In Antioch District 1 Council race Torres-Walker leads in fundraising followed closely by Gibson-Gray, Motts

Incumbent District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker faces challengers former Antioch School Board President Diane Gibson-Gray and former Antioch City Councilwoman Joy Motts in the November election.

Gibson-Gray self-funds campaign; Motts raises most and spends more money within Antioch than the others

Incumbent councilwoman reports filled with mistakes, show she spent more than she raised, but missing over $11,000 in contributions; less than $1,000 raised within and almost all of her funds spent outside Antioch

By Tamara L Seward & Allen D. Payton

According to their latest campaign finance reports, known as Forms 460 and 497, as of October 28, 2022, of the three candidates for the Antioch City Council in District 1, incumbent Tamisha Torres-Walker was in the lead having raised about $25,200. But her mistake-riddled reports show only about $13,500 of that amount. Challenger Diane Gibson-Gray had raised $20,800 followed by fellow challenger Joy Motts with about $19,500 with almost half of it received from within Antioch.

By law financial reports must be filed by candidates running for any office, local, state and federal. Known as Form 460’s these reports show the details of who contributed, how much and how much they paid for expenses for any amount $100 or more. Plus, a Form 497 is required to report any large contribution within 24 hours of receipt. The reports can be enlightening and revealing. Several unions and special interest groups from out of the area contributed to the candidates, some over $1,000 and three in the maximum amount of $4,900 with the incumbent winning the crown.

Torres-Walker’s latest Form 460 only shows she had raised $8,626 and had spent $12,374 leaving her campaign almost $3,300 in debt. But she and her treasurer made several mistakes by not including about $2,500 from a previous committee and $8,900 in large contributions, which if included would have shown her campaign had a little over $8,000 cash on hand, rather than in debt.

Gibson-Gray Self Funds Campaign

Former Antioch School Board President Diane Gibson-Gray said she would self-fund her campaign and did just that by loaning it $20,000 and only raising an additional $800 from four Antioch residents for a total of $20,800. That included $500 from Gloria Martin and three $100 contributions.  Diane Gibson-Gray ACCD1 2022 460 0701-092422   Diane Gibson-Gray ACCD1 2022 460 0925-102222

Her campaign, which began in August, only spent $6,775.69 as of Oct. 22 leaving her with 14,024.31 cash on hand to spend over the final two weeks.

Gibson-Gray spent a little over half of that amount, $3,969.49 on printing with VistaPrint in Waltham, Massachusetts, plus $900 for advertising with East County Today but only $110 with the Antioch Herald (what’s up with that? We’re not charging enough!); and $524.40 with Belleci Signs & Apparel in Pittsburg for signs. She, like Motts, re-used signs from her previous campaigns. Gibson-Gray also spent $400 with Meta, the name for Facebook’s parent company for advertising.

Motts Backed by Unions, Antioch Police Officers, Antioch Residents

Former Councilwoman Joy Motts, who announced her campaign last fall, reported receiving a total of $17,354.98 for her campaign through Oct. 22 of which about $1,500 was in-kind contributions. But a Form 497 filed on Oct. 28 shows she received an additional $2,200 bringing her total to $19,554.98. Of that amount at least $9,194 was from within Antioch. So, Motts wins the prize for raising the most local money of all city council candidates, this year. Joy Motts ACCD1 2022 460 0101-063022   Joy Motts ACCD1 2022 460 0701-092422   Joy Motts ACCD1 2022 460 0925-102222   Joy Motts ACCD1 2022 497 102822

Her contributions from four unions and two political action committees totaled $7,800. Those include $2,500 from the Antioch Police Officers Association PAC, $1,500 each from IBEW Local 302 and the California Real Estate PAC, $1,000 from Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 104, $500 each from Operating Engineers and Laborers International Union of N.A Local 324, and $300 from Brick & Allied Craftworkers Local No.3 PAC.

In addition, Motts received $2,000 contributions each from Antioch resident and business owner Michael Gabrielson and San Ramon resident Betty Cho who is listed as a Senior Director for Kaiser, $500 each from Antioch residents Jennifer Hughes and Earlene Lanter, and $400 each from former Antioch Mayor Don Freitas and Antioch resident L.M. Terranova.

