Archive for October, 2022

Dracula play in Antioch Nov. 4-6, 11 & 12

Monday, October 31st, 2022

Tickets are available on-line or in person half-hour before the performance – and don’t forget that Sunday 11/05 matinee is Free Senior Sunday! All are welcome, it’s free for our Senior attendees. Tickets can be obtained at
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Man convicted of throwing objects at vehicles receives 22-year prison sentence

Monday, October 31st, 2022

Killed Antioch grandmother, blinded Concord nurse

By CHP-Contra Costa

On Friday October 21, 2022, Mark Navone was sentenced in Contra Costa County Superior Court to a 22-year prison sentence after being found guilty of numerous charges relating to throwing objects at vehicles.

Navone, 38-years-old was arrested after a California Highway Patrol (CHP) investigation identified him as the suspect in multiple incidents of vehicles being struck by thrown objects, such as rocks and bricks, on Hwy 4, near Hwy 242. Navone’s malicious actions resulted in the death of a 63-year-old grandmother from Antioch as well as the blinding of a 37-year-old delivery nurse from Concord. Navone was arrested on April 2, 2021, by Contra Costa Area CHP officers on a wide range of felony charges.

We would like to thank Contra Costa Area CHP investigators, CHP Golden Gate Division Investigative Services Unit Detectives, the Concord Police Department, the Antioch Police Department, and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office for their incredible work in building this case. We would also like to thank the public for the valuable information they provided that enabled us to put this case together and ultimately hold Navone responsible for his actions.

The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.


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Harvest CARnival at Golden Hills Community Church Monday night, Oct. 31

Saturday, October 29th, 2022

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Newcomer King faces longtime Antioch officeholder, incumbent Rocha in school board race

Saturday, October 29th, 2022

Dominique King is challenging Trustee Mary Rocha for Antioch School Board Area 5 in this year’s elections. Sources: King campaign, Rocha campaign

King backed by Garamendi, Becton, Thorpe, Wilson, Torres-Walker, Hernandez

Rocha backed by Torlakson, DeSaulnier, McNerney, district teacher, employee and other unions, APOA

By Allen D. Payton

In the only race for the Antioch School Board in this year’s elections, incumbent Trustee Mary Rocha is facing challenger Dominique King for the Area 5 seat. Rocha has served on both the Antioch School Board and Antioch City Council, including one term as mayor, for 36 out of the past 51 years, while this is King’s first run for public office in Antioch.

King’s Background

Dominique and Kenneth King with their daughters. Source: King campaign

A member of the Antioch Parks and Recreation Commission, according to her campaign website, King was homeless and dropped out of high school at age 15 but “graduated from Job Corps at 16 and immediately went to work”. She is married to Kenneth, a deputy sheriff, and they have three children including two attending Antioch Middle School where she serves on the site council. According to her LinkedIn profile, the Kings  are business owners having started Lean In With The Kings in 2019 in which their “mission is to educate couples and families on how to foster healthy relationships”. She used to own 2Spoons, LLC which was started in 2014 and since 2016 King has been a consultant with Arbonne, a natural health supplements and skin care products company. Since last October she has worked  as a columnist for the Concord Clayton Pioneer newspaper and as of April, is also as a freelance columnist for the online PR Now Magazine. In addition, King earned an Associate’s degree in International Business from Los Medanos College.

King’s Issues

King says she will “fight to make sure: (1) children have safe, supported learning environments and access to high-quality education; (2) teachers and staff have the tools to meet the growing demands of our diverse community; (3) families feel connected to our neighborhood schools; (4) we embrace technical training and education, not just college preparation; and (5) we build appropriate support systems for all at-risk youth.”

She is quoted saying, “As a community, we have the opportunity to change the narrative and conditions of our schools. Antioch Public Schools should be the first choice for families.”

King’s Endorsements

King touts the backing of Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Councilwomen Monica Wilson and Tamisha Torres-Walker, AUSD Area 1 Trustee Antonio Hernandez, Congressman John Garamendi, District Attorney Diana Becton, Contra Costa College Board Ward 4 Trustee Andy Li, Antioch Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Marie Arce, Contra Costa Water District Board Member Patt Young and the East Bay Women’s Political Alliance. She’s also endorsed by the Democratic Party of California and Contra Costa and the Contra Costa Young Democrats – interjecting partisan politics into a local, non-partisan race – and Our Revolution East Bay, the local chapter of self-avowed democratic socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sander’s Our Revolution. In addition, King was given the label of Gun Sense Candidate 2022 by Moms Demand Action.

