Archive for December, 2018

New Year means higher tolls on seven Bay Area bridges beginning Tuesday

Monday, December 31st, 2018

Bay Bridge Toll Plaza photos taken 9 /16 & 18/13. Karl Nielsen Photography,, (805) 570-3395

First of three voter-approved increases

The Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) reminds drivers that several important changes take effect Jan. 1, 2019, at the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges. These include the first of the $1 toll increases approved last year through state Senate Bill 595 and confirmed by voters through Regional Measure 3 in June 2018. This will mark the first toll hike at the state-owned toll bridges since 2010. Additional $1 increases will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, and on Jan. 1, 2025.

Regular tolls for two-axle cars and trucks (as well as for motorcycles) at the Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael and San Mateo-Hayward bridges will rise to $6 from the current $5 on Jan. 1, 2019.

At the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, regular tolls will climb to $7 from the current $6 on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. During weekday off-peak hours from 12 midnight to 5 a.m., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and from 7 p.m. to midnight, Bay Bridge tolls will rise from $4 to $5; and on Saturdays and Sundays, Bay Bridge tolls will increase to $6 from the current $5.

Tolls for vehicles with three or more axles also will rise by $1 on Jan. 1, 2019, at all seven of the state-owned toll bridges: to $16 for three axles, $21 for four-axles, $26 for five axles, $31 for six axles, and $36 for combinations with seven or more axles.

Senate Bill 595 continues the peak-period toll discount for motorcycles, carpools and qualifying clean-air vehicles crossing any of the state-owned toll bridges on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The discounted toll is scheduled to increase to $3 on Jan. 1, 2019, from the current $2.50. To qualify for this discount, carpoolers, motorcyclists and drivers of qualifying clean-air vehicles must use FasTrak to pay their tolls electronically and must use a designated carpool lane at each toll plaza.

Senate Bill 595 also established a 50-cent toll discount for two-axle vehicles crossing more than one of the state-owned toll bridges during weekday commute hours of 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. To be eligible for the toll discount, which is to be applied to the second toll crossing of the day, motorists must pay their tolls electronically with FasTrak. Carpools, motorcycles and qualifying clean-air vehicles making a second peak-period toll crossing in a single day will qualify for an additional 25-cent discount off the already-discounted carpool toll. The two-bridge discount will not be available to drivers who use cash to pay their tolls.

New FasTrak customers can obtain toll tags at hundreds of Walgreens and Costco stores around the Bay Area. A complete list of participating locations — as well as an online enrollment and registration feature — is available on the FasTrak Web site at Customers also may enroll in the FasTrak program by phone at 1-877-229-8655; by calling 511 and asking for “FasTrak” at the first prompt; or in person at the FasTrak customer service center at 375 Beale Street in San Francisco. Operating hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. FasTrak can be used in all lanes at all Bay Area toll plazas.

On Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018 BATA formally approved the new toll schedule through adoption of BATA Resolution No. 128 at its regular December meeting. The Authority today also adopted BATA Resolution No. 129, which authorizes arrangements for the escrow of Regional Measure 3 funds pending the resolution of two lawsuits challenging state Senate Bill 595 and Regional Measure 3. Both lawsuits are pending in Superior Court in the City and County of San Francisco. Under BATA Resolution No. 129, the Regional Measure 3 toll increases, when collected, will be placed into an escrow account managed by an independent trustee. Following a process similar to voter-approved sales tax measures that face legal challenge, these funds will be transferred at least once each week from BATA to a Union Bank (Mitsubishi United Financial Group – MUFG) trust account, where the funds will be managed by a bank trust officer until final resolution of all litigation. Once the BATA legal team certifies there is a final resolution, the Authority will be asked to release the escrow. If BATA prevails in the litigation, the funds will be applied to BATA-approved programs. If BATA should lose the litigation, the funds will be reimbursed to tollpayers.

BATA, which is directed by the same policy board as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), administers toll revenues from the Bay Area’s seven state-owned toll bridges. Toll revenues from the Golden Gate Bridge are administered by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, which joined with BATA to operate a single regional FasTrak customer service center in San Francisco. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

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Police Sergeant Will Dee retires after 23 years on the Antioch force

Monday, December 31st, 2018

Photos by Antioch Police Department.

From the APD Facebook Page

Today, (Wed., Dec 26, 2018) is a bittersweet day for us as we congratulate Sergeant Will Dee on his well-earned retirement, but we also have to say good bye to him as well.

Will was born and raised in Florida, and ultimately found his way to California after enlisting in the United States Coast Guard In 1987. During this time, he was stationed in Alameda, but also did law enforcement patrols up and down the west coast of California and as far north as Alaska. After serving for five years, Will then attended the Napa Valley Police Academy.

Upon his graduation from the academy, he was hired with the Moffett Field Police Department in 1993, where he stayed until he joined us in 1995.

