Mayor Thorpe calls special meeting Thursday, Feb. 23 to discuss moratorium on new Antioch liquor stores, expanding homeless programs

In response to Wilson’s requests he will also appeal recent Planning Commission vote approving Somersville Plaza Liquor Store

Barbanica says they’re targeting his district as a political stunt

By Allen D. Payton

Following Tuesday’s announcement by District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson calling for a moratorium on new liquor stores in Antioch, Mayor Lamar Thorpe called a special council meeting for tonight, Thursday, Feb. 23 at 5:00 p.m. to discuss the matter. In addition, he issued a statement, today supporting Wilson’s call to appeal of the recent Planning Commission decision approving one. During a press conference on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023 (which the Herald was not invited to) Wilson called for the appeal and proposed the moratorium.

In a post on her official Facebook page on Tuesday, Wilson wrote, “Councilwoman Monica Wilson and community leaders proposes legislation banning liquor stores in Antioch. Calls on Mayor Thorpe on starting appeal process for recently approved liquor store.”

District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson speaks during her press conference on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023. Video screenshot.

During the press conference she was joined by Parks and Recreation Commission Vice Chair and failed 2022 Antioch School Board candidate Dominique King, who spoke in support and five other people who were not introduced and did not speak. Wilson, reading from prepared remarks, asked Thorpe to “start the appeals process” of the recent 4-3 planning commission vote on Feb. 15 approving the Somersville Plaza Liquor Store proposed for 2651 Somersville Road in the small strip center located at the end of Fairview Drive which is located in District 2. (See PC agenda item 7-3 and details, here: – see commission meeting video at 1:07:20 mark)

Somersville Plaza is the proposed location for the new liquor store. Source: City of Antioch

The location is in “one of Antioch’s most underserved communities which is plagued with a host of issues from high crime to poor health outcomes,” Wilson stated.

Of the appeal she said, “This decision potentially has citywide implications concerning public safety, social detriments of health and quality of life.”

However, Wilson claimed, “While I am requesting this appeal, I have not made a decision one way or the another. As I, too, would have to listen to all interested parties including the applicant.”

“I will be proposing legislation on a prohibition on future liquor store applications in the City of Antioch,” she continued and asked Thorpe to place a 45-day urgency ordinance on the agenda for a prohibition of liquor store applications until her proposed ordinance can be considered.

“Some of the liquor stores in Antioch have become magnets for illicit activity and crime. People in our community deserve better,” Wilson added. “You don’t have to look far to see examples of what happens when these type of liquor stores like this pop up and oversaturate our most vulnerable communities.” She then mentioned Sycamore Plaza, Delta Fair shopping center, BevBox on W. 10th Street and Romi’s Liquors at W. 18th Street and Cavallo Road as her examples.

Wilson cited a study by the California Healthy Communities Data and Indicators (HCI), an effort of the California Department of Health, and said the 94509 ZIP Code scores in the 35th percentile compared to the 70th percentile for the 94531 ZIP Code. According to its website, “The goal of the HCI is to provide datasets and tools that a broad array of sectors can use for planning healthy communities and evaluating the impact of plans, projects, policy, and environmental changes on community health.”

The areas the HCI focuses on are Income Security, Food Security and Nutrition, Child Development, Education and Literacy, Housing, Environmental Quality, Accessible Built Environments, Healthcare, Prevention Efforts – specifically Childhood Fitness, and Neighborhood Safety and Collective Efficacy.

Thorpe Calls Special Feb. 23 Council Meeting, Will Appeal Commission Decision

On Tuesday, Thorpe signed and issued a Call for Special Meeting for tonight to discuss both the moratorium on liquor stores and expanding the state’s Homekey Program in the city to help Antioch’s homeless residents. On Thursday morning, Thorpe issued a statement on his campaign website regarding the appeal of the planning commission decision and the call to ban liquor stores.

“I want to thank Councilwoman Monica Wilson, Vice Chair Dominique King of the Parks and Recreation Commission, and various community members for seeking my attention to this matter.

After careful consideration, I’ve decided to move forward with the appeal of the Planning Commission’s recent decision to approve a new liquor/convenience store close to the intersection of Somerville and Buchanan Rds. The appeals hearing is set for March 14, 2023, at 7:00 pm.

In addition, I’ve scheduled a special meeting on Thursday, March 23, 2023, at 5:00 pm to discuss moving forward with an urgency ordinance that temporarily bans any new liquor store applications. Unlike more legislative decisions, an urgency ordinance requires 4 out of the 5 council members including the mayor to agree in order to move forward.

Lastly, I agree with Councilwomen [sic] Wilson on the need for comprehensive legislation that limits new liquor stores in Antioch and considers 1.) oversaturation, 2.) crime levels, 3.) the Healthy Community Index (HCI), and 4.) current operators who have played by the rules.”

