Antioch man who successfully sued Antioch over illegal sewer, water fund transfers to police gives Council earful

Following is the speech given by Antioch real estate broker, Mark Jordan, to the Antioch City Council at last week’s meeting regarding the settlement he and the City reached, two weeks before. It was over a suit Jordan brought against the City for illegally transferring over $300,000 per year from each of the sewer and water funds to the police department. The practice has been going on for years. (See the previous Herald article with details about the settlement).

The item on the Council meeting agenda, was the last of 22 items.

Mark Jordan Settlement Speech to Antioch City Council


My name is Mark Jordan and I’m a citizen of Antioch.

Well, if I was to speak to you all any later I guess it might be; tomorrow. But maybe you all were just saving the “best for last”.

“Call me crazy”, but I was beginning to think you didn’t want to hear what I had to say. Or, for that matter what any of the town’s folks had to say, who don’t agree with City Hall or management.

For too long government in general has been acting like an addict. With an unlimited stream of public money how could they not. Management developed a habit; and just wanted more and more.

But with the Great Recession the party came to an end. So; like all good addicts they went looking for “more” somewhere else.

In Antioch the addict found what they needed in the funds of water and sewer. They thought, “Hey, no one will miss a little, we’ll just cut a little bit.”

And, the wall of denial was standing tall, and management sold the idea to the City Council .

“After all a taste of it; won’t hurt you.” Let’s call it what it is; a “Gateway transfer of funds.”

The initial step is to admit you have a problem. So, I’m saying today is the day the City of Antioch begins changing its behavior.

First, I’d like to thank Eric Benink, my attorney for all his hard work, council and assistance in ac

hieving what we perceive to be an amicable settlement. Mr. Benink is a fine attorney who knows his business and who was a pleasure to work with.

Please don’t confuse settlement on our part with a “lack of will”, or agreement with a “lack of tenacity.” Both Mr. Benink and I have more than enough tenacious will.

Mr. Benink did an outstanding job and while I hope his service will not be needed in the future, I already have his commitment for representation in the future.

In a recent Times article, Mr. Cole, your council in this matter, states that the City intends to obtain a study to justify future transfers that I’ve worked to stop. What that article fails to mention is that the City already ordered and obtained a study. It just wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. The methodology was unfounded in fact or practice and in whole it was a waste of $25,000 City dollars.

Proposition 218, an amendment to the State Constitution, is very clear. What you all need to understand is that the sworn testimony of the Police Chief is, and remains that no special services are provided by police to water and sewer enterprises and as such no transfers from enterprise funds may occur.

You cannot hide the facts. They do tend to be stubborn.

Other bogus transfers need to stop as well. Measure C money is being spent for things it was not intended or represented to fund. After all, it was to be for new officers and not per-existing officers or per-existing unfunded retirements or; deceptive administrative City fees.

If this and future councils don’t make corrections concerning Measure C implementation it will sunset and have no chance of renewal.

Tiered water rates and the failure to collect Measure O funds are also issues that need immediate attention and corrections by the next council. So, I guess, we will have something to discuss next year.

I would like to let everyone in town know there is a website available called which holds all of the documents, interrogatories and depositions along with a copy of the settlement agreement. It was created to provide transparency to Antioch, it’s citizens and the State of California.

Ms. Rocha and Mr. Harper. I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your service to the City. While I have not often agreed with your decisions, statements or actions; I recognize how much it takes to hold a leadership position. Thank you for your service.

To Ms. Wilson; congratulations and we’ll see you next year.

To Mr. Thorpe and Mr. Wright; congratulations, study hard and pay attention to the details. They matter. Let’s work to make Antioch all it can be.

Mr. Duran, I read you gave your tentative notice to; get ready to get going, to maybe, possibly be retiring in August. That you desire to spend more time with your family. And, that is a worthwhile personal goal.

To the New Mayor and Council members I say, please help Mr. Duran achieve his “life plan” sooner than August. Let us all wish him well together.

To every citizen of Antioch I say; your voice can be heard. I’ve had many phone calls of support and many face to face personal encouragements to press forward with this action. Not once did I hear, “don’t do this”.

So now, twice I’ve stepped up in an effort to help and guide the City of Antioch. Once in support of Religious Freedom and this second time concerning proper budgeting.

I’ve only asked that the City comply with federal law and the California State Constitution. And, after all these are not unreasonable requirements.

Citizenship doesn’t suggest an individual step forward, it’s really a requirement to maintain our republic and way of life.

Aaron Sorkin once wrote a little screenplay called “The American President”. They made it into a movie. And while I’m certain he didn’t envision our current circumstances nationally at the time he penned it, I’m going to quote part of his work because it is good; and I respect the content, and the man.

“America isn’t easy. Americas is advance citizenship. You’ve gatta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight.”

And, Mr. Sorkin is correct, sometimes a fight is required.

It’s just that to stand up; you have to reach down deep inside yourself to find the conviction and character; we all have. That everyone has.

You have to be bold, and brash and some might say “crazy”. But; you can fight City Hall; and you can prevail. Light can prevail over shadows and darkness.

To every resident in Antioch I say, we can make this a better community. Don’t give up. A better City can happen when you join together.

