Letters: Antioch recall proponent felt pressured to stop signature gathering during Holiday Delites event

Dear Editor:

After an over two-month limbo period, the proponents for the recall Lamar Thorpe campaign received the news we have all been waiting for on December 2nd, 2021. We finally had the go-ahead to begin gathering signatures to start the process to recall Lamar Thorpe.

The Holiday Delites event seemed a perfect fit to have our first signature gathering event. We knew so many of our fellow residents who support this cause would be in attendance. So, image our surprise when Joy Motts, candidate for District 1 in the 2022 elections and president of the Celebrate Antioch Foundation, attempted to halt our signature gathering and interfered with local businesses obtaining new clientele.

I, along with several other proponents for both Recall Lamar Thorpe and Recall Ellie Householder (AUSD), spent Saturday from 10 AM to 4:30 PM in front of both Rivertown Treasure Chest on G St. and RiverTown Sweets on 2nd Street with the blessing from both owners.

We were informed that day that Motts made multiple attempts to contact business owners and asked other individuals to contact us to say we either must move inside or stop the signature gathering. Motts eventually approached me herself around 2:00 pm and asked that I move inside the already crowded bakery which I was in front. I responded that it was our plan to be off the street before the start of the parade. Motts continue to ask that we immediately vacate.

Crystal Philbrook, owner of RiverTown Sweets advised Motts that every time there was a recall signature gathering new customer business was up over 50% and with that kind of statistics, she advised Joy that we would be welcome to be in front of her location anytime as we brought in business. The same sentiment was echoed by the owner of Rivertown Treasure Chest. Being true to our word we vacated the 2nd Street location – which was the Holiday Delites parade route at 4 pm for a parade that started at 5 pm.

Joy Motts being part of the Celebrate Antioch Foundation (a local nonprofit) and a District 1 2022 candidate was completely out of line to make such a request. Joy Motts’ bullying tactics will not be tolerated, nor will it deter us from the mission of gathering the required signatures. Businesses giving permission to us to gather signatures in front of their stores have seen increased foot traffic and sales when having the signature gathering events in front of their storefront, something that Motts and the Celebrate Antioch Foundation doesn’t seem to care about.

If Joy Motts and the Celebrate Antioch Foundation were concerned that the signature gathering tables brought a negative political aspect to the Holiday Delites event, then why are political floats allowed in the parade?

It appears she wanted us off the street as her friend, the mayor, was going to be in the parade with Householder. Yet another example of dirty underhanded politics at play in the City of Antioch.

It makes me wonder, what truly were Ms. Motts’ motives by all her behind the scenes activity to stop us?

Kathy Cabrera

Recall Lamar Thorpe proponent

Publisher’s Note: Asked when an organization is granted a street closure by the City if that means they also control the sidewalks, Motts said she didn’t think so. She shared that the concern of the Celebrate Antioch Foundation leadership was there would be a perception the non-profit organization, which works with the City, was taking sides in a political issue and that they stay out of politics. Motts also said they were informed the signature gathering would occur inside the businesses and wanted to ensure the table on W. Second Street wouldn’t be there during the parade for the public to be able to use the sidewalk. 

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