She also received in-kind contributions of $799 from Jennifer Hughes for office administration and $695 from Selina Button of Antioch for fundraiser drawing prizes.

Of individual contributions of $100 or more, Motts received $5,200 in cash and the $1,494 in-kind from Antioch residents and a total of $2,600 from outside the city including $600 from two Oakley residents. She also received $2,004.56 in contributions of less than $100 for which no details are required to be reported.

Motts spent a total of $13,262.20 on her campaign and wins the Shop Local prize for spending about one-third of that in Antioch. Her largest expenditures were $3,388.14 paid to Antioch’s Print Club, $2,753.44 with Pacific Printing in San Francisco, $1,400 with StackAdapt in Toronto, Ontario, Canada for printing, $895.50 to Cedric Cheng Design in Concord, $635 with Memories Man of Fremont for the campaign website, $570 paid to Carla Baker Marymee of Antioch, also for the website and $226.49 at Lowe’s in Antioch.

Motts’ Oct. 22 report showed an ending cash balance of $4,092.78 with no outstanding balances. Adding the $2,200 reported on Oct. 28 gave her about $6,300 remaining to spend on her campaign for the final week and a half.

Torres-Walker’s Reports Missing Over $11,000 in Contributions, Include Multiple Mistakes

Over the past two years Torres-Walker has reported her campaign finances under three different committees, made multiple mistakes and some corrections, making her Form 460 reports difficult to decipher. Her Tamisha Walker for Antioch City Council District 1 2020 committee report shows she ended 2021 with $557.25 cash on hand. That committee was terminated on June 16, 2022.  Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2020 460 0101-063021   Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2020 460 0701-123121 #1   Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2020 460 0701-123121 #2    Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2020 410 082522 Termination 061622   Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2020 497 082022

A Form 410 filed on August 25 shows she also terminated her first 2022 campaign committee on June 16. Yet, Torres-Walker’s Form 460 report for that committee shows she received $1,150 on June 30.  Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2022 460 0101-063022  Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2022 410 082522 Termination 061622    Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2022 497 080122   Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2022 497 080722   Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2022 497 093022

As of Oct. 22, Torres-Walker received $20,294.63 with the majority of contributors from outside Antioch and includes $1,300 in loans from herself. She listed her new position as the Executive Director of the Social Good Fund in Richmond. But her latest reports do not include $11,367.20 in contributions and cash on hand from her previous 2022 committee.  Reelect Tamisha Torres-Walker ACCD1 2022 460 0701-092422    Reelect Tamisha Torres-Walker ACCD1 2022 460 0925-102222  Reelect Tamisha Torres-Walker for ACC D1 497 092422

Plus, her most recent Form 497 report (required within 24 hours of receiving large contributions) showing $4,900 from Contra Costa United Working Families (CCUWF) in Pleasanton was received two days after the reporting period ended. That brings her total contributions and loans to $25,194.63 for the campaign.  Reelect Tamisha Torres-Walker for ACC D1 497 102422

Torres-Walker only shows $351 contributed by Antioch residents of $100 or more. Even assuming all the contributions of less than $100 are also from individuals in Antioch the most Torres-Walker could have received from within the city is a maximum of $983.77.

Her latest Form 460 shows she ended the reporting period with a negative $3,279.57 balance. But adding in the unreported contributions and cash on hand from her previous committee, and assuming no other expenditures went unreported, Torres-Walker actually had $8,087.63 to spend. Add to that the $4,900 contributions and that gave Torres-Walker a total of $12,987.63 to spend for the remaining two weeks until Election Day.

Support from Unions and Out-of-Town Left-Wing Groups, Individuals

Of Torres-Walker’s almost $19,000 in contributions almost all of it came from various contributors outside of Antioch who live in places such as Lafayette, Pleasanton Stockton, Oakland, Atherton and Santa Cruz. She wins the prize for the contribution from furthest away with $100 from a woman in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Several special interest groups from out of the area also contributed large amounts to Torres-Walker’s re-election. She received the maximum of $4,900 from Lift Up Contra Costa PAC of Oakland. As previously reported the group also spent $22,202 on an independent expenditure effort to support Torres-Walker’s campaign.

