Effort to recall Antioch Mayor Harper falls short, expected to seek re-election, another candidate announces

By Allen Payton

According to an email from Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen, the recall effort of Antioch Mayor Wade Harper is dead.

This afternoon, Monday, June 8th, the proponent (Mr. Richard Buongiorno) of the recall petition of Mayor Wade Harper presented for filing all sections of the petition to the City Clerk in accordance with Elections Code 11222(a),” Simonsen’s email stated. “In accordance with Elections Code 11222(b), as the elections official I determined that the number of signatures, prima facie, did not equal or exceed the minimum number of signatures required and in accordance with Election Code 11222(b) “…the petition shall not be filed. Any petition not accepted for filing shall be returned to the proponents. All sections of the petition were returned to the proponent.”

They needed approximately 9,000 valid signatures of registered voters in Antioch.

We had a deadline to meet, which was June 8th, today,” said Buongiorno, who was the original organizer of the recall effort. “The problem that exists is I had bowed out of the recall on March 5, because I was going to get a transplant.”

He explained what occurred, further.

On March 10 a committee of five people was formed, to follow through,” he said. “I kept referring people who wanted to sign the petition to one or two of the primary committee members.”

I found out a week-ago Friday, after making numerous referrals to these two ladies, that they had disbanded the recall committee and they told me ‘we are not in the recall any more.’

That started a frenzy. I had to recruit over a dozen people to help get signatures. Even up until 3:30 p.m., today I was driving around the city to gather petitions with recall signatures to count, because I had a meeting with Arne at 4:00 p.m., today.

Simonsen immediately saw problems with the petitions. So, now I’m going to have to go through it, for my own piece of mind, to see how many signatures we have,” Buongiorno added. “But, we are done with the recall.”

However, he attempted to offer supporters a bright side.

We currently have sufficient information to continue with our efforts to replace Harper as Mayor in 2016. It’s only 515 days away,” he said with a laugh. “Not that I’m counting.”

But, it’s not just Harper,” Buongiorno added. “It’s all the council members who are up for election, next year. All those people not doing their job.”

People are tired of it. They’re sick of it. It’s all the lying. They’re not doing their job.”

In response to the recall failing, Buongiorno changed the name of the Facebook page from Recall Wade Harper to Fire Wade Harper 2016.

In a post on that page, Buongiorno wrote the following:

This is an advisory, which will be followed up on very soon.

I arranged for an appointment this afternoon with the Antioch’s Election Official, Arne Simonsen. I submitted everything I had received for the recall, including the incredible amount of signatures gathered in the last 10 days.

It would appear that there would be insufficient signatures to proceed with the filing.

First, I would like to thank all the people that worked on recall, many of who stuck it out to the very end. I do acknowledge there were a lot of hours invested in this effort and I certainly appreciate all that time invested.

Second, even though it was a blessing and I would not have changed a thing, I have not doubt that had I not been grounded by the transplant medical team and support staff, I am confident that the outcome would have been different.

Once it has been determined that the recall is definitively not proceeding, I will be receiving written confirmation. However, once the determination is made it becomes public which is why I am posting this advisory. No doubt the media will catch wind of it, as early as today.

My respect for you and the movement is my major concern and I wanted you to know before you read it elsewhere.

As indicated, I will be posting additional information since I have received so many requests.

Sincerely expressing my appreciation to all, Rich”

Harper is expected to seek reelection, next year, having held a Mardi Gras themed fundraiser, earlier this year.

The only other candidate for mayor, so far, is Gil Murillo, who announced at a Brazil Night music event at Tailgaters in March, that he organized.

Murillo posted the following on the Facebook page he created for his campaign, www.facebook.com/murilloformayor:

What is my platform…it is simple.

First, work with the County and Local School District to design a plan to improve our schools. We are a community and before we can make it better, we need to have an inspiring environment for the children of our City. I know it is the School District that needs to be responsible for this, but this is a community issue which is all of us.

Crime – this is a tough subject and I don’t have the answer but I will work with community, ADP and consultants who can provide great insights on a long term plan. But for sure, look at expanding our mutual aide agreements with Brentwood and Pittsburg for expanded patrols. Look to see if we can engage County or State services for police services. I would work on developing a Police Reserve program for residents who want to serve once more from the heart. There is much we can do quickly.What is important, is to ensure revenue streams exist to ensure that we have a strong force.