Questions for King Go Unanswered

King was asked about her background, including “Where did you grow up and experience homelessness? When were you appointed to the Parks and Recreation Commission? Is this your first run for public office? If not, what else have you run for previously, and where?”

She was also asked, “As part of your platform that ‘children have safe, supported learning environments’ do you support having police serve as School Resource Officers (SRO’s) at Antioch’s middle and high school campuses? As part of your platform that, ‘we embrace technical training and education, not just college preparation’ and as a business owner, yourself, do you also support teaching entrepreneurship in the high schools? What specifically do you propose for improving math and English test scores, mainly for Black and Hispanic students in the district?”

Regarding her endorsements, King was asked, “why have you chosen to interject partisan politics into a race for what is supposed to be non-partisan office? Also, in light of the recent settlement of the sexual harassment lawsuit against Mayor Thorpe, why do you still tout his endorsement and the endorsement by Patt Young who claims his two former female employees were not credible? What message do you think that sends to the female students in the district’s schools and the women who work for AUSD? Regarding your endorsement by Our Revolution East Bay, which is part of self-avowed democratic socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ national organization, do you consider yourself a socialist? If so, what does that mean to you?”

Regarding concerns expressed by some Antioch residents King was asked if she supports the teaching of Critical Race Theory and/or the 1619 Project version of U.S. history in Antioch schools, and does she have any plans or made any commitments to make a change in the position of superintendent.

Finally, King was asked if she supports charter schools and school choice in general to bring competition to public education, which in the private sector results in improved products and services.

After multiple attempts to reach King by phone call, email and text for this article she did not respond.

See a video by King about herself, her family and campaign on her Facebook page.

Rocha’s Background & Accomplishments

AUSD Trustee Mary Rocha with her son, then-Antioch High Principal Louie Rocha during this year’s graduation ceremony. Herald file photo.

Rocha’s campaign touts her experience as one reason to re-elect her. Having first started out as a volunteer in the Antioch school district in the 1970’s she was first elected to the Antioch School Board in 1971. Through her efforts the Special Education Department expanded from 100 to 1,200 students. Governor Jerry Brown appointed Rocha to the Special Education Commission and served for four years. She was the founding member of the Mexican American School Board Association and the National Hispanic School Board Association serving as president for both.

Rocha was elected to the Antioch City Council in 1984 being the first elected Latina in Contra Costa County. She served as a council member for eight years and was elected Mayor of Antioch in 1996 and served for years during which Rocha was elected by the Contra Costa County Mayors Conference of as the chairperson. In 2000, She was the top Primary Election candidate in the race for District 5 Supervisor but lost to Federal Glover in the General.

Rocha was elected to the city council, again in 2012 and served one term. Rocha was then elected, again to the school board in 2018.

She has over 30 years’ experience as a community organizer and activist concerning family and children’s issues in East County. Mary was the founder of Brighter Beginnings and coordinator of the Antioch First 5 Center facility providing services to families with children 0-5 years of age.

In her biography on the school district’s website Rocha writes, “While education is my platform – it is also my passion. I’m driven by my admiration for students and their families. I’ve raised three children in Antioch. They all attended Antioch Unified District schools. And now, my grandchildren are following in their successful footsteps. I want the same for your children.”

Rocha’s Honors

Rocha was a recipient of the “Maya Citizen of the Year”, the Los Medanos College Cesar Chavez Award and the League of United Latino American Citizens (LULAC) “Eagle Award” for her hard work with the Latino community. She was recognized as one of the “Women of the Year” by the CCC Commission for Women.

In recognition of her over 30 years of services as an advocate for low-cost day care, the “Mary H. Rocha Child Development Center” was dedicated in honor. The center houses 150 children with state funds run by the YWCA.

Rocha was recently selected to be honored in a book entitled, “Mujeres de Conciencia” (Women of Conscience) about 68 Latinas who have successfully impacted the wellbeing of California Latinos.

Rocha’s Issues

In a video posted on her campaign Facebook page Rocha said, “I continue to be committed to parent engagement, your involvement, safety for our children and teachers, and social and emotional health, and academic support for our children.”

She voted in 2020 for the six School Resource Officers to work at the district’s middle and high schools, before the current council majority voted to rescind the acceptance of the federal grant. Rocha still wants them.

Rocha voted against the Rocketship charter school and the middle and high school charter schools that considered opening in Antioch and shows another video on her campaign Facebook page by a teacher and union member touting her opposition to “corporate charters”.

