Letters – Council candidate White responds to “Women Leaders Condemn Remarks by Antioch Mayor”

Publisher’s Note: This was received in our email on Sept. 21 but was inadvertently overlooked, until today.

Sandra White.

Dear Editor:

My name is Sandra White, and I am running for Antioch City Council, District 4.  I want to make everyone aware of the current state of politics in the City of Antioch, and why I am running for office.

Some of our current City Council members are trying to defund the Antioch Police Department, use taxpayer dollars to put homeless in a hotel that is a stone’s throw away from residential neighborhoods and a school; and are trying to divide the residents of Antioch using race-baiting tactics to accomplish the election of candidates who will further the above agenda.

On September 8th, 2020, some Antioch residents received an email that appears to have come from my opponent in District 4.  It seems a candidate for mayor orchestrated a smear tactic directed at Mayor Wright, who came out against District Attorney Diana Becton’s undefined guidelines for the prosecution of looters.

Screenshot of email provided by Sandra White’s campaign showing the source of the email.

In the article, my opponent implied Mayor Wright’s comments were somehow divisive because he disagreed with the DA’s allege pro-criminal approach to dealing with offenders in our community.  The smear piece suggests that the mayor’s statements were somehow based on DA Becton’s race and gender.  These types of divisive politics are toxic for Antioch, and things need to change.  As an African American woman, I am offended when people try to use race and gender to divide us, as my opponent alleges smear piece tried to do.

For the record, I am pro-police and believe the Antioch Police Department is understaffed.  I am currently a volunteer for the City of Antioch as the Chair of the Police Crime Prevention Commission.  I have met with many of you in my district to assist with making our neighborhoods safer.  When I am elected, I will be better positioned to make our entire community even safer.  I genuinely believe we do not need less police; we need more officers and mental health resources to assist our police department. Our understaff police department is inundated daily with calls that can be handled by a Crisis Prevention Unit.

The safety of you and your family will be my priority.  When I am elected to office, I will ensure our police department continues to model “Best Practices” within the Law Enforcement community. I stand with Mayor Wright and believe that after our police officers arrest criminals for victimizing our businesses, they should be held accountable and prosecuted.

Regarding our Homeless population, we all agree; there needs to be a solution.  Many of our homeless residents have mental health and drug/alcohol addiction issues. The only way the Homeless situation can drastically improve is by getting needed services and funding on a county and state level and laws and policy changes that allow families to intervene to get their loved ones help.  To suggest a Homeless hotel in a residential / school neighborhood (costing at least $1 million) without wrap-around services is reckless and a waste of your tax dollars!

We need to bring back businesses to Antioch taking the approach that our neighbors to the East and West have done.  Do you ever ask yourself why companies are not coming to Antioch? It is simple; we have crime and blight issues that are not my opponent’s concern and other members of the city council.  If we want to attract businesses, we need to lower our crime, beautify our city, and work with county and state officials to get our Homeless population to reduce the number of homeless residents.

If you are happy with Antioch’s current “status quo,” such as the conditions related to blight, low police staffing, increase in homelessness, and crime, then I am not the candidate for you.

We should all want our community in Antioch to become a positive change with a fully staffed police department, businesses returning to Antioch, a thoughtful and focused approach to reducing blight, homelessness, and quality of life issues. In that case, I am that candidate, and I hope you will vote for Sandra White, for Antioch City Council, District 4.

Sandra White


Antioch City Council, District 4


Women Leaders Condemn Remarks by Antioch Mayor

Antioch, California — September 8, 2020 — Several women community leaders, including two Antioch city councilmembers, today condemned false accusations being spread by Mayor Sean Wright against Diana Becton, the county’s first elected woman, and Black district attorney, in his bid for reelection.

In an email sent to supporters last month, Wright claimed Becton created a policy that says it is OK for looters to steal items if they need them. “According to our DA, if the looters ‘need’ an item in a retail shop, for example, it is ok for them to take that item without being charged,” he wrote. Wright included a photo of a Black man looting a store in Chicago in his email.

Wright shared a September 1, 2020 article by The Daily Wire, a conservative news and opinion website, that supported his accusation against Becton. However, since the article was published, Snopes, an independent fact-checking website, found claims made in the article and shared on other right-wing websites were false.

