Archive for October, 2016

Contra Costa voter information is just a text away

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

County Elections Office utilizing texting technology to make information more accessible

The Contra Costa Elections Division has a surefire way for voters to access information that is sure to get a thumbs-up from those on the go.

Contra Costa residents can simply text the word “Contra Costa” to “2Vote” (28683) on their smartphones, and receive a reply text with a link to quick look-up tools on the Elections Division website.

“We are excited to add this new service for our voters to quickly and easily access our services,” said Joe Canciamilla, Contra Costa’s Registrar of Voters.

Texters will be able to find out more about our Regional Early Voting program, find their polling place, view a sample ballot, learn how to vote-by-mail or volunteer to be a poll worker on Election Day.

They can also view our full mobile-friendly website and find more information about the upcoming election.

The Contra Costa Elections Division worked with Georgia-based Global Mobile to develop the service.

“Our company is really excited to work with such a progressive, forward thinking county,” said Lee Durham, the chief executive officer of Global Mobile. “This is the easiest way to connect, especially for millennials and Gen-Xers who want instantaneous information.”

Besides texting, you can find out more information about the upcoming November 8th General Election by calling 925-335-7800 or visiting the Contra Costa Elections website at

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Senator Glazer, BART candidates Allen, Hosterman and Chew announce opposition to Measure RR

Saturday, October 29th, 2016
State Senator Steve Glazer, with BART Director candidates David Kersten (left), Jennifer Hosterman and Debora Allen, speaks at a news conference at the Lafayette BART Station on Wednesday, October 26, 2016. Photo special to the Herald

State Senator Steve Glazer, with David Kersten (left) and BART Director candidates Jennifer Hosterman and Debora Allen, speaks at a news conference at the Lafayette BART Station on Wednesday, October 26, 2016. Photo special to the Herald

At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, October 26, 2016, State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa) and candidates for the BART Board of Directors announced their opposition to BART’s $3.5 billion tax Measure RR, at the Lafayette BART station.

Joining Glazer was BART Board candidates Debora Allen, Jennifer Hosterman, and Ken Chew, as well as David Kersten, president of the Kersten Institute for Governance & Public Policy.

A release about the press conference stated they planned to outline major problems with the tax increase measure.

Please check back later for details.

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Sunny outlook for solar power at Antioch, Lafayette BART stations

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

On October 27, the Board of Directors authorized BART to enter into an agreement with Solar City to install, operate, and maintain solar panels at the new, upcoming Antioch station as well as Lafayette Station.

BART will purchase electricity generated from these two new installations, which once constructed will be the largest solar generation facilities on District property.  As an additional benefit to customers, the panel canopies will provide shade over a portion of the parking lots at each location.

“The BART to Antioch project is putting a brand new face on transit in eastern Contra Costa, and it’s exciting to see new, environmentally-friendly technologies like solar powering up these upcoming stations,” said BART Director Joel Keller.

The cost of the project will be paid from the energy operating budget, and will cost a cumulative $3.75 million and $3.85 million at Antioch and Lafayette stations, respectively, over the 20-year term of the agreement.

Construction of the panels is expected to be completed at Antioch station by fall 2017, and in Lafayette by late spring 2017.

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Letter writer explains why she supports Sandoval for community college board

Friday, October 28th, 2016


We need to do a better job in creating career pathways for our students.

In 2014 our county taxpayers narrowly passed Measure E authorizing the district to increase its debt by $450 million through issuing general obligation bonds in that amount. This money was designed to be used to work towards the expansion and modernization of school facilities urged by the district’s Master Plan. Specifically, the proposed bond money was earmarked for increasing facility access to those with disabilities, improving campus grounds and updating classroom and lab technology.

The new 17-acre Brentwood Center as an extension of Los Medanos College (LMC) will add more capacity to the Contra Costa County Community College District and is planned to open in 2020. Enrollment trends and the use of on-line facilities indicate that having a smaller center is the best use of tax dollars. A feasibility study was conducted which looked at alternative sites and size of the future center.

However, new buildings alone will not prepare out existing and future students.

AB288  which was passed by the legislature late in 2015 and signed into law by the Governor  established the College and Career Access Pathway partnership and expanded student eligibility and offers high school students the opportunity for concurrent enrollment for college courses.

However, many core issues still need to be addressed.