During his time with Antioch, Will has held multiple assignments including patrol, community policing, fraud investigator, homicide investigator, SWAT, Field Training Officer, and firearms instructor. Will was promoted to the rank of Police Corporal in 2002, and later again to Police Sergeant in 2008 where he has remained since.

After he signs off for his final graveyard shift, he can know he’s touched many of us, made lifelong friends, and most definitely left this place better than he found it 25 years ago. We wish Sergeant Dee, the happiest of retirements and hope he enjoys it with his wife, children and new grandchild!

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Pittsburg man arrested for hit-and-run then ramming Antioch Police car Monday morning

Monday, December 31st, 2018

Fights with cops, K-9 officer apprehends suspect

Donald Jackson. Photo by APD.

Crimes: Evading/Assault on a Peace Officer

By Lieutenant Trevor Schnitzius #2840, Antioch Police Field Services Division

On Monday, December 31, 2018 at approximately 9:40 A.M. an Antioch Officer witnessed a driver commit a hit-and-run accident and attempted to stop the suspect (later identified as Donald Jackson from Pittsburg). Jackson fled, willfully evading officers and a pursuit ensued. During the course of the pursuit Jackson struck an uninvolved civilian driver continuing to flee with no regard for public safety and also intentionally rammed an Antioch Police vehicle two different times. The vehicle Jackson was driving was disabled by another officer by use of their patrol car.

As officers attempted to take Jackson into custody, he tried to arm himself with a short table leg from inside the vehicle and fought with officers. A police K-9 was deployed and apprehended Jackson. The vehicle Jackson was driving was determined to be an unreported stolen car. Jackson was transported to a local area hospital for treatment for minor injuries resulting from the collision and K-9 apprehension. No officers or civilians were injured in this incident.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

This preliminary information is made available by the Field Services Bureau. There will be no further information released regarding this case at this time.

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See photos from the Antioch 2018 Holiday Parade

Sunday, December 30th, 2018


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Frazier reappointed as Chair of Assembly Transportation Committee

Saturday, December 29th, 2018

Also continues on Insurance and Veterans Affairs Committees

Sacramento, CA – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D–Discovery Bay) made the following statement after Speaker Anthony Rendon (D – Paramount) reappointed him as Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee:

“I am honored that Speaker Rendon has given me the privilege to continue as Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee.  Serving as chair of this Committee has given me the opportunity to help lead California into a golden age of transportation infrastructure repair.”

“A strong economy depends on roads and highways that are safe and efficient and California is now a leader in the nation on finding transportation solutions that keep the residents of our cities, counties and state moving.  This historic infrastructure investment will put tens of thousands of Californians to work throughout the state.”

In addition to Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, Assemblymember Frazier was also reappointed to the Committees on Insurance, and Veterans Affairs, and was newly appointed to the Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services.

Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.

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African Children’s Choir to perform at Antioch Church Family Dec. 30th

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

The African Children’s Choir will perform during their latest tour, on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 at 7:00 PM at the Antioch Church Family, 55 E. 18th Street. The African Children’s Choir melts the hearts of audiences with their charming smiles, beautiful voices and lively African songs and dances. The program features well-loved children’s songs, traditional Spirituals and Gospel favorites.

Performances support African Children’s Choir programs, such as education, care and relief and development. Music for Life, the parent organization for the choir, works in the African countries of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and South Africa. MFL has educated over 2,000 children and impacted the lives of over 100,000 people through its relief and development programs during its history. MFL’s purpose is to help create new leadership for tomorrow’s Africa, by focusing on education.

The African Children’s Choir has had the privilege to perform before presidents, heads of state and most recently the Queen of England Elizabeth II, for her diamond jubilee. The choir has also had the honor of singing alongside artists such as Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, Michael W. Smith, and others.

The African Children’s Choir is a nonprofit humanitarian and relief organization dedicated to helping Africa’s most vulnerable children today so they can help Africa tomorrow. No tickets. Donations appreciated. For more information visit

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Antioch Chamber of Commerce, Somersville Towne Center join St. Mary’s College to develop economic opportunity plan

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

Will ask Council in January for $27,000 to cover half the cost of effort

By Allen Payton

At the December 11th Antioch City Council meeting representatives of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, Somersville Towne Center and St. Mary’s College presented a proposal to develop economic opportunity plan for the Somersville Road area.

Julie Neward, the General Manager for the mall, and a member of the Economic Development Committee of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce.

“We want to establish Antioch as a hub, we now have BART,” she said.

“For every four working individuals in our community, three of them have to commute outside of Antioch,” Richard Pagano, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, said. “Antioch is one of the last bastions of affordable housing. We have a great opportunity, here to attract millennials.”

“We now have four opportunity zones but we’re not taking advantage of those as we could,” he stated. (See related article).

“We compete with Century Plaza in Pittsburg,” Neward shared. “In order to drive retail in this community, we have to increase our sales per square foot. This relies on daytime traffic of residents with disposable income.”

She spoke of The Center for the Regional Economy at St. Mary’s College.