In June, Becton issued guidelines that encouraged prosecutors to make a distinction between thefts and burglaries that merely happen to take place during a state of emergency and lootings, which are “substantially motivated by” a state of emergency. Contrary to Wright’s claim, the guidelines do not advise prosecutors not to go ahead with a looting charge if a suspect was found to have been motivated by “personal need.”

“Frankly, I’m shocked by the mayor’s comments, especially since he is running on a platform to unite the community,” said Monica Wilson, Antioch’s first Black woman city councilmember. “Fearmongering and spreading lies to drum up votes are not how you unite a community, especially a community like Antioch, where the majority of residents are people of color.”

“For a mayor of a city this size, it is completely irresponsible to make a statement based on unverified information that is later proven false,” said Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Joyann Motts. “At a time when we are trying to bring the community together, this is very divisive.”

Wilson also condemned similar remarks recently made by Steve Aiello, president of the Antioch Police Officers Association. In a September 1, 2020 story published by EastCountyToday.net, Aiello accused Becton of being “reckless” by “picking and choosing the types of crimes” her office prosecutes.

“There is very clearly a double standard going on here,” Wilson said. “Our district attorney has done nothing wrong, yet she has gained nationwide attention for her actions simply because she is a Black woman in a position of leadership. Meanwhile, we have had elected men here in Contra Costa County embezzle money, make unwanted sexual advances, and say inappropriate things, and it barely registers a blip on the radar.”

Other local women leaders who were disappointed in Mayor Wright’s comments included Tamisha Walker, an East Bay activist. “When we find ourselves misunderstanding the actions that are being taken at this moment, it would be more productive to find common ground rather than inferring that the leadership of a woman of color is irresponsible and reckless,” Walker said. “Solidarity is what we need during this time, not separatism that could lead to harm in any form. Black women can lead consciously and with full integrity during these very difficult and unprecedented times.”

The disturbing part is intentionally misinterpreting DA Becton’s stance for shock value,” said Carolyn Wysinger, an East Bay activist and Board Chair of San Francisco PRIDE. “The mayor wrote, ‘According to our DA, if the looters “need” an item in a retail shop, for example, it is ok for them to take that item without being charged. I don’t agree with this approach — do you?’ That is classic dog-whistle politics, and THAT’S what we are calling out.”

Courtney Masella-O’Brien, attorney and community activist, said the mayor’s comments were reckless. “At a time when tensions and division in our country and our county are at an all-time high, people need to be responsible and make sure they have their facts accurate and complete, especially when it comes to Contra Costa’s first Black and first woman DA,” she said.

Arianna Grady, an Antioch student activist, said Wright’s comments typified the type of undue scrutiny Black women often encounter. “My mother always taught me that there are two things already against you in this world: ‘You’re Black and that you are a woman.’” Grady said. “Every day, Black women and men suffer from hardships. When we have passion in our voices, we are labeled ‘aggressive.’ When our hair isn’t considered ‘professional,’ we are ‘ghetto.’”

“This certain situation goes to show the continuous hardship we face, which causes us to work ten times harder with only half the expected outcome,” Grady added. “Being a Black woman in politics has shown me how hard we have to work for what we want, as many odds are against us. In this particular situation, it goes to show that we should not be misread and blasted by our peers but understood. This situation should only make us all want to continue to fight for and vote in people who will fact check, understand, and seek to empower all.”

In the 100 years since women fought and won the right to vote, we’ve made great strides,” said Susannah Meyer, another local activist. “Our mothers and grandmothers faced discrimination and challenged gender oppression so that we could vote for women in office and actually have hope that they would be elected to serve. In those 100 years, we have made great strides inequality for women and are living in a world our trailblazing ancestors could only imagine. But we have a long way to go.

“While women leaders and elected officials are still judged on anything other than their integrity, their achievements, and their ability to lead, we still have a long way to go,” Meyer said. “While we calmly accept being treated like our voices don’t matter so we aren’t seen as angry or defensive, we still have a long way to go. Our next generation of women, and the generation after that, will look back and thank us for continuing the fight for gender equality. And we will fight, because we’ve made great strides, but we still have a long way to go.”


Sean Wright’s campaign email:


Did a California DA Say Looting Is ‘Okay’ If Suspects ‘Need’ What They Steal?


Antioch Mayor Blasts Contra Costa District Attorney’s Policy on “Looters”



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