Filings show two contributions for the maximum amount of $4,900 were made to Torres-Walker’s two separate re-election campaign committees by Lift Up Contra Costa. Source: NetFile

However, she shows two contributions from them for that same amount on her Form 497 reports which, if true, would be a violation of state campaign finance law. For the purposes of this report only one contribution has been included in the calculations, as it is expected that the duplicate reporting was a mistake. See questions below about the matter.

Plus, Torres-Walker received an additional $4,900 on October 24, 2022, two days after the close of the latest reporting period, from Pleasanton-based Contra Costa United Working Families. Like District 4 incumbent Councilwoman Monica Wilson, she also received $1,000 from Bay Rising Action Committee sponsored by Empowered Politics in Oakland. According to their website, “Bay Rising Action is a grassroots political network that champions strong leaders representing our racial, economic, and environmental justice movements and builds the political power of working-class, immigrant, Black, Latinx, and Asian communities.”

According to the Center for Empowered Politics website, “In 2017, Chinese Progressive Association Action Fund and San Francisco Rising Action Fund merged to form the Center for Empowered Politics.” According to Influence Watch, “The Chinese Progressive Association is a left-wing community organizing group focusing on the Chinese-American communities that grew out of radical-left and pro-People’s Republic of China cadres. [7] CPA has faced accusations of aligning with the People’s Republic of China government and has received favorable coverage from the Chinese Communist Party-affiliated news outlet China Daily.” [8] [9]

Flier promoting Torres-Walker’s fundraiser in Stockton on Aug. 13, 2022. Source: FB

Of the contributions Torres-Walker’s campaign received from individuals, almost all of it was from outside Antioch, as well, and even held a fundraiser in Stockton during the summer, sponsored by a Vallejo-based company. Her largest contributions include $4,900 from Elizabeth Simons of Atherton and $1,500 each from Patty Quillin of Santa Cruz and Quinn Delaney of Oakland, 1,000 from political campaign consultant Melody Weintraub of Lafayette and $250 from El Cerrito-based Sun Flower Alliance, an anti-fossil fuel organization whose representative spoke at council meetings in favor of the oil and gas drilling ban in Antioch.

As previously reported, according to Influence Watch, Elizabeth “Liz” Simons “is the daughter of billionaire retired hedge fund manager and Democratic political donor James Simons and the wife of Mark Heising, chair of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Simons has promoted a number of left-of-center education policies and is the chair of the Heising-Simons Foundation, an organization she formed with her husband in 2007 that supports a variety of left-of-center environmentalist, education, and social policy causes.”

According to the Heising-Simons Foundation website, Liz Simons currently serves on the boards of the left-of-center Smart Justice California and the Learning Policy Institute. According to Influence Watch, the “Learning Policy Institute (LPI) is an education research and policy advocacy group that focuses on diversity and equity outcomes. IDuring the push to reopen in-person schooling following the COVID-19 pandemic, LPI was a vocal proponent of mask mandates, contact tracing, and vaccination of children aged 12 and older.”

Quillin is the wife of billionaire NetFlix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings. According to a People magazine report, in 2020 they donated $30 million to COVID-19 vaccine development and global immunization programs. According to Influence Watch, “During the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign, Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, raised over $100,000 on behalf of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton[1] In 2020, Hastings and Quillin spent over $5.3 million in support of federal Democratic candidates and committees, including $1.4 million in support of President Joe Biden[2] The couple also spent over $4.5 million to support left-of-center ballot initiatives in California and over $2 million on high-profile local elections in 2020 alone.”

According to the organization’s website, Delany is “the Founder and Board Chair of Akonadi Foundation, which supports the development of powerful social change movements to eliminate structural racism and create a racially just society.”

Torres-Walker was asked via text on August 10 how she knows Simons and Quillin, why they would contribute that much to her re-election campaign and what interests do they have in Antioch. But as of this writing she had not responded.