In yet another video Rocha claims Rocketship is costing the district $35 million because “our administration has to oversee the policies and their budget”. Besides the budget her other top issues are campus safety and parental involvement.

Rocha’s Endorsements

Rocha says she has the endorsements of former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Congressmen Mark DeSaulnier and Jerry McNerney, Antioch Teachers AEA, Antioch School Employees CSEA, Antioch Principals and Administrators AMA, Contra Costa Central Labor Council, Contra Costa Building and Construction Trades Council, SEIU Local 2015 and the Antioch Police Officers Association.

Rocha Responds to Questions

Rocha was asked for her main accomplishments as a school board member. She responded, “First of all I was elected in 2018 and in my four years we dealt as a Board with the COVID virus making sure we provided enough computers for distant learning and helping staff gear up to a different way of teaching.  My key priorities were to ensure the health and safety of our students and employees, provide social, emotional counseling and academic intervention services with the goal of improved student outcomes for all students while maintaining a fiscally responsible school district budget. I was able to support the replacements of vice principals and increase counselors.”

Rocha was also what will she specifically do to improve the math and English test scores, of mainly Black and Hispanic students in the district. She responded, “The District’s 2021-22 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) aligns resources to meet students’ needs which spells out, retain teaching staff, and attract staff in math, science and special education; expand programs for wellness and reading intervention. Their goals are put together with parents’ involvement to reduce the achievement gap for high needs students and ensure all students are accessing learning at the highest levels. The Board reviews their outcome.”

Asked if she supports teaching entrepreneurship in AUSD high schools “Yes. We have 20 academies in our district that include Career Technical Business Education. In media, they learn as a business, web-based and mobile applications, games, films and other integrated media,” Rocha shared. “Business Tech Academy curriculum is focused on a business theme that integrates standard based classes and career technical education classes.”

Finally, Rocha was asked what other plans she has for her next term if re-elected. She responded, “The extra money that we have received from the state will sunset with in the next three years I want to be there to continue to fund those programs that have made a difference for our students. I would also like to hire Reading Specialists in the middle schools. My hope is to establish community schools linking resources so the whole family can be addressed and support family engagement.”

“I have valuable knowledge and experience in developing fiscally responsible budgets for the Antioch Unified School District and City of Antioch as an elected official. I am committed to keeping students and families at the forefront of all decisions. I invite you to join me in working together for improved outcomes for all students,” Rocha added.

For more information about Dominique King and her campaign visit and for or more information about Mary Rocha and her campaign visit The election is November 8th.

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Annual Free Holy Eve Community Carnival at Grace Bible Fellowship Church Monday, Oct. 31

Saturday, October 29th, 2022

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Man in incident with Antioch mayor ID’d, questions arise about Thorpe facing charges for filing false police report

Saturday, October 29th, 2022

Antioch resident Tom McNell has been identified as the man falsely accused by Mayor Lamar Thorpe of punching him in the chest. Source: Facebook

Antioch resident Tom McNell declines additional comment; the offense of making a false police report of a crime to a peace officer is punishable by up to six months in jail; City’s PIO not at event or witness of incident

By Allen D. Payton

After a Bay Area TV station, on Thursday, identified Antioch resident Tom McNell as the man involved in the altercation with Mayor Lamar Thorpe on Tuesday, McNell said he would not offer any additional information about the incident, at this time. Thorpe has claimed that McNell punched him in the chest. However, during her comments at the end of Tuesday’s council meeting District 1 Antioch Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker – who claims to have helped broken things up between the two men – refuted the mayor’s claim saying Thorpe was only aggressively shoved. She also said McNell attempted to punch him, which he and other witnesses have refuted saying “no punches were thrown”. (See council meeting video and hear Torres-Walker’s comments at the 4:27:09 mark) (See related article)

McNell, who was one of 20 Antioch residents to sign as proponents on the Notice of Recall against Thorpe, claims he was poking fun at the mayor for missing part or all of two previous council meetings saying, “nice to see you coming out of hiding” and that it was Thorpe who approached McNell and got in his face.  McNell says he told Thorpe to get out of his personal space but didn’t. So, McNell put his right hand on the mayor’s chest and pushed the Thorpe back. McNell said, “if I shoved him, it wasn’t very hard.”

“I didn’t punch him,” McNell stated.

