Watchdog – Review of Measure C on Antioch’s November ballot

Watchdog-LogoBy Barbara Zivica

Last year the Antioch City Council decided against placing a parcel tax for additional Police Dept. funding on the November ballot. One wonders if the council would have made the same decision if there weren’t three open seats up for election, including the mayor’s seat. This year it’s a different story. The City (council) is spending more than $200,000 to get voters to approve the deceptive sales tax increase ballot Measure C.

Although it’s being heavily promoted by the council and the police chief as the solution to an understaffed police department, scrutiny of the measure reveals that any funds received from increasing the tax on all our purchases for the next 7 years, will go into the city’s General Fund and can be used for any legal governmental purpose. The measure was purposely written in this manner to enable an easier passage, requiring only 50% plus one yes votes to be approved. A specific tax measure requiring all additional sales tax revenues be directed to police services and public safety would require 2/3 voter approval whichm apparently the council doesn’t think would pass.

Measure C is similar to Measure P, Antioch’s 2010 sales tax measure which, council should note, failed. Failure was attributed to opponents being worried about the impact on local businesses and wary of the fact that the money was not guaranteed to go to the police department:

A few facts for you to consider before you vote:

Prop 30 (Governor Jerry Brown) passed in November, 2012, raising the sales tax from 7.25% to 7.5% and increasing upper income brackets, increases which applied retroactively to all income earned or received since the first of January, 2012. Another voter approved state law which also passed amended specific pension formulas for public employees (2.7% at age 55 for police officers and 2% at age 62 for other employee categories, effective January 1, 2013.

On December 27, 2012, in order to avoid the new law which would freeze the benefit level for lateral (experienced) officers, the newly sworn in Mayor and council members, urged on by the Police Chief, adopted an “urgency ordinance” amending recent negotiations which extended the existing contract with police until 2016 and specified that police hired after September 1 would have to wait until age 55 to collect the 3% retirement benefit, saving the city up to $2.5 million.

The council ignored a recent comparison showing that Antioch pension benefit levels matched or exceeded 10 of 15 nearby cities and restored the 3% retirement benefit at age 50 for newly hired lateral officers, stating the move was necessary to attract more experienced officers.

Being that the police department continues to be understaffed, it’s clear to me that, in order to assure the public’s safety, we need to adopt more proactive policing policies like those under Chief James Hyde, rather than continue the reactive policing policies practiced now, practices similar to former Chief Dave Lewis.

NOTE: Property tax values are moving upward again. In July, County Assessor Gus Kramer told the Board of Supervisors “The increase to the local tax base for 2013-14 is over $4.87 billion. This represents a 3.45% increase in assessed value and brings the total local assessment roll to over $146 billion, just 6.92% away from the county’s record assessed value, which was set in 2008. Cities with the largest increases in assessed value are: Antioch, (7.38%), Brentwood, Clayton, Oakley and Walnut Creek.

8 Comments to “Watchdog – Review of Measure C on Antioch’s November ballot”

  1. Reginald Brown says:


    It has been some time since you posted an article. I miss reading them. Thanks for explaining the truth behind Measure C. I find it misleading that they advertise “More police, less crime” on the signs, when in fact, it goes to a general fund and the City Council can do whatever they want for it.

    When will they realize they can’t fool every Antioch citizen. Maybe they are just hoping to fool enough votes to get it passed.

    What happened to the millions of dollars Antioch received from the government about a year or so ago to hire more police officers? Where did that money go and where are the newly hired officers?

    I think this is another clever marketing campaign from Mayor Harper. Just like his “Zero tolerance for crime” slogan.

    Maybe if the Mayor and the council members actually stay true to their words and use their brains to fight the source of Antioch’s problems, people will be more apt to vote for higher taxes since they can see it is going to a good cause. Currently, the Mayor hasn’t done anything to improve Antioch. The only thing he’s done is ask for more money through Measure C.

    What was the buzz word they were using when they all got new seats? I think it was “strategic plan”. Yes, they claimed they needed a “strategic plan” to solve Antioch’s problems. My pet monkey could have come up with that idea. Yeah, no doubt we need a “strategic plan”, I guess the plan was to ask the tax payers for more money. The same tax payers they shun when we show up on that podium asking for help.

    Hope to see you in the Antioch forums soon, Watchdog.

  2. Had cancer surgery but am on the mend. Thanks.

  3. Annette Logan says:

    Taxes for police going in the General Fund eh? Sure…..
    Looks like a lot happening in 2017-2018 with the cities bond payments.

    Make promises you cant keep and spend today, Pay tomorrow.

    From the cities financial report:

    As of June 30, 2012, annual debt service requirements of governmental activities to maturity are as
    Principal Interest
    2012 $ 525,000 $ 1,521,829
    2013 585,000 1,494,602
    2014 650,000 1,463,764
    2015 720,000 1,429,266
    2016 790,000 1,390,507
    2017-2021 5,245,000 6,204,188
    2022-2026 7,435,000 4,473,219
    2027-2031 12,055,000 3,050,875
    Total $ 28,005,000 $21,028,250

    Interest payments and lease revenue bond retirements are serviced by revenues generated by the
    GENERAL FUND and tax increment from the former redevelopment agency.

  4. […] Antioch Herald put out a piece recently by self-proclaimed “Watchdog” Barbara Zivica who was apparently more […]

    • Publisher says:

      Let’s correct your headline, Mike. We post the commentaries and letters to the editor of any Antioch resident. Barbara Zivica chooses to call herself the Watchdog and is not paid for her column. Just like others whose letters and commentary on Measure C have been posted on our site or printed in the Herald, Ms. Zivica is free to offer her opinion, whether it be correct or not, or whether one agrees with her, or not.
      Allen Payton, Publisher

  5. Just received flyer from Antioch Police Officers’ Assoc stating that Measure C was placed on the ballot “because of the recession, City of Anatioch revenue has declined by $13M a year, resulting in our losing 45 police officer positions due to budget cuts. Measure C will allow for the hiring of 22 new police officers to work on lowering crime in Antioch.” Hire 22 more officers? I didn’t see that in Measure C. By the way I heard that we swore in 4 more officers this week.

    • karl says:

      hello barb,

      by the way, the “recession” is over, incoming sales tax is up, incoming property tax is up, crime is way down by 22%. the city never “lost” 45 officers. not one officer got laid off. 5 years ago, 5 officer got a pink slip under hyde, but never got fired.
      hyde fired all cso’s and the city code enforcement. in order to do their jobs, patrol officers had to be pulled of the street. the process was a sole decision between hyde and jakel, no other supervisors were consulted, or had any say in it. it’s a surprise to me, that nobody has blamed bush……

  6. Concerned Antioch resident says:

    I guess I don’t understand why the business license tax/fee for rental properties was not pursued by the council. The tax/fee is not something that has to be on the ballot for voters to approve. It is already a legal right of the city to impose. I’ve included a link to an article that explains the process and legal implications. To me, this would be a more equitable way for the city to secure funding for police and code enforcement officers– which are largely needed due to the high rental population in Antioch.

Leave a Reply