Spends Most of Her Campaign Cash Outside Antioch

Torres-Walker’s expenditures for her campaign are reported totaling $12,374. Of that amount $4,532.53 was paid to Careful Design of Pittsburg for campaign literature, and $3,500 to Critical Impact Consulting in San Pablo. But on a Form 460 report dated 01/01/20-06/30/21 it shows $1,500 was paid to Ratha Lai the Founder and Executive Director of Critical Impact Consulting, with an address in Antioch. Asked if he lives in the city, Lai responded, “I am not an Antioch resident, and my company is listed in San Pablo. I am no longer affiliated with Tamisha’s campaign since June 2021.”

She also spent $468 with NationBuilder in Los Angeles for her campaign website, and last year contributed $500 to D.A. Diana Becton’s re-election campaign. But that was returned in November, following Torres-Walker’s incident with police at her home in early October for which she was arrested. The charges were later dropped.

Filings show a $500 contribution in 2021 from Tamisha Torres-Walker’s campaign committee to Diana Becton’s re-election committee and Becton later returning it. Source: NetFile

She did send some money in Antioch paying $500 to Antioch-based Bay Biz for video production and $232.17 at Lowe’s.

Most Questions for Torres-Walker, Treasurer Go Unanswered

Questions were emailed to Torres-Walker Friday afternoon asking if the $2,467.20 was transferred from the previous campaign committee to the new one and the treasurer merely forget to include that amount. The reports don’t show any accrued expenses so, they were asked how the campaign could have spent more than brought it and were one or more contributions not included in the latest report.

The following information and questions were also emailed to Torres-Walker who forwarded them to her campaign treasurer, Chala Bonner.

“It appears you’re either missing a 460 report for your Tamisha Walker for Antioch City Council District 1 2022 campaign committee for 07/01 – 09/24/22 or you failed to report three large contributions on your Form 460 report for your new Reelect Tamisha Torres-Walker committee. Did you submit a 460 for that previous committee for that time period and the city clerk’s office just forgot to upload it?

Plus, you have two different Form 497 reports showing $4,900 each from Lift Up Contra Costa PAC. Is that the same contribution and you changed the report to reflect it was received by your new committee, instead? Or did both committees receive those same amounts?”

Torres-Walker was also asked if she was operating both committees. When reached Friday evening about 6:00 PM, Bonner said the first committee was closed down and they’re only operating the new campaign committee and that she was responding to the emailed questions. However, as of 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Bonner had not responded.

An additional email was sent to Torres-Walker Friday night pointing out an additional $1,000 contribution reported on a 497 form on July 1, 2022, but not included in her Form 460 report for that time period. She was asked if there are any other contributions and expenditures that are missing from her campaign finance reports and asked to have her treasurer provide the correct information and updated 460 report(s) right away.

Torres-Walker was then asked if the information was being intentionally withheld from the public and her challengers, is it a lack of oversight or just incompetence. She was also asked, if her treasurer is an accountant, a bookkeeper or just a friend helping the councilwoman or has she paid Bonner and that expenditure is also missing from one or more of the Form 460 reports. No payments to Bonner for serving as the campaign treasurer have been reported.

Finally, Torres-Walker was asked, if she can’t handle such small dollar finance in her campaign how can the public trust her to handle the millions of dollars of taxpayer money she votes on as a council member. As of publication time at 4:35 p.m., neither she nor Bonner responded.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

the attachments to this post:

Torres-Walker Gibson-Gray & Motts

TWalker to D Becton for DA 2022 $500 & returned

TT-Walker’s 2 Lift Up CC PAC 497’s for $4900

TT-W Stockton fundraiser

Joy Motts ACCD1 2022 497 102822
Joy Motts ACCD1 2022 497 102822

Reelect Tamisha Torres-Walker for ACC D1 497 102422
Reelect Tamisha Torres-Walker for ACC D1 497 102422

Reelect Tamisha Torres-Walker for ACC D1 497 092422
Reelect Tamisha Torres-Walker for ACC D1 497 092422

Reelect Tamisha Torres-Walker ACCD1 2022 460 0701-092422
Reelect Tamisha Torres-Walker ACCD1 2022 460 0701-092422

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