Archive for November, 2019

11-0 Cornerstone Christian football team to play for championship tonight

Friday, November 29th, 2019

Cornerstone Christian High Cougars football team. Photo courtesy of Cornerstone Christian.

Antioch’s Cornerstone Christian High Cougars football team is now 11-0 this season and playing for the NCS 8-man football championship against the Branson Bulls of Ross, CA at Rio Vista High School at 410 S 4th St, Rio Vista, CA 94571 in Rio Vista on Friday night Nov. 29 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $12 adults and $7 for seniors and students.

The Cougars trounced the Calistoga Wildcats 46-8 in the semifinal game, last Friday night. The team has now gone undefeated with a record of 20-0 in two seasons.

Support the team as they battle their way to another championship.

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Coroner’s Inquest jury determines Antioch man’s in-custody death was by natural causes

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

Sheriff-Coroner David O. Livingston announces that a Coroner’s Jury has reached a finding in the March 7, 2019 death of 65-year-old Leartis Johnson of Antioch at the Martinez Detention Facility. The finding of the jury is that the death is natural causes. (See related article)

The Coroner’s Jury reached the 12-0 verdict after hearing the testimony of witnesses called by the hearing officer, Matthew Guichard.

Johnson was originally booked into the MDF on May 16, 2018 by the BART police. His original charges included attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and robbery.

A Coroner’s Inquest, which Sheriff-Coroner Livingston convenes in all fatal incidents involving police officers, is a public hearing, during which a jury rules on the manner of a person’s death. Jury members can choose from the following four options when making their finding: accident, suicide, natural causes or at the hands of another person, other than by accident.

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Neighboring developers win again as judge invalidates Richland’s Initiative for The Ranch development

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

Map of area covered by the Richland Communities’ alternative initiative, and The Ranch 1,177-home project that was ruled invalid by a Superior Court judge. Herald file graphic.

By Allen Payton

On Friday, November 22, 2019 Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Edward G. Weil issued the final ruling in the lawsuits brought by Oak Hill Partners and Zeka Ranch against the City of Antioch and developer Richland Communities, that “the entire Richland Initiative is invalid”. Richland Initiative final court ruling 11-22-19

In July 2018 the Antioch City Council adopted a voter initiative sponsored by Richland Communities that approved Richland’s development called “The Ranch”, while at the same time downzoning Oak Hill’s, Zeka’s, and other neighboring properties to just one home per 80 acres. In August 2018, the City Council followed up by adopting a second voter initiative sponsored by environmental groups to limit growth in the Sand Creek Focus Area, the so-called Let Antioch Voters Decide Initiative. Earlier this year, the Court ruled that the City’s adoption of the environmental groups’ initiative was invalid, and ordered the City to put that initiative on the November 2020 ballot. The earlier order also found that Richland’s inclusion of a Development Agreement between Richland and the City for The Ranch development was unlawful and invalid. (See related article).

In the 23-page November 22 ruling, the issue before the Court was whether Richland’s invalid Development Agreement for The Ranch could be “severed” from the initiative to allow the initiative to survive without the unlawful Development Agreement. The Court found Richland’s Development Agreement not to be “volitionally” severable from the rest of the initiative. Because the invalid Development Agreement is not severable from the balance of Richland’s initiative, the bottom line of the Court’s ruling is that the entire Richland Initiative is invalid.

According to the ruling, “The Court of Appeal has described the test for volitional severability as follows: The volitional requirement concerns whether the voters would have adopted the initiative without the invalid provisions.” Because the initiative was adopted by the City Council instead of submitting it to the voters, the Court focused on the “volition” or decision of the City Council in enacting the Richland Initiative. “The Court concludes that it is the volition of the City Council members who voted on the initiative that matters.”

The judge then reviewed the substantial, valuable community benefits promised by Richland in the Development Agreement if it proceeded with The Ranch development. These benefits included at least $1.2 million for improvements to Deer Valley High School, cost free land for a new fire station, land for an East Bay Regional Park trailhead, fees to support Antioch police, and other community benefits. In the absence of the Development Agreement, Richland would not be legally obligated to provide those benefits to the City as part of The Ranch development.

The judge found that Richland’s PowerPoint presentation shown to the City Council, at the meeting where the City Council adopted the initiative, was relevant and persuasive evidence provided by Oak Hill and Zeka.

In that presentation, it showed the Development Agreement included “Communitywide Benefits” such as the $1.2 million for Deer Valley High School facility improvements, and “Public Safety Benefits” such as the annual per home police fee.

The judge determined that “There is no guaranty that a different developer would agree to give the school district as much money as Richland agreed to give, just as there is no guaranty that a different developer would agree to devote 44% of its land to open space and parks, etc.” If the Development Agreement “were not approved, there would be no certainty as to when another willing developer might come along, and no certainty that the new developer would offer the City as good a deal.”

