Council majority supports developing ban on sideshow spectators in Antioch

Photo of sideshow at Lone Tree Way and Deer Valley Road Sunday morning, Sept. 24, 2023. Photos by Allen D. Payton

Torres-Walker, Wilson concerned about punishing bystanders, more concerned with single car “spinouts”

“…when we can’t even trust them, not all but some, to do their current job without bias, I just don’t know if this is the particular right direction to go in.” – Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker.

By Allen D. Payton

After hearing from a few speakers during public comments the Antioch City Council discussed developing an ordinance to ban bystanders at sideshows, during their meeting on Tuesday, October 24, 2023. The mayor and two council members support moving forward, while two were concerned with criminalizing spectators. (See 3:03:40 mark of council meeting video)

Speaking to one resident who suggested prevention over punishment Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker said, “This has been an amazing night. People in this city continue to surprise me. I totally agree with a lot of your comments. There are already traffic laws that need to be enforced that aren’t being enforced and we all know why but we won’t go there.”

“Spinouts are not large-scale sideshows with 100 or 200 spectators,” she continued. “That is the daily experience in this city for the majority of residents, not large-scale sideshows. What are we going to do about that?”

The District 1 councilwoman then shared concerns about banning spectators and the police response.

“Even passing a policy that will criminalize the simple spectator, give the authority to someone in law enforcement to decide who’s a spectator and who’s not spectator when we can’t even trust them, not all but some, to do their current job without bias, I just don’t know if this is the particular right direction to go in,” said Torres-Walker.

District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica then said in response to a public comment, “First off, Bots Dots do not work. If you want proof of that…go to Blue Rock and Lone Tree. They do not work. Also go to James Donlon and Somersville. All the Bots Dots are literally covered in rubber. In District 2 we have, it seems almost a weekly event, now. Two weeks ago, they actually destroyed city signage, there. There was so much debris in the roadway that cars couldn’t drive through there. It took two city workers almost two hours to clean it up.”

“Most of this is occurring from people coming to the city from outside the city creating the issues then leaving our city,” he continued.

In response to a few residents who suggested providing a safe space for sideshows Barbanica stated, “I’m not really interested in saying as Antioch taxpayers why don’t we go ahead and develop a site for out-of-town people. It’s ludicrous.”

A large-scale sideshow causes a traffic backup in both directions on Lone Tree Way early Sunday morning, Sept. 24, 2023.

In response to Torres-Walker’s concerns he said, “Police officers are paid all day long to make determinations all day long. We’re issuing an infraction citation, here. We have been doing a lot of work trying to identify where these events occur. We’ve tried to prevent them. We’ve tried to cite people. A local business tried to do one and it ended in a shooting.

“I’m all for this ordinance,” he concluded.

“I too am for this ordinance,” District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock said. “I’m not sure about the spectator side. I’ve had several residents call and they were afraid for their lives as they were stuck in them.”

She then mentioned a sideshow that she witnessed.

“I think it is a safety issue and I’d like to see this going forward,” Ogorchock concluded.

Police arrive at the scene of the sideshow on Sunday morning, Sept. 24, 2023.

District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson said, “How do we tell who is a bystander and who isn’t? I see more burnouts. We need to work on this more. But I would like to see some type of ordinance. It’s like a cat and mouse. The bystander ordinance gives me great pause.”

“Thank you, Councilwoman Ogorchock for describing a spectator, because at that point, you were,” Torres-Walker said. “When we say, ‘all these people are not from Antioch’ is just not true. If you’re in your city, you probably organized it…people who navigate the city. When these events break up how do they know which way to go…to get to the freeway.

“This isn’t a race issue, because most likely when you go to one of these events most of the people probably look like Councilman Barbanica and Councilwoman Ogorchock,” Torres-Walker continued.

She spoke about prevention and again asked what to do about spinouts saying, “I see my neighbors do it before they pull in their driveway.”

Police arrest a driver of one car and confiscate a gun from inside following the sideshow on Sunday morning, Sept. 24, 2023.

Mayor Lamar Thorpe then weighed in saying, “We can certainly bring back the burnouts at a later time. I specifically asked if we can do roundabouts…and it didn’t go anywhere and what we got was a recommendation from staff for dots…and we went along with it.”

“I’m for this,” he continued. “I am for prevention. We’ve done a great job on prevention. But our traffic division has been decimated due to the racist text scandal. Second, there have been places that have hosted sideshows that have been fairly successful. But we did have the one…that ended on Cavallo. They’re still doing some and it seems to be controlled, so it’s working. I wish the fairgrounds would get involved with the racetrack but that’s not our jurisdiction.”

“I’m for this and I don’t have a problem with spectators,” Thorpe shared. “The police are doing a good job using cameras. I hear those concerns, but I think we should use all aspects.”

“It appears we have consensus,” Barbanica stated.

“There are a lot of things you can do to determine who is a spectator,” said City Attorney Thomas L. Smith. “But you guys can determine what is the right way to handle the bystander situation.”

the attachments to this post:

Sideshow causes traffic backup on Lone Tree Way 09-24-23 ADP

Police arrive at scene of sideshow 09-24-23 ADP

Police arrest one confiscate gun following sideshow 09-24-23 ADP

Ban on sideshow spectators 09-24-23 ADP

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