Antioch Council approves “Pride” Month recognition, raises rainbow flag at City Hall before approving it

Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker reads the “Pride” Month recognition as Councilman Mike Barbanica listens during the Antioch City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 13, 2023. Video screenshot

Later approves flying “Progress Pride” flag for remainder of the year on split vote

Direction given to city attorney on City Manager Con Johnson but no details provided

Thorpe explains process for placing council member requested items on meeting agendas

By Allen D. Payton

The rainbow “Pride” flag can be seen flying at Antioch City Hall following the council vote on June 13, 2023. Photo by Allen D. Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, the Antioch City Council approved flying the “Progress Pride” flag at City Hall for the remainder of the year as they did last year for eight months and re-approve the revised tobacco products sales ordinance.

At the beginning of the regular City Attorney Thomas L. Smith reported out of closed session regarding City Manager Con Johnson that direction was given to the city attorney. No other details were provided. Johnson has been on paid administrative leave since March 17.

The council on a 4-0 vote, with Mayor Lamar Thorpe absent at roll call, approved a proclamation commemorating Juneteenth, June 19 as Freedom Day and the nation’s second Independence Day and recognizing June as “Pride” Month in the City of Antioch for the “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) community”. The resolution was received by a self-described trans woman named Brittany, who said he has lived in Antioch his entire life, called for a gay parade in Antioch and asked the city council to also fly the transgender flag.

The resolution included the flying of the “Pride” rainbow flag at City Hall during the remainder of the month. Last year the council on a 3-2 vote with Councilmembers Mike Barbanica and Lori Ogorchock voting no, approved flying the “Intersex, Progress Pride” flag at City Hall for eight months.

Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker chaired Tuesday night’s meeting until Thorpe’s arrival and displayed small “Pride” and “Transgender Pride” flags on the dais between her and Barbanica. (A report on describes 17 different “Pride” flags but it does not include the “Intersex Progress Pride” flag which adds a circle inside the triangle on the left side of the “Progress Pride” flag.)

Four of the Antioch council members pose for a photo with resident Lucas Stuart-Chilcoate (left) and Britney Schwarz, a self-identified transgender “woman” holding the “Transgender Pride” flag and the council’s “Pride” Month resolution during the meeting on June 13, 2023. Video screenshot.

The council took a break at 7:15 p.m. to raise the “Pride” rainbow flag on the pole outside the Council Chambers. But that occurred three hours before the council discussed and voted on Item P on the Consent Calendar “to fly the Rainbow Pride Flag at City Hall throughout the month of June 2023 in recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning Community Pride Month in the City of Antioch” at about 10:15 p.m.

Torres-Walker made a motion to fly the “Progress Pride” flag instead and for the remainder of the year, again.

“We did this last year,” Thorpe said in support. “Given what’s happening in our country including some cities in our state…I think we need to keep leading on this issue.”

“I tolerate dogs,” he said in response to a public comment by a resident. “What we’re talking about here are human beings. We need to be accepting of our fellow human beings, not tolerant.”

The motion passed 4-1 with Ogorchock voting against.

Thorpe Reviews, Explains Placing Council Member Requested Items on Meeting Agendas

Thorpe was absent at the beginning of the meeting because he said he’s taking a certificate in government course on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. He arrived at about 7:45 p.m. During the Mayor’s Comments, in response to last week’s special meeting discussion and direction by his fellow council members, he explained and reviewed the six-month list of agenda items requested by other council members saying he doesn’t determine when they’re brought back and that it’s a staff decision. (See related article)

“A public hearing requires a two-week notification,” he said. “So, if we had brought it back at the last meeting, we would have been breaking the law.”

“I don’t manage the city. The city manager manages the city. The city attorney manages some of these projects, here. I don’t manage that. They come up with the timeframes,” Thorpe added.

He mentioned 87 city staff vacancies and said, “I’ve been considered of staff needs.”

“There’s about 20 items, here and we’re working on a lot of these,” Thorpe continued. “At the next special council meeting we’ll discuss them in a round robin format.”

“This is what I inherited. If people want to change the process, I’m open,” he added.

The council then received a presentation on a Budget, Staffing and Timeline for the City’s rent program and additional tenant protection policies.

the attachments to this post:

Council with Transgender Pride flag 061323

Pride flag flying at Antioch City Hall

MPT Torres-Walker reads Pride month recognition ACC061323

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