Well, so here we are in settlement. This action is resolved. Almost a million dollars returned. And the attorneys paid.

But, to be crystal clear “my 15 minutes” are not up. I’m still prepared for the fight. And, I’m still here.

In closing, I leave you with this thought from Rob Siltanen. If you don’t know who he is; well, he worked for Steve Jobs on the Apple “Think Different” program; And he wrote the following.  Let me paraphrase:

“Here’s to the crazy ones. They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

This small part of the world, our City of Antioch has been changed.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays to you all.

Thank you, and good evening.

11 Comments to “Antioch man who successfully sued Antioch over illegal sewer, water fund transfers to police gives Council earful”

  1. Rjb says:

    Mr. Jordan, you deserve an award. You are a hero. It is people like you who can and will make the changes needed. Thank so very much for the courage, admiration, and fortitude you have exemplified to the citizens of Antioch.

    We need more people like you.

    • XXX says:

      Great that you were astute to the ongoing corruption. Not the everyday citizen that would pay attention to this. Glad he was on it – so many people are unaware. Unfortunately, these gatekeepers and elected officials are up to no good and they need to know people are watching.

  2. Julio says:

    The problem is no one has learned from this. Then to go pass all these labor contracts that will bankrupt the city in two years, enough is enough. Mr. Jordan didn’t even make them give back ALL the money. Just enough to be a lesson to them.

  3. Kthor says:

    Watch Out Antioch BLM chapter coming to Brentwood to steal our mails! our neighborhood been hit twice already!

  4. Seemingly says:

    Boy the writing was on the wall and the blank check awaited when measure c passed. Thank you for your diligence. I hope the city has their directors and officers insurance paid up.

  5. Karl dietzel says:

    This was one of the most expensive council meetings in many years.
    And nothing was gained. No extra officer, cap, or code enforcement officer
    Financially irresponsible .

  6. Eric A. says:

    Nobody told Mr. Jordan the Mayor’s Race hasn’t been decided yet?

  7. David says:

    Thank you, Mr. Jordan, and keep fighting the good fight!

  8. Me says:

    Haven’t you guys figured this out yet? The PD was/is being propped up by multiple funding sources because no one wanted to lay off cops. So city management got creative, although illegally, and got the funds they needed. Measures O and C were passed and they didn’t pull this revenue stream back. Why? Because PD became dependent on it. How else could the City afford their annual raises in their last contract (sometimes 2 raises in the same year) and keep the same amount of officers while a bunch of them retired?

    However, the new problem created by the outcome of this lawsuit is 1) the money needs to be paid back to the enterprise funds and 2) where will PD get the money to replace the lost revenue stream that they’ve become dependent on. #1 isn’t so bad since it’s a one-time payment and we currently have the money but #2 is an ongoing budgetary issue. Both answers..the general fund of course! The GF will get an additional hit from all this, and with the new PD contract (14.5% – 22.5% in raises), whatever gains in the reserve that’s been achieved these past years will be wiped out by 2021, if not sooner. While the number of officers stays the same or maybe even drops since more will retire and they’ll need to backfill. And everyone will complain again that money is not being spent right and we don’t have enough cops. This year’s projected budget shows PD at 73% of GF expenditures (p. 62). Given the raises in their new contract, what do you think it will be in 2021? 90%? 95%? Just wait until Measure C expires. What if that doesn’t get renewed? Where will the funds come from to cover the PD?

    Everyone’s hope is that with more police comes less crime (A). Less crime is more attractive to businesses and property values (B). More businesses and property values means more revenue (C). A->B->C; therefore, A->C. In Antioch’s case, (C) has only increased because we taxed ourselves and a slight bump in values. (A) hasn’t substantially increased, or at least to a level that shows significant statistical change in crime rates. Meanwhile (B), specifically businesses, are left in the doldrums. Instead of A->C, Antioch is C->A.

    • Publisher says:

      But, the APD didn’t keep the same amount of officers as others retired. That’s why the City dropped down to just 85 sworn officers a year or so ago, the same level we had 18 years ago, with a smaller population.
      Besides, the City didn’t have to lay off any officers. They either retired as you pointed out, or went out on medical disability or quit. A few have been let go over the past few years,who either didn’t make it through field training or weren’t a fit for the department.
      Allen Payton, Publisher

      • Me says:

        The City came awfully close to laying off officers. IIRC, Jim Jakel announced at a council meeting that 5 officers were going to be laid off and people went crazy. To avoid that, PD threw the CSOs under the bus. The other reason why no officers were laid off is because employees in other departments of the City were and took furloughs.

        At this point, it doesn’t really matter how or why they left. They’re gone and the number we have is the number we have. And costs continued to go up over these past 6 years because of unaffordable raises and sky high OT. More importantly, the City could only cover the cost of the officers that were left which is why no officers could be replaced. Thus, the need for creative financing and tax measures. My point in all this is what happens when that runs out? The “creative financing” leg has been kicked out from underneath PD with this lawsuit, so back to the GF for that money. Tax measures were approved but what happens beyond 2021 when Measure C expires? How will this City afford to pay >100 cops then when they’re already at 73% of the GF? I don’t see businesses lining up to fill the void and property values aren’t accelerating fast enough. We can’t even get a BBQ joint to open fast enough!

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