Wright faces first challenge as Mayor with split votes on Council committee assignments

Council forms benefit district to pay for road, other improvements for long-planned employment area

By Nick Goodrich

During the Antioch City Council meeting, Tuesday night, December 13, Mayor Sean Wright presided over his first agenda with action items and faced his first challenge and split votes. They were a result of his choices in which council members he nominated to represent the city on various city and regional committees.

In other council action, they formed the East Lone Tree Benefit District for fees on new home developments to pay for the completion of Slatten Ranch Road, and and heard about the county’s efforts to help the homeless in Antioch.

Challenge Over Transportation Committee Appointments

Wright’s first challenge occurred at the end of the meeting, when his nominations for appointments of council members to city and regional committees resulted in a 3-2 split in votes over Wright’s assignments and a 4-1 split over Council Member Tony Tiscareno’s.

A vote was taken for the appointments for each council member. Both Tiscareno and Council Member Lori Ogorchock voted against Wright’s and Ogorchock provided the lone vote against Tiscareno’s. The appointments last for two years through December, 2018.

Wright ended up with seven committee assignments; Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe with two and two alternate positions; Council Member Monica Wilson has five assignments with three alternate positions; Tiscareno has four assignments and Ogorchock was given two.

The council split occurred when Wright chose not to reappoint Tiscareno to represent the City on TRANSPLAN and two other East County transportation committees, but nominated himself instead. TRANSPLAN is the East County division of and advisory board to the Contra Costa Transportation Authority. The other two are the State Route 4 Bypass Authority and the East Contra Costa Regional Fee & Financing Authority, which collects developer fees for transportation improvements.

During the council’s discussion of the appointments, Ogorchock took issue with the move, noting Tiscareno’s history at the position and recent success he has seen in bringing BART to Antioch. Tiscareno said that he had asked Wright to maintain his seat on the committee.

“Mr. Tiscareno has a history with the TRANSPLAN committee,” Ogorchock told Wright. “With his connections, and the history that he has, I’d request that you place him [on the committee], and then yourself as an alternate…This is lopsided. You have to have someone that’s going to be there on a regular basis, who has that history with these companies. I don’t get this. This is frustrating. I don’t know what we’re doing.”

Wright denied the request. With his removal from TRANSPLAN, Tiscareno now does not sit on any committees that meet regularly. Although he ultimately stated he was “OK” with Wright replacing him, Tiscareno worried that the new mayor was taking on more than he could reasonably handle.

“What I’m seeing here is that you’ve taken quite a bit of responsibility with these committees, and it’s leaving some of us here out of the loop,” he said. “I’m having a bit of an issue with not having any responsibility.”

Ogorchock was visibly frustrated with the appointment, leading to a few tense minutes as Wright refused to budge.

“This is very disrespectful. I don’t approve of any of this,” she said. “This is not right.”

Tiscareno also declined to serve as Wright’s alternate to the transportation committees. Instead, Wilson, who had previously served as the city’s alternate to the committees, was appointed to be the alternate, again.

Same Assignments for Past Antioch Mayors

However, previous Antioch Mayors have also nominated themselves to represent the City on the East County transportation committees, including Joel Keller, Don Freitas and Wade Harper. Neither Mary Rocha nor Jim Davis served on the transportation committees when they each served as Mayor. Harper served on the transportation committees for the first two years of his term and then appointed Tiscareno to serve on them for the past two years.

When reached for comment about the matter, Wright said, “I appointed myself to the same committees that other mayors have appointed themselves to in the past, for the betterment of Antioch.”

Ultimately, the Council split 3-2 in voting on Wright’s appointments, which included TRANSPLAN and the other transportation committees. Ogorchock and Tiscareno dissented, while Wright was supported by Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe and Councilmember Monica Wilson.

Rocha Appointed to Tri Delta Transit Bus System Board

In an unusual move, Wright nominated former Councilwoman Mary Rocha as Antioch’s other representative, along with Wilson, to the Board of Directors for Tri Delta Transit, known as the Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority, which operates the bus system in Antioch and East County. Each city gets two representatives on the board, which Rocha has been serving on, and is currently its Vice President, through next June.

See below the complete list of the council members’ committee assignments or to view the list, click here: council-appointments-dec-2016-dec-2018

Benefit District to Help Create New Employment Area

Map of the East Lone Tree Specific Plan and Benefit District area.

Map of the East Lone Tree Specific Plan and Benefit District area.

