Payton Perspective: Street renaming reveals frustration of Antioch residents, businesses support

Old Antioch map

An old map of Antioch shows the original street names in downtown: There’s no name on the map for A Street, which is on the left, B St. was Hard (named for the city’s first mayor), C St. was Manhattan, D St. was Vanderwater, E St. was Emerson, F St. was Kimball, G St. was Boober, H St. was Galloway, I St. was Main, J St. was Parsons, K St. was Roberson, L St. was Darine, M St. was Mary and N St. was Jane. West First was Front, West Second was Wyatt, West Third was Brown, West Fourth was Marsh, West Fifth was Adams, West Sixth was Uetter (sp?), West 7th was Church, West 8th was Williams and West 9th was Knapp. Map provided courtesy of Oak View Memorial Park.

By Allen Payton, Publisher

In response to recent articles about the Antioch City Council’s decision to move forward with renaming streets that lead to and through Antioch’s historic downtown Rivertown, residents lit up social media with negative comments about the condition of the city.

The idea, which has been around since the City’s 1996 Economic Plan was developed and adopted, is now part of the updated Downtown Specific Plan, which the council is acting on.

L Street could become Marina Way, Blvd, or Parkway and A and West Second Streets could be Rivertown Drive and West Rivertown Drive, so when people drive Highway 4, they will see that there’s a river, marina, waterfront and Rivertown, there.

Downtown business owners support the idea as a way to help revitalize and attract more people to the area

Most comments were that the city needs to focus on cleaning up the streets and city, first. I heard them loud and clear. But, both can happen at the same time and the council voting for renaming the streets, won’t implement it, right away, giving businesses enough time to prepare and use up stationery. Plus, it wouldn’t be paid for with funds that pay for police or code enforcement.

People need to understand how city finances work. There are capital funds used for one-time expenses, such as road improvements and signage, as well as sewer or water line repairs and expansion. Then there’s the General Fund, which pays for on-going expenses, mainly for police, as well as Code Enforcement Officers and other city staff. Money that would be spent for new street signs cannot be spent on police or code enforcement. So, there would be no competition for the money used.

As the map shows, the curent street names aren’t the original ones, anyways. The streets in downtown from B to N and First to Ninth Streets had family and other names. When and why the city council changed them to letters and numbers, I haven’t yet been able to learn.

So, let’s change the names of the streets that lead to downtown to something better than numbers and letters, that will actually do something to help promote Antioch’s historic Rivertown, waterfront and marina.

At the same time, the city council and staff need to clean up our city as the citizens want, expect and shouldn’t have to ask to be done. They’ve all been back to work full time, with two raises, since January. It’s time to get it done.

the attachments to this post:

Old Antioch map

13 Comments to “Payton Perspective: Street renaming reveals frustration of Antioch residents, businesses support”

  1. Karl dietzel says:

    Dear publisher
    Your article simply does not reflects the people’s opposition to the proposed name change.
    I read out of most of the social media posting, that the people do not mind to change street names,
    But, we the people clearly like to see priorities first.
    We the people like to see our money spend on hiring the missing police officers, a fully staffed
    Code enforcement department, and all cso’s hired.
    I understand also that we the people reject the idea that the city imposes enormous cost to businesses and
    Residents to change their addresses .
    Please do not belittle antioch residents by saying they do not understand how a cities finances work , so let’s listen to the people, were still in a democracy . Let’s fight crime, blight, reinstall same quality of live first.

    • Publisher says:

      I repeat what I wrote in my column regarding spending money on this versus police and code enforcement:
      “People need to understand how city finances work. There are capital funds used for one-time expenses, such as road improvements and signage, as well as sewer or water line repairs and expansion. Then there’s the General Fund, which pays for on-going expenses, mainly for police, as well as Code Enforcement Officers and other city staff. Money that would be spent for new street signs cannot be spent on police or code enforcement. So, there would be no competition for the money used.”
      Allen Payton, Publisher

      • Karl dietzel says:

        I totally disagree with you, if, the city council and city manager
        Really want to fix the city, we, the city, can do whatever
        It takes to fix the city.

        All the other not needed now things, pushed by
        Special interest groups can and should wait.

        • Publisher says:

          Disagree with what? That the funds to pay for street renaming won’t come from the funds that pay for police and code enforcement? Then you’re disagreeing with the facts, Karl.
          So, downtown business owners are a “special interest”, now? What about the group of people who wanted to put the park and event center on the lot in downtown? Are they a “special interest”, too?
          Again, the city council can do both, clean up the city and rename the streets to help promote downtown as part of the effort to revitalize the area.
          Allen Payton, Publisher

          • Karl dietzel says:

            To me it’s a very simple American way: democratic
            The majority rules, that simple.