Photos of those in attendance at the Antioch Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, show Rolando Bonilla was not in attendance. Photos by Allen D. Payton

City’s PIO Not at Event or Witness to Incident, Confirms and Makes False Claims to Media

Antioch’s contracted PIO, Rolando Bonilla. Source:

The City’s contracted public information officer, Rolando Bonilla was asked, Thursday morning, if he was “the source close to the case” who told NBC Bay Area’s Damian Trujillo the identity of the man who Thorpe has accused, as stated in the TV news report. Bonilla was also asked if so, is that part of his role as the city’s PIO to identify to the media Antioch residents who are merely accused by the mayor, a council member or a city staff member of doing something. He did not respond prior to publication time.

In addition, Bonilla is quoted as saying to KRON-4 News on Tuesday about an hour after the incident that an arrest “appears to be imminent”, yet the Antioch Police Department’s PIO Darryl Saffold shared later Tuesday afternoon that the investigation was still being conducted. Bonilla, acting as the City’s PIO confirmed to the media Thorpe’s claims of being pushed. But a review of photos from the event show Bonilla was not in attendance and therefore not in the parking lot during the time of the incident and couldn’t have been a witness to it.

Bonilla was asked how, while speaking on behalf of the city, he could confirm to the media what Thorpe said about being punched if he wasn’t a witness to the incident. He did not respond.

Up to Six Months in Jail for Filing False Police Report

Now that Thorpe’s claim of being punched by McNell has been refuted by Torres-Walker and other witnesses, Antioch residents are asking if the mayor could face charges of filing a false police report.

California Penal Code 148.5 PC makes it illegal to make a false police report of a crime to a peace officer. False reporting is a crime if the person making the report knows it to be false. The offense is punishable by up to six months in jail.

That Penal Code reads in Section “a) Every person who reports to any peace officer listed in Section 830.1 or 830.2, or subdivision (a) of Section 830.33, the Attorney General, or a deputy attorney general, or a district attorney, or a deputy district attorney that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”

In addition, the penal code reads in Section “b) Every person who reports to any other peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor if (1) the false information is given while the peace officer is engaged in the performance of his or her duties as a peace officer and (2) the person providing the false information knows or should have known that the person receiving the information is a peace officer.”

Questions for Interim Antioch Police Chief, APD PIO, Contra Costa DA PIO Go Unanswered

Some residents have asked if Thorpe could face charges for filing a false police report. Information and questions about the incident, Thorpe’s claim and Torres-Walker’s comments were sent to Interim Antioch Police Chief Steve Ford, department PIO Darryl Saffold, and Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office PIO Ted Asregadoo, Thursday night asking about that possibility. But no responses were received as of close of business on Friday.

Please check back later for their responses and any other updates to this report.

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Ernesto Avila installed as Antioch’s 26th Postmaster

Friday, October 28th, 2022

New Antioch Postmaster Ernesto Avila. Source: USPS

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy administers oath of office ceremony for him and 31 other Postmasters in California during special ceremony

By Kristina Uppal, U.S. Postal Service

ANTIOCH, CA— Ernesto Avila raised his right hand and took the official Oath of Office as the Postmaster of the Antioch, CA Post office on Monday, October 24, 2022, in a special ceremony. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy administered the Oath to Avila alongside 31 other Postmasters throughout California.

Avila, a proud 22-year postal employee started his postal career in Antioch in 2000 as a letter carrier.

“It is a tremendous honor to be appointed the twenty-sixth Postmaster for the city of Antioch.  I have a profound sense of pride for not only being given the opportunity to serve my own community but to do so in the office where I began my career,” said Avila.

As outlined in the USPS Delivering for America plan, the postal service is committed to modernizing and continually adapting to the evolving needs of all customers. As the Postmaster of Antioch, Avila is prepared to meet those needs for his community.

“In my time with the Postal Service, I have been fortunate to have incredible teachers who have helped place me in the position to take on this great responsibility.  It is because of them and the deep roots I have in this community and office that I pledge to work diligently to provide exceptional service to the city of Antioch,” Avila added.

The Antioch Post Office was first opened in 1851, closed in 1852, re-opened in 1855, closed again in 1862, and it has operated continuously since re-opening in 1863. Two post offices currently operate in the city including the main Antioch Post Office on E. Tregallas Road and the Rivertown Post Office on W. 4th Street.

The History of the Postmaster Position

The title, “Postmaster” carries with it both a Noble Heritage and a Vital Responsibility.

Originally, the word Postmaster was referred as the one who provided post horses.  According to the Oxford Dictionary, postmaster means “master of the posts, the officer who has charge or direction of the posts.”

