Letters: Former councilwoman blasts Antioch Councilmembers, resident for taking swipes at other public speakers

Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker and Mayor Lamar Thorpe respond to public criticism during the council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023. Video screenshots

“you do not have a right to admonish people publicly and where they cannot respond.” – Joy Motts

Editor’s Note: At the Antioch City Council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023, comments were made by Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker during the City Council Committee Reports and Communications portion and by Mayor Lamar Thorpe during his Mayor’s Comments, responding to public criticism, and by a resident, directed toward another public speaker. In response, former Antioch Councilwoman Joy Motts, a Rivertown resident and president of Celebrate Antioch Foundation sent the following email to the five council members Tuesday night. It was shared with the Herald, Wednesday afternoon. (For context, see the 1:35:10, 2:16:15 and 2:48:45 marks of the council meeting video)

Mayor and Council,

It was clear tonight, that some on Council are not aware that City Council meetings are held in public not for your benefit, but because these meetings are the business of the people. Whether you like what the people of your city have to say or not, they have every right to communicate to you, their feelings. And to admonish them publicly for expressing their views is to undermine their 1st Amendment rights and discourage residents to participate in our government.

And to say that prior Councils were not blamed or admonished by residents for Antioch’s current problems at that time is absurd. From the minute I was on Council I felt like everything that went wrong, the last 50 years was my fault. And the community let me know and all of us know. It was hard and it’s not easy to take but as a representative of all the residents of Antioch, it is your job.

And what is even worse is you have taught some that support you to bully and embarrass those that don’t agree with them. Andrew Becker should be admonished. He is a bully, how dare anyone disagree with him. He has no right to disparage residents that come to speak their mind at the people’s meetings! You have allowed that. This is not good or fair governance. You have become so accustomed to this behavior that I do not even think you realize it or maybe you like it this way.

You speak of unity, but you are actively discouraging this community to participate unless they agree with you. This never happened when I was on Council or prior councils. Lamar, we sat there and took it, and respected people’s rights. You have the ability to communicate your feelings on your personal pages, or Op Ed’s, or websites but you do not have a right to admonish people publicly and where they cannot respond.

I do not know why anyone who disagrees with a policy, or has a grave concern, or has an idea other than yours would attend a council meeting. And from what I have seen tonight no one will. There were people that came that wanted to speak tonight… but they left. Who would want to suffer the consequences of speaking up? A tragedy for Antioch.

Joy Motts


the attachments to this post:

MPT Torres-Walker & Mayor Thorpe ACC080823

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