“The totality of the evidence persuades the Court that the Richland Initiative was a package deal, with the City agreeing to certain General Plan and Municipal Code amendments in exchange for the benefits specified in the Development Agreement.”

The judge’s ruling further determined that the initiative “imposed substantial development restrictions on other parts of the Sand Creek Focus Area including those owned by Zeka Ranch and Oak Hill” as part of a package with development of Richland’s The Ranch project. The Court found that those “development restrictions are not volitionally severable.”

Finally, the Court found that the General Plan and Zoning Code amendments that remained in the initiative outside of the Development Agreement could not be considered “standalone benefits independent of the Development Agreement.”

“Why would the City Council have wished to enact these amendments, if the City was not going to receive the benefits of the Development Agreement?” the judge asked rhetorically in his ruling. “This is another factor supporting the Court’s ruling on volitional severability.”

The result of the ruling means Richland must pursue its development through the development process with the City. The ruling also allows both Zeka Ranch and Oak Hill Partners to purse their development projects, as well.

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Have Breakfast with Santa this Saturday at Lone Tree Golf & Event Center

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

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Four teenage boys arrested for Antioch carjacking, following chase, crash in Pleasant Hill Sunday afternoon

Monday, November 25th, 2019

The carjacked vehicle crashed into a tree as it exited Hwy 24 in Pleasant Hill. Photos by Pleasant Hill PD.

K-9 helps apprehend driver

By Sergeant Rick Smith, Antioch Police Community Police Bureau

On Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019 at 12:40 PM, the Antioch Police Department responded to the area of Williamson Ranch Park, located at 5000 Lone Tree Way, on the report of a carjacking. The 31-year-old victim reported he was just assaulted by four subjects in the park parking lot as he was exiting his vehicle. The subjects then stole his vehicle and fled the area. The victim suffered minor injuries and declined any medical treatment.

The vehicle was quickly entered into the Stolen Vehicle System as a carjacked vehicle and information about this incident was shared with surrounding law enforcement agencies. A short time later, officers from the Pittsburg Police Department spotted the vehicle travelling westbound on Highway 4. The vehicle exited on Bailey Road and entered a nearby parking lot. Pittsburg Police Department officers attempted to contact the occupants of the vehicle and the driver of the vehicle fled from the lot. A pursuit was initiated and entered back onto westbound Highway 4. Due to the seriousness of the crime, the pursuit was continued and assistance from other law enforcement agencies was requested.

The suspects ran from the crash into the Courtyard Shopping Center.

Officers from the California Highway Patrol and deputies from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Pittsburg Police Department in the pursuit as the vehicle entered southbound 242 and then southbound 680. The driver exited southbound 680 at the Monument Boulevard/Gregory Lane offramp in Pleasant Hill. The driver failed to negotiate the exit and lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree. All four responsibles fled on foot from the vehicle.

Thanks to the immediate assistance and quick coordination between officers from the Pittsburg Police Department, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, Pleasant Hill Police Department and the California Highway Patrol, all occupants were quickly located and taken into custody without incident. Three of the responsibles attempted to hide in nearby businesses in the adjacent Courtyard Shopping Center. The driver of the vehicle was captured with the assistance of a Contra Costa County Sheriff Office K-9 as he fled along the rear of the shopping center and refused to stop after being given several commands. He suffered only minor injuries from the apprehension. None of the responsibles were injured during the collision. No citizens or officers were injured during this incident. The responsibles were all found to be 15 to 16 years of age.

All four responsibles were identified by the victim, who was brought to the scene. His vehicle suffered major damage as a result of the collision.

Antioch Police Department officers responded and took custody of all four responsibles. All were medically cleared as standard practice due to being involved in the vehicle collision. They were all later booked into the Contra Costa County Juvenile Detention Facility in Martinez on multiple Felony charges.

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Community Thanksgiving Dinner at Solid Rock Cafe Thursday

Sunday, November 24th, 2019

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Enjoy a Thanksgiving Brunch Buffet at Lone Tree Golf & Event Center on Thursday

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

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Antioch Police arrest two with stolen mail Wednesday night

Friday, November 22nd, 2019

Stolen mail suspects in back of patrol cars and the female suspect with officer at the station. Photos by APD.

Antioch Police towed the suspects’ car from the scene.

By Antioch Police

An alert citizen saw suspicious people on his court Wednesday night, Nov. 20, 2019 in the Bear Ridge area. They didn’t hesitate to call us, and upon officers’ arrival, they located a male and female in the area with stolen mail. Further investigation revealed the female lied to officers about her name, and the male suspect was on probation for theft related charges, as well.

Both of them were arrested and later sent to the county jail on numerous charges.

Yet another example of the teamwork that it takes to have situations like these, end in a positive way!

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