William Penn established Pennsylvania’s first post office in 1683. However, the real beginnings of a postal system in the colonies dates from 1692 when Thomas Neale received a 21-year grant from the British Crown authorizing him to set up post roads in North America.

In 1707, the British Government bought the rights to the North American postal service, and, in 1710, consolidated the postal service into one establishment.  The principal offices of the new British Postal Service were in London, England; Edinburgh Scotland; Dublin, Ireland, and New York.

In 1737, Benjamin Franklin was appointed Postmaster at Philadelphia.  He laid out new post roads, helped expand mail service from Canada to New York and instituted overnight delivery between Philadelphia and New York City, a distance of 90 miles. In 1774, Franklin was dismissed from office because of his efforts on behalf of the patriots.

When the Continental Congress met in May 1775, they named Franklin as postmaster general for the 13 American colonies.

From 1775 until the early 1800s, Postmasters were appointed by the postmaster general.  In 1836, postmasters were appointed by the president, but this of course changed whenever a new party was elected.  It was not until August 1970, with the signing of the Postal Reorganization Act, which took effect in July 1971, that the patronage system was finally removed from the postal service once and for all.  Postmasters began being appointed on merit alone. The act also permitted upward mobility for line employees, allowing them to be promoted to the position of Postmaster.

Along the way, there have been several famous individuals, who have served as postmasters. In 1833, Abraham Lincoln was appointed postmaster of New Salem, IL. Other notable individuals who served as postmaster included abolitionist John Brown, businessman Conrad Hilton, novelist William Faulkner, and humorist Bill Nye, as well as Kevin Costner in the movie The Postman (just kidding).

The Postal Service generally receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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Contra Costa County Health Officer rescinds all remaining COVID-19 health orders

Friday, October 28th, 2022

It is over!

By Allen D. Payton

In the words of Howard Cosell after Muhammad Ali defeated Joe Frazier during the Rumble in the Jungle boxing match, “It is over! It is over! It is over! It is over!” Last month, President Biden said the COVID-19 “pandemic wis over” and on Oct. 17, Governor Newsom announced the COVID-19 State of Emergency in California would end on February 28, 2023. Then, as of Thursday, Oct. 21 the government-imposed restrictions from COVID-19 have completely ended in Contra Costa County.

Without fanfare or even a press release to the media, Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Ori Tzvieli issued an order, that day, “rescinding any and all active orders pertaining to COVID-19”.

The new order states, “Orders that (1) prohibited or otherwise restricted the activities of any person in Contra Costa County, either directly or indirectly, or (2) imposed any affirmative obligations on any person in the County, and (3) are or may be interpreted to be operative (collectively, the “Active Orders”), be rescinded.”

Following is Ortiz’ official order:





Summary of the Order

Commencing on March 14, 2020, with the issuance of Order No. HO-COVID19-01, the Health Officer of Contra Costa County has issued 69 orders regarding the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. These orders (including one unnumbered order) will be referred to as the “COVID-19 Orders.” Among the COVID-19 Orders were orders that restricted the activities of individuals, compelled business owners and others to shut down or limit their operations, required the wearing of face coverings, and mandated the testing or vaccination of workers in specified settings. Based on current trends and the availability of vaccinations and treatments, it is no longer necessary to have any active Health Officer orders pertaining to COVID-19, and it is the intent of the Health Officer that any and all COVID-19 Orders that (1) prohibited or otherwise restricted the activities of any person in Contra Costa County, either directly or indirectly, or (2) imposed any affirmative obligations on any person in the County, and (3) are or may be interpreted to be operative (collectively, the “Active Orders”), be rescinded. This Order rescinds any and all Active Orders, effective immediately. This Order does not affect any of the COVID-19 Orders that were issued for the sole purpose of rescinding previous orders.




  1. Rescission of Active Orders. Any and all Active Orders are hereby rescinded.
  2. Effective Date and Time. This Order takes effect immediately upon issuance.
  3. Copies; Contact Information. Copies of this Order shall promptly be: (1) made available at

the Office of the Director of Contra Costa Health Services, 1220 Morello Avenue, Suite 200, Martinez, CA 94553; (2) posted on the Contra Costa Health Services website (; and (3) provided to any member of the public requesting a copy of this Order. Questions or comments regarding this Order may be directed to Contra Costa

Health Services at (844) 729-8410.


Ori Tzvieli, M.D.

Health Officer of the County of Contra Costa

Dated: October 21, 2022

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