Letter Writer: Ruehlig can’t be bought or bullied

I am Walter Ruehlig’s toughest critic. Whatever arguments there are for or against his campaign and candidacy for Antioch City Council; I vouch my husband will bring to the Council one undeniable and most important character trait. Walter Ruehlig cannot be bought nor bullied.

The German origin of the Ruehlig last name means calm or steady.  However, adversity has toughened the spirit underneath the gentle facade. His mother, Marie, died of cancer at age ten.  At age fourteen, Richard, an older brother, was institutionalized for mental illness.  Walter worked his way through college and graduated Cum Laude from the State University of New York in Albany. One of his first jobs was teaching English-As-A-Second-Language for the Peace Corps in Sultandag, a village in Turkey which had neither running water nor electricity.

It is no surprise then that Walter was undaunted when he joined the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) Board of Trustees in 2004 while the District was on the fiscal watch list with a 9 million dollar deficit and a 703 Academic Performance Index (API) score.  Today, the District has a 34 million ending fund balance, has climbed to a 742 API score with eight schools hovering or above the vaunted 800 mark and has become a state trailblazer in link learning with five career academies.

Walter will not be deterred by the challenges of crime, blight and economic lethargy.  This gutsy, transplanted New Yorker will help build the city that we envision and stand unfazed by allures or threats from special interest groups that carry a price tag for their loyalty.  For Antioch, the best is yet to come.

Cynthia Ruehlig


3 Comments to “Letter Writer: Ruehlig can’t be bought or bullied”

  1. Skip says:

    There’s a fine line between being tenacious and being a being stubborn. Mr. Ruehlig may have done a lot for Antioch schools, but his actions to try and force a parcel tax on it’s residents makes him seem more like the bully. Antioch is still near bankruptcy. Municipal bonds have gotten prohibitively expensive for borrowers and yet, even after residents rejected a school bond, he made sure that another initiative ended up on the ballot less then 6 months after voters already rejected the idea. Who knows maybe it will pass, but if it does, it will sacrifice Antioch’s future for repairs that Mr. Ruehlig should have been setting aside money for all along. Our local leaders need to quit pushing their agendas and listen to the people. It’s not called being bullied, it’s called being pragmatic.

    • Skip,

      I respect your difference of opinion on the Bond. Agreed, it is a miserable time (though labor rates are incredibly low). I am not a tax and spend kind of guy. Locally controlled capital construction is one of the rare times I am inclined for a tax and even then I believe in putting it to the voters.

      To be fair, we did a survey and almost 60% approved. In the actual vote a majority approved, some 54.5%, just a scant 31 votes short of 55%. The fact, too, that it was not a general election, with only some 30% voting, made me think (after great deliberation)to support having it put before all the voters. I felt it was the democratic way and not my business to interfere with polling.

      That said, I am sympathetic to your arguments.


  2. Maria says:

    Measure B is not a parcel tax, it is a general obligation Bond. In June this proposal lost by a mere 31 votes. Considering the dismal turnout for the June election, it was completely appropriate to put this very important measure before the voters again in the November election for the community to reconsider if they think it is time to upgrade Antioch High School. This historic high school has served this community for over 58 years but just like any other old facility that serves our children or community it is deserving of a renovation. Thank you to the Antioch Unified Board of Education for their passion in seeing not only the need but invisioning the future, employing our local contruction crews, and supporting the future of students at Antioch High School with improved security, athletic facilities that allows students to be competitive and accessability to technology that will prepare them for college, career and life.

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