Shopping cart ordinance, card room initiative, first gated community, honor for city’s first African American resident, on Council agenda, Tuesday

By Allen Payton

As part of February’s Black History Month, the Antioch City Council will recognize the first African American to live in Antioch, back in the 1800’s, Thomas Gaines.

Council is asked to approve a proposed resolution to declare February 9, 2016 as “Thomas Gaines Day” in Antioch

The resolution states “In the 1860’s an emancipated slave named Thomas Gaines came to Antioch and worked as a laborer on the Antioch docks; and…was the only African American resident of Antioch between 1860 and the 1940’s; and…He lived in a red brick shack on the waterfront in the back of the Antioch Lumber Company; and…On February 28, 1875, Thomas Gaines became a member of the First Congregational Church by profession of faith; and…Thomas Gaines was highly regarded around town for his noble work and his caring attention towards others – he regularly walked women and children home from church for safety…”

According to the First Congregational Church of Antioch’s 150th anniversary website page, from last year, Gaines “was the only African-American allowed to live in Antioch, and he lived in a red brick shack on the waterfront in back of the Antioch Lumber Company. The shack was formerly part of the Joost Distillery.”

City’s First Gated Community

Also on the agenda for council approval will be the Vineyards at Sand Creek, a proposed 641-home, gated community on the most southeastern side of Antioch, by Blackhawk-Nunn. The partnership is the same one that built the Apple Hill Estates development, Brentwood’s first gated community. The new homes are projected to be in the $500,000 to $600,000 range and will each pay an annual fee for more police. If approved, the project will be the first gated, single-family home community in Antioch.

Shopping Cart Ordinance

The Council will also consider a new shopping cart ordinance that “requires that all operators of business that offer shopping carts install an identification plaque that identifies the cart owner and states that it is unlawful to remove the cart from the premises…and contain the telephone number and address of cart owner.”

It also allows a City official who discovers a cart two options. They can either inform the cart owner and “notify them of the location of the shopping cart” and give “three business days to retrieve the cart.” Or, “the City official could impound the cart, contact the owner” and give them three business days to retrieve it from the City.

If they don’t retrieve it within that time, then the business “will be subject to impound and storage fees.” The fine is to be determined, later, to give businesses “an education period while the program begins.”

The ordinance further states “Repeat offenders who have three violations in a six-month period, may also be subject to a $50 fine for each occurrence.”

The proposed ordinance is modeled after one adopted by the City of Oakley.

Card Room Initiative

A privately funded initiative to limit the number of card rooms in Antioch to two and expansion of the current one, and require voter approval for any changes, has obtained the necessary votes to be placed on the ballot. The City Council can decide to either pass it, at Tuesday’s meeting, or allow it to go to the June ballot. However, if it goes to the ballot, the initiative will cost the City’s General Fund between $132,771 and $177,028, according to City Clerk Arne Simonsen.

The effort is being funded by the California Grand Casino in Pacheco to limit competition and led by Antioch residents Lamar Thorpe, a member of the Antioch Economic Development Commission and unsuccessful candidate for the Antioch City Council in 2012, and his wife Patrice Guillory.

The Council previously voted to reduce the number of allowable card rooms in Antioch from five to two, but currently there is only one operating in town.

The city staff report on the item reads as follows:

It is our understanding that the initiative is sponsored/supported by the card room industry and certainly has the intended purpose of: 1) maintaining the status quo for the existing one card room; and 2) making it difficult to allow new or enlarged card rooms. These two factors would benefit the existing local card room as well as other existing card rooms within the trade area, which includes Pacheco and Livermore.

The limitation of card rooms to the status quo may be something that a majority of voters would support. There was widespread community opposition to a proposed Indian Casino in town several years ago and the idea was dropped.

Additionally, there is no apparent organized opposition to the initiative, but the initiative supporters could be expected to campaign in support of it. Thus with expected vigorous campaigning for the measure and little or no expected opposition, the measure could easily pass (only a majority vote is required).

These factors argue in favor of having the Council simply adopt the ordinance without amendment Reconfigured Ordinance, 1 Attachment #4. State law speaks in terms of the Council “adopting” such measures, so there is no introduction with reading waived step in the process, as would be typical.

However, adopting the ordinance would eliminate the City’s option in the future of trying to attract, or acting on an application, for a new or enlarged card room. If the City Council wishes to keep open the option of entertaining a new or larger card room in the future, and believes that such option is worth the expense of the election, then the Council should reject the idea of adopting the ordinance and it should call the election.

Also, it should be noted that if Council adopts the ordinance, it cannot be amended in the future without approval of the voters. The same rule applies if the measure is submitted to the voters and passes, i.e. the City Council cannot subsequently amend it without further voter approval.

The Antioch City Council meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, located between West 2nd and 3rd Streets at H Street in downtown. It can be viewed on Comcast local cable channel 24 or AT&T Uverse channel 99, or via live stream on the Council meeting page on the City’s website.

One Comment to “Shopping cart ordinance, card room initiative, first gated community, honor for city’s first African American resident, on Council agenda, Tuesday”

  1. Karl dietzel says:

    While I support the ordinary , it will have no impact
    Since antioch does not have the man power
    To enforce it.
    We do not need anymore ordinances , we need
    Code enforcement and the still missing pd officers
    To enforce exciting ordinances .

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