However, the special council meeting is scheduled for tonight, Thursday, Feb. 23 at 5:00 p.m. as called for by Thorpe on Tuesday.

Facebook Comments on Wilson’s Proposal

In comments below Wilson’s Facebook post of her press conference, Jackie Bean Lowery wrote, “Too many liquor stores in Antioch! Enough is enough!” Resident Michelle Kuslits wrote, “Please address the additional cannabis licenses you keep approving. You can substitute ‘cannibas’ for every comment you have made about alcohol. Many, many, many residents do not approve of all the cannabis storefronts, including manufacturing and growing facilities you are approving either, yet you keep approving them. If you are going to address one, address the other as well, otherwise it is hypocritical and looks as if you are not being inclusive or equitable! Thank you!

Questions for Wilson, King Go Unanswered

Questions were emailed Thursday morning to Wilson and King about the press conference. Wilson was asked if she invited Councilman Mike Barbanica to join her since the proposed location is in his district and why a parks and recreation commissioner included. King was asked if she is considering a run for the District 2 city council seat next year.

King, who spoke during the planning commission meeting against the liquor store and said she “lives in the area”, is viewed as a potential candidate for the District 2 council seat which is currently held by first term Councilman Mike Barbanica, and Wilson including her in the press conference was a means to promote her on an issue in that district.

They were also asked who the five people were standing behind them during the press conference.

Neither responded prior to publication time at 12:45 p.m.

Barbanica Wasn’t Invited to Press Conference

Barbanica was also asked if Wilson had invited him to join her at the press conference. “No,” he responded. “This is a political attack is all it is. It started with Thorpe during the meeting a couple weeks ago where he’s targeting District 2. The public can expect to continue to see more of this as the election grows closer.”

“What Monica really should be focused on are issues including the methadone clinic that’s literally blocks from her house. I really could have used her support when I was dealing with that,” Barbanica continued. “She’s been on the council for 12 years. What has she done to resolve that issue? This is nothing more than a political stunt.”

“I would have been happy to sit down and talk with Councilmember Wilson about this had she reached out to me. But she didn’t,” he stated. “This is a serious issue about liquor stores in our city and I look forward to hearing the input and discussing it.”

Asked if he was aware of King’s interest in running for his council seat next year Barbanica said, “I’ve heard from the rumor mill about it. But I haven’t spoken to her or anyone on the council about it.”

“Why this has to be turned into a political stunt instead of people working together is beyond me,” he added. “The Parks and Recreation Commission has nothing to do with this issue. If she wants to speak out on it as a concerned citizen, I respect her opinion.”

Questions for Thorpe

Thorpe was asked why the matter of the moratorium couldn’t be placed on next Tuesday’s regular council meeting agenda and why today’s special meeting was being held at 5:00 p.m. when most Antioch residents can’t attend. He responded, “Because we were already having a meeting today so I added it to the agenda as discussed rather than having staff work on an urgency ordinance that may or may not have 4/5ths support.”

Special Council Meeting Rules for Public Comments

During special council meetings there is no opportunity for general Public Comments at the beginning or end of like during regular council meetings. However public comments can be made on agendized items.

The public has the opportunity to address the City Council on each agenda item. No one may speak more than once on an agenda item or during “Public Comments”.

Members of the public wishing to provide public comments, may do so in one of the following ways (#2 pertains to the Zoom Webinar Platform):

  1. IN PERSON – Fill out a Speaker Request Form, available near the entrance doors, and place in the Speaker Card Tray near the City Clerk before the City Council Meeting begins.
  2. VIRTUAL – To provide oral public comments during the meeting, please click the following link to register in advance to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar:
  • You will be asked to enter an email address and a name. Your email address will not be disclosed to the public. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to connect to the meeting.
  • When the Mayor announces public comments, click the “raise hand” feature in Zoom. For instructions on using the “raise hand” feature in Zoom, visit: When calling into the meeting using the Zoom Webinar telephone number, press *9 on your telephone keypad to “raise your hand”. Please ensure your Zoom client is updated so staff can enable your microphone when it is your turn to speak.

Speakers will be notified shortly before they are called to speak. When you are called to speak, please limit your comments to the time allotted (350 words, up to 3 minutes, at the discretion of the Mayor).

The City cannot guarantee that its network and/or the site will be uninterrupted.

  1. WRITTEN PUBLIC COMMENT – If you wish to provide a written public comment, you may do so in one of the following ways by 3:00 p.m. the day of the City Council Meeting:

(1) Fill out an online speaker card, located at,


(2) Email the City Clerk’s Department at

Please note: Written public comments received by 3:00 p.m. the day of the City Council Meeting will be shared with the City Council before the meeting, entered into the public record, retained on file by the City Clerk’s Office, and available to the public upon request. Written public comments will not be read during the City Council Meeting.

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the attachments to this post:

Wilson pc 2-21-23 FB video screenshot

Somersville Plaza

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