Antioch Herald recommends: Turnage, Thorpe for Antioch City Council, Wright for Mayor

In making our decision about who to endorse for Mayor of Antioch and City Council, one choice was easy. Kenny Turnage II is by far the best choice for the Antioch City Council. He has a background in growing a business in Antioch, and serving the community in a variety of ways, including as a member of the Economic Development Commission.

He has the best combination of experience, understanding of the issues, and willingness to speak out on the problems we face and hold people accountable to solve them. Turnage knows how to get things done. Antioch needs him on the City Council.

The second choice for council was more difficult. Fred Rouse offers both the time availability and fiscal knowledge as a retired businessman. We like his service on the City’s Administrative Appeals Board. But, we believe he needs more experience and understanding of the issues and how to deal with them and encourage him to run, again in two years.

Councilwoman Mary Rocha has served Antioch, well while in public office for 32 years, including 16 on the school board, four as mayor and 12 years as a council member. We applaud her commitment to serving and working to make Antioch better and for being the only incumbent to attend our forum and face the tough questions.

But she, Councilwoman Monica Wilson and Mayor Wade Harper, who are both seeking their second terms in their positions, have failed in two very serious ways: police staffing and Measures C and O oversight.

In 2013, they promised us 22 more police officers if we passed Measure C. We voted for it and gave the council an extra $5.5 million per year to spend. We have a net four sworn police officers, as a result and they can’t explain exactly how and where the rest of the money was spent. That’s unacceptable. They have not earned the right to be reelected.

Karl Dietzel has some good ideas and we encourage him to continue speaking out on the various issues as a resident, but not as a council member.

Lamar Thorpe has been somewhat controversial since getting involved in Antioch politics, four years ago. A false accusation against him by an ex-girlfriend, nine months after she claimed it happened, during his senior year in  college, has followed him for nine years. This paper was part of that by reporting on it, the best we could based on the information we had. Thorpe refused to speak with our reporter, at that time, because he had lost trust in the media and was tired of dealing with the issue.

But, now that Thorpe has spoken to the Herald, it is clear what he was accused of never happened. He was still punished for it, in an on-campus disciplinary process. While it took him a year, Thorpe won his appeal and his record was expunged. That issue should no longer be allowed to affect his ability to put his skills, energy and positive ideas to work to benefit Antioch. We need that combination on the Council, now.

While we disagreed with his leading the Measure E campaign, this year, his reasons for working to pass it were   different than the out-of-town casino that funded it. As a result, Thorpe paid the price and was removed from his seat on the Economic Development Commission by the current city council, an action supported by this newspaper.

However, his efforts proved to be successful, as the voters of Antioch overwhelmingly sided with Thorpe and passed the ballot measure in June.

The voters should side with him, again and elect him to the City Council.

In deciding who to endorse for Mayor of Antioch for the next four years, we were torn. While Gil Murillo has some good ideas, and we like his aggressive promises for local job creation, we believe it would be best if  he waited a few years, learned more about the local issues and ran for city council, then. We suggest the new mayor appoint Murillo to the city’s   Economic Development Commission.

We like Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock’s leadership over the past two years and willingness to be the lone voice of reason, on the city council. But, if she’s elected Mayor, she will have to step down from her council seat and the council will have to appoint her replacement for the remaining two years of her term. We’ve had too much of that in the past and prefer to have all five council members elected by the voters.

Dr. Sean Wright’s leadership has turned around the Antioch Chamber of Commerce over the past six years. His regional connections and efforts are already helping Antioch economically. His energy and vision will serve us, well.

If you want both Wright and Ogorchock on the council, we recommend you join us and vote Wright for Mayor, and we’ll get them both. With Turnage and Thorpe on the council, it will be a dynamic combination of four strong leaders who will help solve our city’s crime and blight problems, and bring businesses and jobs to Antioch.

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5 Comments to “Antioch Herald recommends: Turnage, Thorpe for Antioch City Council, Wright for Mayor”

  1. Rich Buongiorno says:

    I try my best when it comes election time to weed through it all and rely on the media for background, but I am confused. This is a glowing recommendation. I don;t know the person, so that’s a chalk mark on one side, then, the Thorpe endorsement becomes a problem for me. I read the following published just 7 months ago in the Antioch Herald (http://antiochherald.com/2016/02/p20180/):

    While the Council chose to allow the initiative to go to the ballot, I hold Thorpe personally responsible for costing Antioch taxpayers that amount of money that could be used, instead to pay for at least one police officer for a year.

    “Here’s the crazy part. Thorpe is a member of the Antioch Economic Development Commission and was nominated by Mayor Wade Harper and appointed by the City Council. He’s supposed to be working to help grow the local economy. Instead, he’s chosen to be a shill for the California Grand Casino in Pacheco, to limit competition for them and creating a monopoly for the only current card room in Antioch, the 19th Hole.

    Whether or not you agree with gambling, as I do not, the issue is what is the role of a member of the Antioch Economic Development Commission? Doing the bidding for out of town interests to limit competition in our city is not one of those.”

    Which side of the board does the chalk mark go now?

  2. Concerned Antioch Resident says:

    I agree with this recommendation!

  3. Julio says:

    Mr. Thorpe was removed from the Economic Development Commission and his ballot measure went on to WIN in Antioch pretty much proving he was right. Lamar has proven to be a person that supports the good things in Antioch and continues to attend many meetings a month as a citizen to support his involvement. You can find him at the Police Commission meetings, City Council meetings and others on a regular basis. His wife is involved in the same manner with the school district and other things involving support of our children. The council, particularly the mayor, did their best to destroy a man who has proven he is a winner.

  4. […] Dr. Sean Wright’s leadership has turned around the Antioch Chamber of Commerce over the past six years. His regional connections and efforts are already helping Antioch economically. His energy and vision will serve us, well. ~ Antioch Herald, October 4th, 2016 […]

  5. Garry Holman says:

    Good choices all three for all the reasons you describe. As a former member of the Antioch Economic Development Commission myself (2001-2009), including one year as Chairman, I am impressed by the proactive approach to economic develop0ment that EDC members Kenny and Lamar both promote. I agree with Kenny that Antioch needs an Economic Development liaison who spends more time out of the office more than in it, and Lamar’s experience with large-donor fundraising means he has the skills and understanding to take a proactive approach to attracting serious employers to our area. At a time when Antioch desperately needs one, Sean Wright, who in my opinion genuinely cares about the city, will be a mayor with vision and demonstrable experience to improve Antioch fortunes. The Herald appropriately acknowledges Mary Rocha’s service to the city, but her time is past and she needs to step aside in favor of new blood. Good luck to Sean, Kenny, and Lamar next Tuesday and I look forward to seeing them bring their energy to the council after the election.

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