It takes on average a little over seven years for students to graduate/complete community college due to a variety of reasons which impacts their ability to transfer to a 4 year institution in a timely fashion or have marketable skills in the local community for earning a decent wage. Students cannot get the courses they need at LMC in some cases. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is the future however LMC students need to take required classes at Diablo Valle College (DVC) for the transfer requirement. There are not enough internships for all students who need them available.

The local labor force in Contra Costa County has an approximate  28% non-participation rate for those aged 18-28. This severely impacts those students who attend community college as a means to a better life with decent wages and indirectly the community in which they live.

Greg Enholm, the current incumbent governing board trustee for our community voted to approve the Bond for the construction of the new 17 acre Brentwood center; however, he continues to advocate for a 110 acre campus which would increase taxes on working families.

Mr Enholm pits Antioch, Oakley and Brentwood against each other for the new Super-campus. He has also advised some citizens to seek legal action to block the building of the Brentwood center. He indicated that the reason he won his first election was in part because he advocated for the building of the larger campus to those cities. He continues to promote the larger campus, knowing that the State College Board only approved the smaller 17 acre campus, just to get obtain votes.

Fernando Sandoval has a much broader focus than just administratively advocating Governing Board policies. He has listened to the community and understands that we need to do more to help our students. His background in business, finance, technology and education can provide new insights for preparing the students of today and the future. His expertise in consulting and successfully driving change will be a positive for the community.  As a Vietnam Veteran he has been at the forefront of ensuring that what needs to be done, gets done.

Fernando understands that the students need to engaged with the faculty and is promoting inclusion and diversity as an enabler for new ideas and improved graduation rates.

Fernando has talked to many community business leaders and understands that new skills need to be in place in order for students to have the opportunity for local jobs quickly.

Fernando is an advocate for the inclusion of Innovative and Emerging Technologies for the jobs of tomorrow today. He will be working with information technology recruiters and major technology companies to look to the East Bay sourcing future jobs. Many of these jobs can be done here.

Fernando understands that having a diverse and well educated work force can be a catalyst for driving well paying jobs locally and improve the value of community assets.

Fernando is bilingual with English being his second language. This will allow him to connect more easily with the growing Hispanic community to hear their concerns and promote education as a priority.

Fernando has a wide base supporters include John Marquez; existing Board member, Enrique Palacios; Pittsburg USD Deputy Superintendent of Schools, Mary Rocha; Antioch City Council, Kevin Romick, Mayor of Oakley.

Fernando is a fiscal conservative and serves on the Contra Costa County Taxpayers Association, and is member of the Pittsburg USD Citizens Bond Oversight Committee

Valerie Lopez


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Writer concerned about Mayoral candidate’s lack of answer to Urban Limit Line question

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Dear Editor:

Sometimes a candidate for office stands out simply because he or she is outstanding; other times, deciding who to vote for becomes a process of elimination. And I’ve often found the choice can involve a combination of the above. To learn more about the candidates for Antioch Mayor and City Council this year, I attended the “Conservation & Community Forum” on September 28.

The panel included seven contenders: Sean Wright, Gil Murillo, and Lori Ogorchock for Mayor; and Mary Rocha, Fred Rouse, Lamar Thorpe, and Ken Turnage for City Council. Mary Rocha and Lori Ogorchock are incumbents, and the other five are challengers. In addition to being a current City Council member, Lori is also the Mayor Pro Tem and a realtor by profession.

One of the main issues in Antioch involves development, and relevant to that, the forum moderator posed the following question: “Do you feel the Urban Limit Line should be expanded, stay the same, or be reduced?” [To provide some background, the Urban Limit Line (which has expanded and contracted a few times over the past 16 years following various County and City measures), is essentially a growth boundary to control unfettered development and retain some open space in Contra Costa County.]

I was very interested in finding out how the candidates would respond to this question, and was pleased upon learning that most of them would not support expanding the Urban Limit Line. However, in hearing Lori Ogorchock’s response to the question, my reaction turned to one of shock as she stood in silence not understanding the term Urban Limit Line. She closed by saying “I won’t be able to answer that question.”

How could someone who is (a) a sitting member of the City Council, (b) the Mayor Pro Tem, and (c) a real estate professional be so ill-informed about a topic that specifically involves land use (including real property development), City and County planning, and local quality of life? All of the other panelists – most of whom are non-incumbents – exhibited in-depth knowledge and understanding of the Urban Limit Line, the ramifications of expansion, and the role of developers in the scheme of things, and were able to answer the question thoughtfully. So it was doubly surprising that Lori had no idea what it was all about.

