Former Antioch resident and mayoral candidate offers council election observations

Editor:

There is a social media page called “You know you’re from Antioch” on Facebook….great postings that speak about the wonders of a small community that almost reads like a Norman Rockwell story.

I moved to Antioch in 2008 engulfing myself into the local activities to help my community to be better, safer and be the ideal city to raise a family. If it was voicing my thoughts at City Council, Police Commission or School Board meetings, I tried to bring me and my neighbors’ voices to the table. Always acknowledged by elected or appointed leadership, the actions that was to follow was from far too few. I was fortunate to live in a neighborhood where everyone knew each other, and we were more than neighbors; we were family.

Over the years, the political forum became clearer and the levels of back door dealings more transparent. Things moved and people stood silent as it appears this was the norm. As we entered into 2016, the silo’s that existed in silence in Antioch grew even larger and more visible. It was the change that many cities were facing, but never one would think it would be as large as it was in Antioch. The generation and culture change that occurred was beyond what the city could manage. The implementation of programs yielded minimum to no results. The actions of leaders were far from being implemented, vision was clouded, and words had no substance. This became more evident as we entered the COVID era and government had to continue, but it seemed that city leaders were more divided than ever. Past political actions came to the forefront and voters led the way on who they wanted to have govern them. It was a change that now created more separatism on many scales.

Many look at the “Now” and do not realize that those elected must undo the actions of previous administrations. The discoveries or like they say, hidden skeletons, came forward and one needs to realize that they need to own or manage it if change cannot happen. Most importantly, have professional courtesy and acknowledge each other as tensions were high. It is fine to agree to disagree but do so with respect and consideration. But we are not seeing this as special interests and idealism have taken charge.

The voters of Antioch have the ability to bring a change this November. The Antioch of the old has perished and the new Antioch is having true growing pains. The key question is, who can bring your voice to the table and help Antioch to be the city of opportunity?

The community literally has the ability to vote out candidates who have been in office that really have not been able to reach across the aisle to bridge their differences. They allow and encourage the separatism of the community to exist. You need to ask those who have been in office – “What have you done to better Antioch?”

Those that are trying to be reelected will speak more about the division rather than responding to the question. If you look at existing candidates’ endeavors, you will find that many were not completed or never got off the ground. Basically, all talk and no action. And sadly, the backdoor deals continue to present themselves as one candidate posted signs that they had APOA support prior to the official APOA announcement or candidates you never see in your neighborhood, now appear and provide excuses on why they need your vote.

New candidates bring a fresh and eager way and maybe, just maybe, they can work with their peers in order to have the new Antioch be on the pathway of a community that you want to have. When looking at the candidates, I see very familiar faces as well as a new one. The realization is that many of these candidates all speak to the issues that concern many (e.g., crime, schools, safety and blight). But ask yourself, “Who has the experience – the hands-on experience?”

Review the candidates and don’t pick someone because they are your friend, or someone told you to. Examine who they are and if they have the experience necessary to really make a change.  Being on a committee or member of local community groups do not outweigh having hands-on experience. You wouldn’t take your car to be fixed by a person who sells homes or provides therapy, would you?

As a former resident of Antioch until a couple months ago, I cannot provide an opinion on who would best represent you. But I hope this read brings some thoughts into mind that your vote in this election will shift the momentum of the city and bring it forward; or take it backwards. Remember, think what is important for you and don’t allow special interests, family, friends or outside support groups decide for you. This is not about being a Democrat, Republican, liberal, Green, etc.… this is about aligning your vote to the candidate that best represents the values you have and what you want for your family or community. What is most important, is they have the experience necessary to make it so.

In heart,

Gil Murillo

Former Antioch resident of Council District 4 and 2016 candidate for mayor

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