Last act: Antioch City Council approves another cannabis business on unanimous vote before change in leadership

The new Antioch Mayor, Councilmembers, City Treasurer and Clerk with City Attorney and Manager during the Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 council meeting. Video screenshot.

Council members propose new ideas for future agenda items

NOTE: Apologies for the poor quality of the photos/screenshots. The council meeting’s livestream feed was offline during the oaths of office and for the remainder of the meeting. Each shot is from a TV screen.

By Allen Payton

As the last action of their terms in office, Antioch Mayor Sean Wright and Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts voted with the other three council members to unanimously approve a fifth cannabis business in the city, the Cookies dispensary. It will be located at 2515 W. 10th Street.

The council then voted to accept the results of the November election. Following comments by City Manager Ron Bernal, Wright, Motts, and thoughts shared by fellow council members, and other officials who represent Antioch, the new city officials were given their ceremonial oaths of office, having been sworn in during an in person process Tuesday afternoon. (See related article)

Wright, Motts Offer Their Farewells

“We just completed an historic election in the City of Antioch,” said City Manager Ron Bernal. “We had all seven offices up for election. There were 27 candidates that ran for city office. We went to by district elections.”

“Serving in public office is not for the fainted hearted. It takes a certain kind of selflessness,” he continued. “I want to personally thank outgoing Mayor Sean Wright and Mayor Pro Tem Motts for their service. Each of you bring special talents to the job you’ve been doing for the City of Antioch.”

“I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve you as electeds,” he added.

Outgoing City Clerk Arne Simonsen spoke next.

“To the citizens of Antioch…these eight years and the eight years on the city council have given me a love for Antioch. We have a good city,” he said. About the other officials Simonsen said, “They really want to serve the public. You’ve got to give them some good respect for what they do. Whatever they’re doing is for the best of all of Antioch.”

Motts spoke next reading from prepared remarks, saying, “It’s been my honor to serve the residents of Antioch for the last two years. Although my time on council was short, I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish. I will continue to be an advocate for the community. I am by no means going away. This council must make the revitalization of north Antioch one of its priorities. The continued downward spiral will only get much worse if there’s not a commitment.

“Shelter should be a human right,” she continued. “Homelessness is undermining our public health, our economic development.”

Motts said she would continue to push for a park and event center at the old lumber company lot in downtown.

Getting choked up, she thanked Bernal and City Attorney Thomas Smith, and each of her fellow council members and the work they did with her.

She then congratulated newly elected council members Tamisha Walker and Mike Barbanica.

“Being a council member has been difficult in these polarized times,” Motts said, and then thanked her family for their support.

New Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe takes his ceremonial oath of office.

“I didn’t spend the time to write anything out,” Mayor Sean Wright said, speaking next. “It’s been my honor to serve Antioch for the last four years. Mayor is just a position. Our ability to serve has nothing to do with our title. I will continue to serve this community. We have worked our butts off for four years. From redistricting, to cannabis to COVID…to police reform, it’s been non-stop.”

He then thanked Bernal for his friendship and for all he does for the community, getting choked up.

“I will do everything I can to support the new council,” Wright continued.

“Mayor Thorpe, congratulations. I say that will all sincerity,” he said. “I look forward to working behind you.”

Wright then congratulated Walker and Barbanica, and thanked Councilwomen Monica Wilson, Ogorchock and Motts, pointing out what he appreciated about each of them.

“Arne it’s been a pleasure working with you,” he continued. “With that, I just say thank you, the voters of Antioch, for giving me the pleasure of serving you.”

New Councilwoman Tamisha Walker takes her ceremonial oath of office.

Bernal then showed the plaques that will be presented to Wright and Motts.

Outgoing City Treasurer Jim Davis was not able to attend the online meeting.

County Supervisor Diane Burgis and a staff representative of State Senator Steve Glazer thanked Wright, Motts and Simonsen, and congratulated the newly elected city officials.

Ogorchock, Wilson and Thorpe then offered their comments to Motts, Wright and Simonsen.

“You’re the best cheerleader for Antioch,” Ogorchock said to Wright. “I’m gonna miss you guys.”

“Definitely going to miss Jim Davis and Arne Simonsen,” Wilson said next. “Sean, I’m going to miss you. Joy Motts, what can I say? You’ve supported every idea I’ve brought to you. I’m not going to say I’m going to miss you. I’ll see you around. I thank all of you for your hard work and dedication to the City of Antioch and see you later.”