Needless to say, based on my experience at the forum, I can definitely eliminate Lori Ogorchock as a candidate. As for who stands out in the mayoral race? That would be Dr. Sean Wright, who brings fresh ideas, positive energy, and long-range vision, and who, I have no doubt, would make an excellent Mayor. Sean has earned my vote.

Bo Dash


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Special discounts on pet adoptions during Antioch Police & Animal Services Halloween event, Saturday

Thursday, October 27th, 2016


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Pop-Up Cake Shop at Elise Beauty Supply in downtown Antioch, Saturday, Oct. 29

Thursday, October 27th, 2016


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Council candidate’s wife shares her comments made at recent council meeting

Thursday, October 27th, 2016


Good Evening Mayor Harper, City Council, Chief Cantando and associates.

My name is Tina Chavez – Rouse. I have been a citizen of Antioch for 20 years. My father worked as a prison guard for the state penitentiary of New Mexico and was a traffic cop. My mother worked for the City of Santa Clara on W. Hedding St. as a social worker for juvenile delinquents. To clarify, yes, I am the wife of Fred Rouse.

I have sat back for many years/months now, that I find myself having to speak up. The nice Leo in me is now going to roar.

I wish I had the liberty to discuss the issues I am presenting to you in better length – but you have your “three-minute rule”. May I suggest five minutes for those individuals that need additional time to get their message out there. Some comments may be three minutes, while others may take five minutes. Suggestion: You could even incorporate this into your speaker document giving the citizen the choice (3 minutes or 5 minutes) to circle the time needed to convey their comments.

First up, is candidates currently running for office or re-election. It is very upsetting to me that all candidates are not playing fair game. Many of you are in fact making promises you can’t or won’t be able to keep. That is apparent by the actions you have shown to this city. Many of you are unscrupulous and take or make back door deals. These are not fair deals and in a sense are lies to the citizens. I personally, better respect one’s character when they can be 100% honest.

You must show your “true colors” and show compassion of what you can realistically do for the city you are representing. Showing candor, honesty, respect, proven accomplishments and going beyond the scope of your jobs. Sorry to say, but I have not seen that in these past four years. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Tell people what you plan to do and what you plan to accomplish – but don’t make empty promises.

I am truly surprised many of you haven’t learned this quality throughout your years of experience. Listen to the people. If you make a mistake, admit it. Don’t make excuses. You will have more respect of the citizens if you take accountability and responsibility for your actions. Honesty is the best policy. Even though the truth hurts or is good, always tell the truth – otherwise there are ramifications that you will have to answer to, later. Be wise about your actions. Be real.

Note: there are secrets that are known about some of you, but have not leaked out. Having this knowledge tells me who to vote for.

Boycotting is not the way to show your support of the city. That is your personal way of hurting yourself of being re-elected. It is a good way to ruin your chances of re-election. It is basically sticking your foot in your mouth and stifling yourself. Be courageous, after all, wasn’t that your initial plan?

Collections of past due monies to the City: I am really surprised the City Manager hasn’t enforced this problem. While I have an accounting background of all areas, as well as logistics, office management, project management, etc, I had to place Lien’s on properties for non-payment. Why hasn’t the city done this in an effort to collect their monies? Construction & other various companies have to use this tactic all the time. In fact, there are many other areas within the city that can cost next to nothing or use better managed processes to save thousands of dollars.

In addition, I am quite surprised that while being the second largest city within our county that the City Manager hasn’t fought or negotiated harder and smarter for our city. Just doesn’t logically make sense to me. My husband has handled millions and billions in both budgets and contractual agreements. He has always been ahead of schedule or on time, in fact his division was ranked in the 90 percentile against other companies throughout the valley.

Please note: Time slots for Public Comments are limited, therefore I was not able to publicly state my complete comments. What I have mentioned here, is a snippet of what I plan to speak about in a future meeting with Chief Cantando and his police staff.

Police force: Many tactics can be utilized to better manage our crime. Many of the laws here in Antioch and across the U.S. are not followed. I just don’t get it. Chief and Police Officers, I know you will understand this statement: “What better place to hide, than to hide in plain sight?” Those citizens that have unknown specialized backgrounds can help/consult in ways to assist in cracking down on these issues.

Lastly, city residents, please remember to vote. You currently have 14 days to vote. Your votes are very crucial to bring “change” to this city. Vote for whom you believe is honest, fair, committed, accountable and responsible. Vote for whom you believe is true. I say fake is a snake – personally, I hate snakes.

Thank you all for your time.

Tina Chavez – Rouse


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