Employment – In targeting education and crime, employers will consider Antioch once more. My goal is to bring high paying jobs to our community. By bringing these jobs, the organic change in our community will occur. If you have great paying local jobs, you will shop more in the community and it will also bring property values higher. I will work in allocating General Fund dollars to our local Economic Committee and Chamber of Commerce to promote Antioch.

Housing – With so many development plans already approved or in flight, we need to make sure that developments are aligned to the community. Important that the community style is maintained. I will also push for a local HUD office to open in Antioch with the emphasis of managing the issues that surround Section 8 housing. We have to realize that the property owner who is local or overseas, is overall responsible for their tenants. Having a local HUD office will ensure that property owners are responsible for the tenant and appearance of the property, the tenant will adhere to the regulations of their HUD agreement. I will stop development efforts on the condo complex and move forward with the community park in Downtown.

Blight and Graffiti – I will increase funding for City services to ensure that these issues are addressed quickly. I would work with the local school district to elicit students to help combat graffiti by having them paint.

This is a quick narrative but it gives you some ideas. Happy to speak with you directly.

We can make a difference in working together. I am not seeking this position for any personal agenda, but seeking this position to bring your thoughts forward for consideration. We all have the answers.

Thank you for spending your time in reviewing my thoughts and God Bless you all and God Bless our wonderful city of Antioch.”

Buongiorno added one final comment, via email to the Herald:

There were two primary goals of the recall group. First being the recall, the second being an introduction to what the City of Antioch staff, including all council members, are doing to it’s residents and constituents (where applicable).

The constant and continual ‘smoke and mirrors’ is not acceptable. After specifically expressing the lack of transparency, questionable tactics and what appears as malfeasance and possible collusion. Nothing has changed.

The people of Antioch have learned to do what they learned as children to, ‘Stop, Look and Listen.’ It is doesn’t look or sound right they have learned they have the right to question and receive a reasonable answer.

I personally believe that 515 days from now, the people of Antioch will express their voting rights and change this city, even if it takes new recalls to do it.”

Harper responded via email, with the following statement:

While I believe the recall attempt was not warranted, for me this has been a blessing in disguise; I have gained supporters that I didn’t know I had. My supporters have stated that they would not vote for, support or allow a recall; they see me out there in the community. I have continued to work hard for the citizens of Antioch. I will continue to do so, as long as I am able. We all want a safer community. We are working hard to make that happen. The recent report by Chief Allan Cantando has shown that violent crime continues to decrease. As a retired law enforcement professional, I understand that crime trends are cyclical, and as crime continues to rear its ugly head, we will continue to fight it.

Now that the recall attempt has ended, I am asking Mr. Buongiorno to please cancel the ‘Committee to elect Wade Harper,’ it is misleading, dishonest and it is not a committee to elect me. The recall events were disguised as ‘stop the violence’ rallies (I noticed online that there were photos with the recall wording covered up). I have a lifetime of community service and I will continue to work hard for the citizens of Antioch. My plan during these last few months was simply to continue to work hard in the community and continue to be visible. Let’s end the divisiveness and let’s work together to make Antioch safe and build our economy.”

The next election for Mayor of Antioch will be held in November, 2016.

the attachments to this post:

Recall Wade Harper ad close up

Recall Wade Harper ad in Times

3 Comments to “Effort to recall Antioch Mayor Harper falls short, expected to seek re-election, another candidate announces”

  1. Joe says:

    So I guess we will have 515 more days of gang wars. Congrats, Harper. You clown. Recall or no, your days are numbered.

  2. Rich says:

    If I have said it once, I will unfortunately repeat it agaion – the truth shall prevail. It may take a while, but it will.

    All ready, the alleged “Committee to elect Wade Harper” had nopthing to do with the recall campaign. That was admitted by the the newspaper to have been their error.

    There is a lot more to come.

    • Peggy Vertin says:

      I can’t wait for the “more to come.” I’m sure it will be the best soap opera ever. If they don’t do something about City Government and the City Manager in Antioch soon, I’m outta there. Antioch is absolutely unintelligently managed City I’ve ever lived in. I can see why people are so fed up and are leaving in droves and why there are so many houses for sale for cheap compared to other areas.

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