney says:

    De’Shawn Woolridge does have experience as a student leader and activist. I had the opportunity to listen to him over coffee talking to a Regent of a local university. They were talking 100 miles an hour and De’Shawn knew every issue. I was amazed.

    If you want to talk about DISHONESTY, I suggest you check the ballot designation of Greg Enholm. He is NOT a PROFESSOR, which is a very high level designation in the college system. He is an INSTRUCTOR or such LOW LEVEL designation, as shown in last ballot designation 2 years ago when he ran unsuccessfully. Check Linked-In and other sources.

    To challenge an apparently false ballot designation, someone must hire an attorney, file a lawsuit, go before a judge, pay a filing fee and hope the judge cares about the level of deception. Hence, ballot designations are a great way to fool people.

    • Publisher says:

      Ms. Phinney,
      I checked with Greg Enholm and he says he is an Adjunct Professor at DeVry University.
      I have a copy of his contract, which he emailed me. It says “Adjunct Professor.”
      I also just called DeVry University and they confirmed he is a “Visiting Professor”
      So, I would say his use of the term Professor would be upheld in court.
      Here is a link to a definition of the term “Adjunct Professor” which should help you.
      Allen Payton, Publisher

      • Carolyn Phinney says:

        Interesting and thank you for finding that out. I did a google search about 2 months ago and found no such evidence anywhere, including Greg’s linked in and other profiles.

        Adjunct Professor means you are not tenured. Professor means you are tenured and have been an Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) promoted to Associate Professor (Tenured usually) and now are at the zenith of the hierarchy … a Professor, tenured, senior, top of your game. Dropping off the word Adjunct, which means you never even made Tenure Track, is a big omission.

        That having been said, I stand corrected and the public will be legally deceived, instead of illegally deceived.

        It’s Dr. Phinney, btw. Berkeley Ph.D.

        • Michael B. says:

          “I did a google search about 2 months ago and found no such evidence anywhere, including Greg’s linked in and other profiles.”

          As a Berkeley graduate you should know that information changes. 2 months ago? In today’s world things change much more rapidly, Dr. Phinney.

          You know what they say about those who assume…

          As a side note, I find it interesting that an learned academic individual from Berkeley would use acronyms such as btw. The last time I tried to pass an internet/text message acronym like that caused an uproar from my Professors. Oh btw, they were Adjunct Professors with Doctorate degrees, but we still refer to them as simply Professors.

          Michael B.
          CSUEB Business Finance Student
          UC Berkeley Boalt School of Law candidate
          Contra Costa Top 1% Producer and member of the National Mortgage Broker’s Association NAMB, Real Estate Mortgage Broker
          Former California Highway Patrol Officer
          Antioch homeowner and parent

  12. As to the length of my experience, the necessary judgments if my experience warrants tenure on the College Board will continue to be in the eye of the beholder to decide. There have been people on both sides of the aisle, who have provided criticism as to whether I am qualified to run and/or serve. I am thankful for each and every person taking the time out to give their assessment; beyond me simply saying they have freedom of speech protection, people are entitled to give their assessment on any candidate. When running for office, these types of criticisms are a part of the political arena and are the first major test for whether an individual can handle public service.

    Nevertheless, I personally feel that I do have what it takes in ideas, life experience and experience in the community to serve as trustee, as do people who know my story and have a full understanding of my life experience and my community experience that will make me a great Trustee. I have real world experience that has given me opportunities to exhibit leadership and gain personal growth from each and every moment. I have direct experience in the Community College district, knowing its operation and the issues that people feel passionate about across the four constituency groups will help me best serve the great residents of Ward V. This direct experience can show accomplishment of ideas and resolution of issues that I face on behalf of my constituents at the time (the students). I will be glad to sit down and discuss any and all of my experience with anyone.

    Even though I disagree with Mr. Payton and Mr. Michael B. on a few things that both of them have said, I respect their right to give their personal assessment of the College Board race and the candidates including me that seek this office.

    Ultimately no matter what, it will be the voters who will make the most important determination of all who is the best candidate to serve as the next Ward V Trustee of the Contra Costa Community College District.

    • Publisher says:

      Thank you for your response.
      However, you didn’t respond to my challenge of your claim of being a “Native of the District” when you were born in Oakland.
      Nativity is based on location of birth, not where
      You should change that to read, “Lived most of my life in the District” or “Raised in the District” don’t you think?
      Allen Payton, Publisher.

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