Archive for the ‘Cannabis’ Category

Antioch Council postpones tobacco product sales ban until Dec. 1, denies cannabis event at fairgrounds

Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

Examples of flavored tobacco products that are still allowed to be sold in Antioch until December 1. Source: Youth Tobacco Advocacy Policy Project presentation

Approves four cannabis business operating agreements, purchase of 11 police vehicles and receiving $2.2 million in state funds for rehab of Nick Rodriguez Center

By Allen D. Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, the Antioch City Council voted 3-1 to postpone a ban on sales of certain tobacco products until Dec. 1, with Mayor Lamar Thorpe voting no and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica absent. The council also approved operating agreements with four cannabis businesses and the purchase of 11 police vehicles in the 590-page agenda with 13 items including the Consent Calendar, which had its own 16 items. But the council denied approval of a cannabis event at the fairgrounds by CoCo Farms on a 2-1-1 vote.

Extends Grace Period for Ban on Sales of Certain Tobacco Products to Dec. 1

The tobacco products sales ban first went into effect on April 7. The council soon after faced a backlash from tobacco retailers in the city for both lack of notification and the ban, itself. The grace period will last until December 1, after a referendum on the statewide Nov. ballot can be voted on and decided. (See related article)

During public comments on the item, former Antioch Councilwoman Norma Hernandez, who along with her husband, Ralph, also a former council member, helped lead the effort on behalf of the tobacco retailers, thanked District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock for getting the matter reconsidered by the council.

The purpose of bringing this back, today was not to reconsider what we did, what we’re doing is extending the grace period,” Thorpe said. “I still support what we did. I was sympathetic and went and met with store owners. I was the one who brought it back. But I’m not going to change my position on what we did.”

He also spoke of the support by the tobacco industry for the coalition to repeal the statewide ban and the millions of dollars they’ve contributed to the effort.

“What we did was listen to our youth,” he continued. “Understand why we made the decision. I do support the grace period. But I am still where I’m at.”

“I do support the grace period,” Ogorchock stated, then made the motion to adopt it until Dec 1. After a long pause, District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker seconded it. The motion passed on a 3-1 with Thorpe voting against.

Approves All Consent Calendar Items

The council voted to approve all but one of the 16 items on the Consent Calendar on a 4-0 vote, except for Item F which Ogorchock asked to have removed for a separate vote. That item was the second reading for the creation of the Antioch Police Oversight Commission which passed on a 3-1 vote during the last meeting when Ogorchock was absent and Barbanica voted no. It again, passed on a 3-1 vote with Ogorchock voting no, this time.

The other 15 items included establishing a Military Use Equipment Policy in compliance with Assembly Bill 481; the purchase of 11 police vehicles at a cost not to exceed $523,141.10; extending the contract with the city’s public information officer for another six months at a total of $288,000; and authorizing the filing of a project grant application through the California Natural Resources Agency for $2.2 million for the rehabilitation of the Nick Rodriguez Community Center. According to the staff report on the item, “In July 2021, staff were informed that the project was approved and that a total of $2,200,000 was awarded for the project.”

The council also approved the minutes for their meetings on April 12, 19 and 26 and May 10.

Forms New City Department

The council voted 3-1-1 to form the new Public Safety and Community Resources Department, with Ogorchock voting no. It will take five existing services from other departments and add two new services. (See related articles here and here)

“Environmental justice…housing…youth services…violence prevention is about public safety,” Torres-Walker stated in support of her proposed, new department.

“I’m certainly not creating change…the voters created the change you’re seeing, today, “Thorpe added.

Approves Operating Agreements with Five Cannabis Businesses

The council approved operating agreements with five cannabis businesses in the city including Delta Family Pharms, Inc. at the same location as the Delta Dispensary on W. 10th Street and owned by the same operators.

Ralph Hernandez spoke against the cannabis businesses saying it is still illegal under federal law and that the city shouldn’t partner with businesses that operate against federal law. He also said marijuana is an entry drug and that many prisoners started out with marijuana.

Hernandez spoke of the negative side effects of marijuana use, including paranoia and schizophrenia.

“One joint is equal to 20 cigarettes,” he stated.

“You all took an oath to uphold the law, both state and federal, but here, the city is approving violating federal law,” Hernandez said. “It doesn’t make sense.”

Resident and local homeless advocate Andrew Becker spoke next, saying federal laws against marijuana allow the “incarceration of people for decades”.

“People can become addicted from MacDonald’s and end up as gamblers,” he stated. “It’s the system that breaks communities, not cannabis.”

“Let’s look at these opportunity programs that are coming from cannabis,” Becker added, referring to the city’s requirements that cannabis business donate a portion of their revenues to local non-profit organizations.

“I’m ecstatic that East County Justice Center is a beneficiary,” Ogorchock said. She also asked that the Bedford Center benefit from the business.

The council approved another cannabis business operating agreement for Delta Labs, owned by the same family, will be located at the same place but “in a different office, for manufacturing using non-volatile chemicals…taking the grown cannabis…and treating it for sale at a cannabis facility,” a city staff member stated.