A second and final public hearing was held to formally create the East Lone Tree Benefit District, after the Council resolved during their November 8th meeting to complete the process. Plans for the District were laid out by the City Council in 1996 when it formed the East Lone Tree Specific Plan. It allows for the financing of infrastructure in the area north and east of the Highway 4 Bypass surrounding the Laurel Road interchange, and north of the Slatten Ranch Shopping Center. That area has been planned for employment since it’s specific plan’s adoption.

The formal creation of the district authorizes the levy and collection of fees on new homes to pay for certain public improvements, such as streets, water and sewer lines. The payment of fees to the city by the developer are “a condition of the approval of a subdivision map or as a condition of issuing a building permit for the purposes of defraying the actual or estimated cost of constructing public facilities which benefit the developments subject to the fees,” according to the staff report.

The fees will help pay for the estimated $36 million of cost for improvements in the area, approved in 1996. Those include construction of a portion of Slatten Ranch Road between the J.C. Penney building and Laurel Road, extending to portion that currently ends at the new eBART maintenance facility. In addition, the fees will pay for the related infrastructure including storm drain, water line, sanitary sewer, utilities, and East Antioch Creek Trail and landscaping improvements.

The first subdivision to be affected by the per home fee, will be the Park Ridge project currently underway by developer Davidon Homes. Steve Abs, representing Davidon, spoke to the council and staff to relay his thanks for their help in allowing the project to move forward.

Park Ridge was approved by the Council in 2010, he told the audience, and said the creation of the District couldn’t have come at a better time, as Davidon is gearing up to begin construction.

“We’re excited to finally move forward,” he said.

The Council approved the new benefit district on 5-0 vote.

To see the Engineer’s Report on the East Lone Tree Specific Plan, please click here: engineers-report-eltsp-phase-ii

Homeless Outreach Action Plan

The Council also voted to allocate $17,000 from the city’s Housing Successor fund toward homeless outreach services, on Tuesday.

The previous Council had adopted a Homeless Outreach plan in May of this year, committing $2.15 million to helping Antioch’s lower income residents and neighborhoods.

However, because Contra Costa County reorganized its approach to providing homeless services, the County will now oversee all homeless outreach services, to ensure that all teams operate with the same standards and protocol.

The County is contracting Anka Behavioral Health to implement outreach on evenings and weekends, and the allocation of the $17,000 represents Antioch’s part in funding their program.

For now, the contract with Anka is set to expire in June 2017, but is expected to be renewed by the County for a three-year cycle next year.

Council Committee Assignments

Mayor Wright

Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)

Delta Diablo Sanitation District Board

Mayor’s Conference

City/School Relations Committee

Budget Committee

Lone Tree Golf Course Committee

Sycamore Corridor Committee

Transportation Committees:


State Route 4 Bypass Authority

East Contra Costa Regional Fee and Financing Authority

Mayor Pro Tem Thorpe

East County Water Management Association

Budget Comittee

Alternate, Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)

Alternate, Mayor’s Conference

Council Member Wilson

Chamber of Commerce Liaison

Community Facilities District CFD 89-1 Board (Mello-Roos)

Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority Board of Directors (Tri Delta Transit bus system)

City/School Relations Committee

Sycamore Corridor Committee

Transportation Committees:

Alternate, TRANSPLAN

Alternate, State Route 4 Bypass Authority

Alternate, East Contra Costa Regional Fee and Financing Authority

Council Member Tiscareno

Community Advisory Board – S.F. Bay Water Emergency Transit Authority (ferry system)

CDBG Committee (Community Development Block Grant)

Graffiti Committee

Lone Tree Golf Course Committee

Council Member Ogorchock

Community Facilities District CFD 89-1 Board (Mello-Roos)

East Bay Division (League of California Cities)

Northeast Antioch Annexation

CDBG Committee (Community Development Block Grant)

Former Council Member Rocha

Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority Board of Directors (Tri Delta Transit bus system)


Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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3 Comments to “Wright faces first challenge as Mayor with split votes on Council committee assignments”

  1. HJ says:

    Council Member Tescareno presented a valid concern … 10 committee assisgnment seem like a lot of responsibility for 1 person. However, we do have to put our trust and support that Mayor Wright knows what he’s doing. @AntichHerald, do we know if Mayor Wright is still operating his Chropractic business full time while taking on his jam-packed mayoral responsibilities ?

  2. Thomas McNell says:

    Antioch is not getting BART. Our inept politicians settled for a second rate system called EBART which is a lot of spin since it is a Diesel system, not electric and requires riders to switch systems in Pittsburg. I am confident that with Sean’s leadership Antioch will do better and no longer settle for less than optimal outcomes.

  3. Marty Fernandez says:

    As long as Sean is seeing the city and school district through his rose colored glasses nothing will change. He needs to see the real Antioch the average citizens live in and put up with every day.

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