Antioch Mayor Thorpe accuses Councilwoman Ogorchock of a past “white privileged outburst”

Mayor Thorpe chastises and points his finger at Councilwoman Ogorchock during discussion of the previous meeting minutes at the council meeting on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. Video screenshot

During discussion of previous council meeting vote on minutes; says he’s “not here to…appease white fragility”

By Allen D. Payton

After calling for the firing of the Antioch Police Officers involved in the racist text scandal last Friday, at Tuesday night’s Antioch City Council meeting, May 23, 2023, during discussion of Item A, which Mayor Lamar Thorpe removed from the Consent Calendar agenda, he requested the council reverse its previous 3-0 vote by Councilmembers Lori Ogorchock, Mike Barbanica and Monica Wilson, to have the city clerk add more details to the minutes with his verbatim comments during the April 11th council meeting. That was the night he yelled at a resident during public comments. The minutes described the mayor’s comments as, “Mayor Thorpe expressed his frustration with previous public comments and declared a recess at 7:55 P.M.” (See related article)

During the Consent Calendar at the beginning of the May 9th council meeting, for which Thorpe arrived an hour late and Torres-Walker was absent, Ogorchock said there were three people who had reached out to her saying, “the minutes did not reflect what was stated exactly under the mayor’s comments and his response. So, I’m asking that the comments come back with an accurate statement of what was said.”

“And I also received similar feedback from the public and that’s no reflection on the Clerk’s Office, at all,” Barbanica said. “But several people from the district that reached out to me requesting the same thing.”

Wilson, who was running the meeting as the ranking member, asked City Attorney Thomas L. Smith, “do you have anything to say on that point? Or we can just go ahead…”

“If that’s the wish of the council then the Clerk’s Office can make that adjustment,” he responded.

“Make that adjustment and bring those minutes back. OK,” Wilson stated.

“So, is that direction?” Smith asked.

“Yes,” Wilson responded.

The council then voted 3-0 to bring back the minutes from the April 9th meeting with the adjustment to Thorpe’s comments.

During last Tuesday night’s meeting, Thorpe objected and made a motion to rescind the previous vote to have the City Clerk’s Office change the April 9th meeting minutes. (See 46-minute mark of May 23rd council meeting video)

“The reason I’m doing this is because we typically do summary minutes. We have not gone outside of that,” he said. “If we’re going to start picking and choosing what we’re going to put in the minutes that are verbatim, then I’d ask that all the minutes come back and we review them and an put outbursts by Councilmember Ogorchock, we can put other things in there when I had to use the gavel.”

“So, if people want to play games, that’s fine. I’m not participating,” Thorpe added. “That’s my motion.”

“I don’t think we should do that. I think we should stick to the summary minutes format,” he later said in explaining his motion to Torres-Walker who seconded his motion.

Ogorchock then said, “This is not just a Councilmember Ogorchock thing, there were three votes, Mr. Mayor.”

“No, I’m pointing out your outburst,” Thorpe shot back.

“I didn’t have an outburst,” she responded.

“When you had your white privileged outburst and had your finger in my face,” he stated while pointing his finger at the councilwoman.

“I didn’t have a white privileged…” Ogorchock said as Thorpe continued by saying, “like (Arizona Governor) Jan Brewer did with Barack Obama, you absolutely did.”

When you had your finger in my face,” he repeated while again pointing his finger at her. “So…”

“Keep going,” she responded.

“No, I’m done. Now you’re turn,” the mayor said.

“I’m surprised you’re giving me time to talk. You gave me the floor and keep going,” Ogorchock retorted. “It was not just me. It was a 3-0 vote.”

“I didn’t say it was just you,” Thorpe stated.

“It was a 3-0 vote,” she repeated.

“OK,” he said.

“And the vote passed,” Ogorchock pointed out.

“And my motion was to rescind it,” Thorpe said.

In response to another question by Torres-Walker the mayor who became increasingly heated said, “this motion is to undo the political game they’re trying to play, here. That’s it. If it’s a no, then you want to play this game and have the minutes reflect the verbatim transcript which is more work on the Clerk’s Office, and unfair and unnecessary.”

“Because,” Thorpe continued while looking at and gesturing toward Ogorchock, “when you had your white privileged outburst I didn’t request that.”

She denied the accusation again and he repeated it, once more.

“So, I’m sorry. I’m not playing this game,” the mayor repeated. “So, please cast your votes.”

Following the 3-2 vote, with Wilson switching her position, to keep the summary of the incident in the council meeting minutes with Ogorchock and District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica voting no, Thorpe added, “Alright and just so we’re clear, I’m not here to cave or to, you know, appease white fragility. I’m not.”

The meeting then continued.

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