New Councilman Mike Barbanica takes his ceremonial oath of office.

Thorpe spoke last saying, “I offer my congratulations to both Arne and Jim Davis for their years of service to the City of Antioch. Both of you literally created the opportunities for people like me to be here.”

“To Mayor Sean Wright, thank you for your four years of service,” he said. “I’m very appreciative of our time, together. Elections can be rocky. But the better thing to do is to move forward for the betterment of our community.”

“I always affectionately say Joy Motts brought me to the party,” he said. “You made me feel valued. You made me feel engaged. I love you for all that you’ve done for me. You’ve always had my back and I appreciate you for it.”

He then thanked Motts for her efforts on homelessness. “I appreciate you for it. I could go on for hours talking about the huge heart that you have for the community, for people who are not always heard. I appreciate you for that.”

Re-elected Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock takes her ceremonial oath of office.

New City Officials Take Ceremonial Oaths of Office

Having given each of the recently elected official their oath of office, earlier Tuesday afternoon, Simonsen then administered the ceremonial oaths of office to each of them, starting with Thorpe, then followed by Walker, Barbanica, Ogorchock, Wilson and Posada. As his last act as city clerk, Simonsen gave the ceremonial oath of office to his replacement, newly elected City Clerk Elizabeth “Ellie” Householder.

Council Reorganization

The council then considered which member hasn’t yet served as Mayor Pro Tem, previously and then who received the highest percentage of votes in the most recent election.

“The person who fits that criteria is Councilmember Wilson,” City Attorney Thomas Smith said.

“Mayor, council members, I gladly accept the nomination,” Wilson said.

On motion by Ogorchock, seconded by Barbanica, Wilson was voted in unanimously as the city’s new Mayor Pro Tem, However, the motion did not include the term, whether it be for one year or two.

New City Treasurer Lauren Posada takes her ceremonial oath of office.

Thorpe then nominated council members to various city and regional committees and with one vote for each member, all of his appointments were approved.

Two public comments including one by council watchdog Willie Mims concluded the meeting, as he congratulated the newly elected and re-elected members of the council. He said Walker surprised him because he did not think she was going to win.

“Your primary responsibilities are to the citizens of Antioch who elected you,” Mims said. “I hope that you as a council will live up to the task. Hopefully I will be able to attend some of your meetings. I’ll be watching you like I’m watching everyone else. Good luck.”

A special council meeting will be held next Tuesday night to deal with some important issues, Bernal announced.

Attorney Smith then congratulated each of the newly elected and re-elected officials.

New City Clerk takes her ceremonial oath of office before the position was turned over to her by Simonson.

Future Agenda Items Requested

For future agenda items, Ogorchock brought up the issue of offering the unused FEMA trailers to other cities and an urgency ordinance to establish a 15% cap for food delivery service companies to Antioch restaurants.

Thorpe asked council members to reach out to him, personally for future agenda items.

“Work with me so we can get them prioritized or else it’s just going to sit for six months,” he said. I will do my best to work with the city manager.”

“We do have the list, we can see the list,” Ogorchock said. “It’s in the city manager’s office. That is the policy.”

“That is the policy. I’m going to ask you to work with me directly so I can work with the city manager,” Thorpe stated.

Walker then suggested two future agenda items.

“One to address food insecurity,” she said. “Lucky’s is closing. Grocery Outlet closed down,” both located in District 1, which she represents.

“Also, I wanted to add the establishment a Human Rights and Social Equity Commission for the city,” Walker added.

“It’s best to talk to me to figure out the best way to bring it to the council for a vote,” Thorpe reiterated.

“City Attorney if we talk to…the mayor…that ties our hands in talking with other council members as it violates the Brown Act,” Ogorchock said.

Smith spoke of a serial violation by having three council members discuss a possible agenda item.

“It’s most likely permissible,” Smith said. “Specifically, mayor, city manager are responsible for setting the agenda.”

With that the council voted to adjourn with Walker saying, “I’ve never got out of a city council meeting this early,” with a chuckle, along with Thorpe.


the attachments to this post:

Householder oath

Posada oath

Ogorchock oath

Barbanica oath

Thorpe oath

Walker oath

New Antioch Council, Treasurer & Clerk with staff

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