            Hundreds of social media comments clearly stated
            No to a name change at this time, let’s fix first crime,
            Blight, quality of life,

            Same applies to the down town park issue ,
            Thousands have signed a petition, but council and
            City manager simply ignored the fact that
            We the people want/ need a park down there.
            The people’s voice is ignored by closed door sessions
            And behind closed doors voting.

          • Publisher says:

            That’s correct. So, if a majority of council members support renaming the streets, then it will happen. You can’t rely on comments on social media, Karl. Besides, most said clean things up, first and many didn’t want to use funds that would be used for police, code enforcement and cleaning things up. I’ve pointed out to you and anyone else who chooses to read my column that their concern will be addressed, because they’re not paid for out of the same city funds.
            The city can do both – approve the renaming, now, implement it in a year, and in the meantime clean things up, and hire more police.
            Why should downtown business and property owners wait for the city to do things elsewhere before the City does something to benefit the downtown? The answer is they don’t. Both can be done at the same time – and with different funds.
            But, thousands signed the petition for the park and event center?
            Maybe hundreds did.
            We’ll see what the council decides is in the best interest of the city as a whole and the downtown.
            Allen Payton, Publisher

  2. Nancy Fernandez says:

    The names of streets no longer matter to me. I want this city improved so we don’t look like East Oakland any longer. I don’t want people parked on their front yards, trash on every side walk, weeds every where. The drought hasn’t caused what is wrong with Antioch the last 2 city councils decisions have. This city manager has. The homeless need to be helped. The money decisions need to be far better. Repairs to the streets that are real repairs need to be done. New businesses that are other than retail are needed in Antioch. A real economic director needs to be brought in. There are so many things that need to be tended to besides changing street names and causing large expenses to businesses.

    • Publisher says:

      It won’t be a large expense to businesses. The council can give them a year before the streets are renamed so they’ll have time to prepare and use up any existing stationery. As for your other comments, I agree. Fortunately, many streets are getting repaired, including $2.2 million in recent road repairs, as was reported in the September issue of the Herald.
      Allen Payton, Publisher

  3. Nancy Fernandez says:

    Mr. Publisher. The repairs to the roads will fall apart in a good rain or two. Some of them are already having to be redone because they were sinking. (Auto Center). They have not repaired they have only oiled over. Some of the roads are in worse shape than they were before the repair. Smoother? No way because they have not truly been repaired. This is not an investment it is simply window dressing by staff and city manager. See how much they can fool everyone.

  4. Tony Perez says:

    Allen, you made very good points. After all, drawing in more business into Antioch will generate revenues for the city which can be used for maintenence and improvements. Does Antioch have civic volunteer programs where people who want to see things get better can participate in making them better? I learned years ago, when you and I were in high school together, that to ensure change happens, you may need to be part of the solution. Still rings true today.

    • Nancy Fernandez says:

      Mr. Perez: The city does indeed have many volunteer programs for citizens who want to help make this city better. Many of us are members of such groups and have worked years and years to no avail. As long as the city looks this bad businesses will not come and several of my friends who own businesses have moved them to Brentwood. That means I now have to do business in Brentwood which I never did in 40 or more years. I have been here since 1965.

    • Karl dietzel says:

      Hi tony
      The city has more volunteers then city employees,
      Volunteers who clearly are being used as a
      “Free” city work force.
      Volunteers removing trash at their own time, with
      Their own vehicles, at their own expense,
      Volunteers who remove grafitty , volunteers who
      To garden planting a etc, volunteers who work
      In the safety area, volunteers who run music shows, museums
      And good knows what else.
      Very recently the works department was trying to
      Built up a new volunteer group, finding water leaks.

      I read and see more and better results to better
      Our (antiochs) quality of life situation, then our city
      Ever can produce.
      Antioch has given / approved measure c and measure o,
      So the city has the money, but does not deliver .
      Just recently the city manager claimed there even
      Is a surplus.!!!!

      I want to see the city take charge of those things,

  5. Reginald Jamal Brown says:

    This city is not meant to be improved. If that happens the section 8, drug dealers, pimps, and other criminals will feel uncomfortable. They love the Oakland atmosphere.

    Antioch is meant to house the criminals so other cities can enjoy their crime free neighborhoods. People in Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, and the like would be very upset if criminals started moving out of Antioch and into their neighborhoods. We can’t have that at all.

    Guess who’s pockets are being lined in order to keep things the way they are? Trust me you don’t have to look far.

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