Antioch Council hears report on library, concerns about room being used as homeless warming center

Tiscareno questions Mayor Wright’s Planning Commission appointment; Ogorchock appeals city board decision

By John Crowder

With Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe and Council Member Monica Wilson away at a Tri Delta Transit Conference, the remainder of the Antioch City Council members heard an update from Antioch/Brentwood Head Librarian Liz Fuller, appointed several Commission members, and heard an administrative appeal at their October 10, 2017 meeting.

Fuller, who has been acting as Head Librarian for both Antioch and Brentwood in recent months, provided the Council with an update on the increased use of the Antioch Library since the City Council approved funding for increased hours three months ago.

Fuller stated that the library was now open five days per week.  She also noted that, compared to August a year ago, the number of programs offered at the Antioch Library increased by 108%, to 27 programs, and program attendance rose from 191 to 527, a 176% increase.  She said there was an 18% increase in meals served through the Lunch at the Library Program, operated in partnership with the Antioch Unified School District, for a total of 717 meals provided over the last year.  Two programs recently added are Family Storytime, Mondays at 6:00 pm, and Preschool Storytime, Wednesdays at 2:00 pm.

Thanks to the receipt of a Keller Canyon Fund Grant, the Antioch Library is now hosting a free music program one Monday each month, featuring world music from different cultures, including jazz, blues, Celtic, choral music, and more.

In ‘breaking news,’ Fuller announced that Antioch was getting a new, full-time Librarian next month.  The new manager is Ruth Boyer, Branch Manager of the Martinez Library for the past few years.

Following her presentation, Council Member Lori Ogorchock commented on her satisfaction with the increased use of the library following the Council approving funding for additional hours.

Ogorchock asked about programs specific to the Hispanic Community.  In addition to relating information about an ESL class offered, Fuller said that a program called East County Reads was reading the book, The Distance Between Us, about an undocumented immigrant who came to the United States years ago, and the experiences she had.  The author is scheduled to speak at the Brentwood Library.

Friends of the Antioch Library members had spoken earlier in the Council meeting, during public comments, about being displaced from the library because of the addition of a warming center.  Ogorchock asked Fuller why this was happening.  Fuller responded, “It’s above my pay grade,” but that her boss, Melinda Cervantes, Contra Costa County Librarian, was working with the County and they had identified the Antioch Library as a site for a pilot program to establish a warming center from 8:00 in the evening until 7:00 in the morning, in the library’s meeting room.  Stating the times for use of the meeting room would be impacted for about an hour, Fuller said, “It would still be reservable throughout the day,” and, “It doesn’t affect our open hours.”  She also noted that, “The need was seen in our community for more resources for the homeless.”

Mayor Questioned on Planning Commission Appointment

Several Commission appointments were recommended by Mayor Sean Wright, and approved by the Council Members in attendance, all on votes of 3-0.  Appointed were:   Farideh Faraji, Board of Administrative Appeals, Tracey Nicks, Economic Development Commission, and Martha Parsons, Janet Zacharatos, and Robert Martin to the Planning Commission.

During the discussion surrounding the appointments to the Planning Commission, after seconding the motion to appoint the three candidates recommended by Wright, Council Member Tony Tiscareno asked the Mayor, concerning the application of former Antioch Mayor Mary Rocha, “Why she wasn’t considered.”

“I haven’t spoken to her,” Tiscareno added, but said he wanted to hear Wright’s thought process out of respect to Rocha.

Wright responded, “I interviewed Mary, had a great conversation with Mary.”  He then said that Parsons and Zacharatos were reappointments, and for the new member he chose Bob Martin because, “He’s been on the planning commission before, his experience. I talked to our Planning Department and they say on the Commission he’s one that really delves into, and really studies the material, calls them up, asks hard questions…that was something that impressed me, and the reason that I chose him.”

Ogorchock Appeals City Board Decision

The final business of the night was prompted by Council Member Ogorchock asking that the denial of an administrative appeal made by Joseph Boseman, owner of the property located at 701 Wilbur Avenue, be considered by the Council.  Boseman has several tenants on his property, some of whom are residing in recreational vehicles.  According to City Staff and the ruling by the Board of Administrative Appeals, his use of his property violates city ordinances.  While the Council, City Attorney, and Boseman’s attorney all discussed working together amicably to come to a resolution with respect to the property and the hope that they would not displace his tenants, some of whom had been on the property for years, the Council ultimately upheld the Notice of Violation.  It was emphasized by the City Attorney that affirming the position of the Board of Appeals would not lead to the imminent eviction of tenants on the property.

The next meeting of the City Council will be held on October 24 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 2nd and H Streets in downtown Rivertown.

4 Comments to “Antioch Council hears report on library, concerns about room being used as homeless warming center”

  1. RJB says:

    I thought the libraries were asking for more money and this is what they are using it for? What the heck is wrong with this town? Why don’t we just stop the charades and convert our libraries into soup kitchens and shelters?

    And people wonder why the homeless keep flocking here.

  2. Sherra says:

    Why is a county person mandating that Antioch Library be on any list? This is a decision for Antioch! Who do they think they are?

  3. Nancy Fernandez says:

    Antioch Library IS a COUNTY LIBRARY. They control it all.

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