Writer says Burkholder has unfit temperament for public office


An ad hominen attack is the lowest form of argument. So it doesn’t reflect well on someone running for office that he insults people who dare to disagree with him. Unfortunately, that’s the case with Mike Burkholder, who is running for a seat on the Antioch School Board.

A few days ago I posted on the Oakley Politics Facebook site my concern about the Oakley fire tax that too much of it would go to retirement expenses instead of providing fire protection. Burkholder responded, “Back to lying about fire service to cause voter confusion yet again.”

First, that’s a violation of the site’s civility policy which specifies that posters “be civil, no profanity, no bullying.” Secondly and more importantly, it tells voters in the Antioch School District something about how Burkholder might conduct himself in office. Namely, that if you dare disagree with him, he might publicly insult you, which is a form of bullying intended to silence you.

This is not the first time he’s trashed me — he did it often when I opposed the previous East Contra Costa fire tax hikes. And I’m not his only victim. He’s insulted journalists at the East Bay Times and Antioch Herald and at least one member of the Oakley City Council.

The description for the Oakley Politics site states that it is “a way for local candidates to meet and interact with Oakley, California voters.” Voters should be concerned that Burkholder chooses to interact with them by publicly hurling insults, disparaging their character and attempting to bully them into silence if he disagrees with them.

This is especially ironic given that Burkholder at an AUSD candidates forum said this in response to a board member pointing out the district’s dismal academic performance: “That kind of language is so negative, that is not my style. Our job is to promote the district, talk good about the district and find ways to engage the community in a positive light.”

Dave Roberts


13 Comments to “Writer says Burkholder has unfit temperament for public office”

  1. RJB says:

    I’ve experienced Burkholders temperament through his posts and replies to mine. I agree what this article is stating.

    • Michelle white says:

      “This article and opinion is nothing but a desperate measure by Dave Roberts and the Antioch Herald to character assault Mr. Burkholder. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Burkholder for several years now and has never shown and unfit temperament. I’ve found him to be happy, encouraging and knowledgeable of many topics. It’s a shame Mr. Roberts feels the need to slander a candidate who simply disagrees with him on fire service which is an issue that has nothing to do with the Antioch School Board.”

      • R-J-B says:

        Everyone has their own opinions, Michelle.

        I agree with the article.

        Have a good day. 😉

      • Dave Roberts says:

        Actually it was Burkholder who committed slander by: 1) calling me a liar, 2) asserting that I want to cause voter confusion and 3) saying I’ve done this more than once.

        My letter doesn’t do anything like that. I simply point out Burkholder’s insults to me, note that he’s done that to others and alert voters that they should be concerned about that type of temperament in a public official.

        By the way, Burkholder’s slander has been deleted from the Oakley Politics site after this letter was posted to the Herald. Unfortunately, that site also deleted my post pointing out Burkholder’s slander. So this letter to the Herald may be the only heads up that AUSD voters receive about Burkholder’s temperament before they vote.

      • Allen Payton says:


        Any letters to the editor we publish are the opinions of the writer, and we have nothing to do with them. Mr. Roberts emailed his letter unsolicited, today and it was posted on our website as we have for all other letters to the editor we’ve received during this election season, regardless of which candidate they’re for or against.

        So what you wrote about Mr. Roberts’ letter being an attempt by the Herald to do or say anything about Mike Burkholder is incorrect and a false assumption on your part.

        Allen Payton, Publisher & Editor

        • Michelle white says:

          Mr. Payton,

          As publisher, you have the right to accept or deny any letter to the editor you receive. The fact you would publish this shows your lack of good judgement and character. It’s no wonder 4 candidates running for school board boycotted your forum, they had good reason. This letter shows it. It also is ironic that Mr. Burkholder is a competitor of yours. So I guess anything negative on him is a benefit to you and your publication. The public is not stupid. You are only publishing this to benefit your paper, not to inform the public as you claim.

          • Publisher says:

            Ms. White,

            This letter is the opinion of one writer. It’s about a candidate for public office who must be willing to accept criticism of his actions, and things he writes or says. It would be inappropriate and actually demonstrating bias for me to not publish a letter critical of a candidate regardless of whether or not I have endorsed them.

            Furthermore, publishing it does not prove Mike’s baseless accusation against the Herald of it being biased and does not support his or the other candidates’ foolish decision to refuse to either answer the questions from the Herald, provided to all of the candidates for Antioch School Board or participate in the forum sponsored by the Herald, and therefore avoid answering questions from us, of their fellow candidates or the audience who was in attendance, that night.

            Frankly, I don’t view Mike as my competitor. Never have. Never will. He focuses on East County and only has a website. The Antioch Herald focuses on Antioch and also has a print edition, which is where the majority of our revenues are derived. Plus, our other website, the ContraCostaHerald.com focuses countywide and covers issues his website may or may not. What we publish on our website really doesn’t benefit the Herald. It benefits our readers so that they can be informed, debate and discuss candidates and the issues. I rarely if ever read his website so what he publishes has no bearing on what we write or publish.

            You obviously are a supporter and defender of Mike. Feel free to write in that vein. But, attempting to censor this letter by denigrating me, this news website or our print publication for publishing a letter to the editor critical of a candidate you support, isn’t going to prevent me from publishing it, nor any other letters submitted to us that are critical of him or other candidates.

            He’s the one who has chosen to be both a news website publisher and run for public office at the same time. We are treating him no differently than any other candidate. So, let’s stay focused as this isn’t about the Herald website, newspaper or me. It’s about a candidate for public office, what he’s said, written and done and what voters and others with whom he interacts think and how they view him.

            Finally, if you notice I put my name on what I write. I would suggest you come out of the shadows, not live in fear and actually put your real name on things you write, as well. This is America where we have freedom of speech and you shouldn’t live in fear of saying or writing things about issues and individuals, as long as it’s factual and accurate.

            Allen Payton, Publisher

      • eileen says:

        Michelle White, I don’t understand why you enclose your comment in quotation marks. Are those actually your words or are you quoting someone else?

  2. Julio says:

    The only bullying I have experienced is by Mr. Harper.

  3. Robert Heiney says:

    The question that should be asked is, was Burkholder’s statement true?

    • Dave Roberts says:

      You can decide for yourself.

      Here’s a link to the fire district budget: http://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eccfpd.org%2Fassets%2Fdocuments%2FFY2016-17FinalBudgets.pdf&h=EAQEhTCWs

      Here’s my posting that led to Burkholder calling me a liar:

      The reason I’ll be voting against the fire tax is that a large chunk of it will not go for fire protection. Instead it will provide retirement protection. Current retirement expenses are $4.3 million, comprising 30 percent of the budget.

      The reason is that firefighters can retire at age 50 and collect a pension at nearly their full salary for the rest of their life. With a life expectancy of 25-30 more years, that can add up to more than $1 million per retiree.

      Skyrocketing retirement expenses are crowding out funding to hire and retain current employees. In 2008, the district spent $10.8 million, which provided 48 employees and six fire stations. The current budget spends $14.3 million, which only provides 41 employees and four stations. A 32 percent increase in spending in the past eight years has resulted in a 15 percent decrease in staffing.

      Simply throwing money at the problem is like living in Alice’s Wonderland, where you have to run as fast as you can to stay in one place. The pension elephant in the room must be addressed first.

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