It provides an opportunity for exposure,” Neward continued. “They want to provide consultancy and the cost of that could be well over six figures.”

The consulting process will take about 18 months, she explained. It will include undergrad and graduate students and will seek to engage students from Los Medanos College, as well.

It will include a semester-long competition, with teams of four to five students, and the winning team will win an award from an anonymous donor.

“The Antioch Chamber of Commerce wants not only the residents of Antioch, but those in the surrounding communities,” Pagano said. “We want to be known as a place where people can live, work and play, all three.”

They will return in January and ask the City to partner with the effort.

“I’m really excited about this,” said Antioch Economic Development Commission Member Tim McCall. “The City of Antioch has a great opportunity. I hope we’re going to take advantage of it.”

He said the commission voted 7-0 to support the effort.

“One of the jewels of Antioch was the Somersville area,” McCall shared. “Today this jewel sits waiting for us to polish it.”

Ed Del Beccaro, the regional manager of TRI Commercial and a member of several regional economic development and transportation, said “I’m a big fan of the St. Mary’s College. I’m here to support it.”

“My company will volunteer…raw data on transportation trends, so we can talk about Antioch being the center of the universe,” he added.

“The purpose of tonight’s presentation was to get the council’s thoughts on the presentation and if they want it to come back in January,” said City Manager Ron Bernal.

“I would assume that presentation would be a little more in depth on financials,” Councilwoman Monica Wilson said.

Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts said, “Yes, I’m interested. Is there a financial

“Is a satellite for St. Mary’s part of the process or is that just an opportunity? And will this be

“The ask is 50/50 so the City will pay 50% of the cost,” Pagano stated. “The Antioch Chamber of Commerce will pay half.”

“The satellite was a hypothetical,” he shared.

The initial program was to focus on the entirety of the city,” Pagano responded. The focus will be on Somersville.

“If council would like us to look at the entire city…we would be happy to include all four opportunity zones

“I assume that would be a larger commitment,” Motts said.

“Actually, it would be the same commitment,” Pagano stated.

Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock said, “I am for this. I am for partnering with St. Mary’s. But to what degree, I’m a little bit lost. I’m not quite sure what we’re doing exactly.”

If we partner with the city, there’s a better stake in the outcome,” Neward responded. “The Chamber of Commerce is moving forward on this. We believe the we want to do it together.”

The total project is $54,000,” Pagano stated.

What is the partnership going to do,” Ogorchock asked.

“We’re getting an economic strategy for the Somersville area,” Neward responded.

“St. Mary’s has an economic development department and this would be like a senior project,” Mayor Sean Wright explained.

Wilson then asked, “What is the outcome? The students…are going to hand us a plan. Are we just getting one plan?

“It’s not just one plan. It’s multiple plans,” Pagano responded. “It’s developed in collaboration with multiple stakeholders…council members, chamber of commerce representatives, the faith-based community.”

“Will this result in a PBID?” Wilson asked.

“A PBID is a Property Business Improvement District,” Neward responded. “It is a tool. Yes, it would result in this.”

Motts asked to hear from Economic Development Director Kwame Reed.

“I participated in something like this when I was getting my degree from Cal Poly,” he said. “These types of studies are very beneficial, not only to the students, but to the cities.”

“Doing a more targeted economic strategy for the Somersville area, which kind of clusters of businesses,” he explained. “I will be coming back to the council with an economic strategy. This is something on my list of things to get done.”

Dr. Sheila Hassel-Hughes Dean of the School of the Liberal Arts said, “This project is really hybrid, and it touches on the heart of the mission of St. Mary’s which is dedicated to community, community well-being, social justice, diversity and inclusion.”

“The project as it’s designed involves multiple stages, multiple students, including undergrads from Business Administration and the Justice, Community and Leadership Program,” she explained. “In addition…there is graduate student involvement…in the Entrepreneurship Program during the summer.”

Then St. Mary’s faculty will do the analysis working with city staff and council. The student participation would be provided for free. The costs will be for the St. Mary’s staff time.

“There’s definitely consensus to bring this back,” Wright concluded. “This is something that is extremely beneficial for the community. I’m more interested in the relationship that we will be developing with St. Mary’s College.”

“One of the commonalities (of successful communities) that drives success is a relationship with a university,” he stated. “We have no relationship with a university. Ninety percent of economic development comes from college graduates who are entrepreneurs who will create businesses.”

He spoke of wanting to attract those graduates to our community “with their ideas”.

Pagano then asked if the project should focus on the Somersville area or citywide.

“I think that’s a perfect place to start,” Ogorchock added. “I would like to see that area focused on, first.”

Motts said, “If it’s the same price…we can take a look at it in January.”

Wright then responded, “I’m just going on the Economic Development Commission and Economic Development Director, and they want to focus on that area.”


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Celebrate New Year’s Eve with the entire family at a safe and sober party at the Solid Rock Cafe

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

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