Hernandez spoke again saying, ““I have personally seen the consequences of people using marijuana. They smoked marijuana, they get high, the crash vehicles. They do home invasion robberies.”

“This is not a candy…even though they put it in products to make it candy…brownies” he stated. “The consequences may not all be death or serious. I’ve seen the bodies I’ve seen the results. I have the photos that I took of people. I’ll show them to you if you want.”

“I don’t think you should approve it just so the city can get money from these people,” Hernandez added. “Don’t be sold by people who want to make money by giving you a carrot.”

Resident Brenda Barret said, “this is a drug culture country…and people are not going to stop getting high. So, government has taken a tack of if they’re going to get high, let’s make money off of it.”

“Maybe that money goes to pay our garbage bill,” she suggested. “If we’re going to get involved in drugs as a city, then everyone needs to benefit.”

“We’ve been doing this for three years, now,” Thorpe stated. “Councilwoman Wilson and I didn’t vote for Prop. 68 (which legalized recreational marijuana statewide). But we took the time to do our homework. When I saw the overwhelming support by Antioch voters, higher than the state…I think we came up with a good policy. It was based on listening to residents. We didn’t haphazardly get here. It was not about money.”

The council also approved operating agreements with KWMA Collective, located in the same building complex as Delta Dispensary but under different ownership and Bakery Antioch I, LLC located on W. 10th Street, to reflect the change in ownership from Cookies to Red Workshop.

Denies Approval of Cannabis Event at Fairgounds

On a surprise 2-1-1 vote, with Ogorchock voting no and Thorpe abstaining, the proposed cannabis event at the Contra Costa Event Center (fairgrounds) by CoCo Farms was denied. Thorpe had previously voted to move the proposed item forward and bring it back for a final vote which occurred Tuesday night. (See related article)

On Wednesday following the meeting, Thorpe was asked via email, “why did you vote to abstain on the cannabis event? Was it because you have invested in the CoCoFarms IPO? (The company is raising capitol through an initial public offering). If so, shouldn’t you have also recused yourself completely from the discussion, stepped down from the dais and left the council chambers during that agenda item? Or did CoCoFarms contribute to your anti-recall committee after March 31 and you were avoiding the appearance of a conflict of interest, even though there isn’t one legally for campaign contributions?” Thorpe’s anti-recall campaign committee Form 460 report doesn’t show a contribution from Contra Costa Farms, LLC, the legal name of the company.

Please check back later for the mayor’s responses or any other updates to this report.

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Antioch Council approves another marijuana business, then bans sales of certain tobacco products in city

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022

Site of the approved Natural Supplements Cannabis Facility on Wilbur Avenue in Antioch. Source: City of Antioch

Also, extends distance from, clarifies limits on new tobacco retailers

“This is ridiculous to tell adults what they can put in their bodies” – Councilman Barbanica

By Allen D. Payton

During their Tuesday meeting on Feb. 22, 2022, on a 4-1 vote the Antioch City Council approved another marijuana business, this one growing, manufacturing, selling and delivering cannabis supplements. The council then voted to clarify thir xisting ban on additional tobacco retail businesses on a 5-0 vote and on a 3-2 vote approved a ban on the sale of certain tobacco products in the city.

Approve Natural Cannabis Supplement Business

The additional marijuana business will include growing, manufacturing, selling and delivering cannabis supplements. According to the city staff report, “The applicant proposes to operate a cannabis operations facility consisting of a Type 10 ‘Retail Storefront and Delivery’, a Type 11 ‘Distributor’, a Type 7 ‘Manufacturer’ and a Type 3A ‘Medium Indoor Cultivation’ license located at 2100-2300 Wilbur Avenue” which is currently an undeveloped dirt lot. Natural Supplements Cannabis Facility ACC022222

District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock offered the lone opposition vote.

Extends Distance From, Clarifies Limits on New Tobacco Retailers

The council then voted unanimously to require new tobacco businesses to be at least 1,000 feet from schools and similar uses, such as public parks, playgrounds, recreational centers, or childcare centers. and clarified the city’s existing limits on new tobacco retailers in Antioch. Prior to the vote, the City’s municipal code required at least 500 feet between a business selling tobacco and a school or aforementioned uses. Distances & Limits on New Tobacco Retailers ACC022222

Ban Certain Tobacco Product Sales

In addition, on a 3-2 vote, with District 4 Councilman Barbanica and District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker voting against, the council approved a ban on certain types of tobacco products in the city. According to the city staff report, the council approved the “Ordinance Amending Section 6-8.02 of the Antioch Municipal Code to Add the Definitions of Characterizing Flavor, Cigar, and Little Cigar (including Cigarillo) and Amending Section 6- 8.14 Both to Restrict Tobacco Retailers or Businesses from Selling or Providing Tobacco with Characterizing Flavor, Selling or Providing Electronic Cigarettes or E-Cigarettes, and To Regulate the Size and Price of Specified Packages of Cigarettes, Little Cigars, and Cigars.” Ban on Certain Tobacco Product Sales ACC022222

The proposed amendment would: Add the definition of “characterizing flavor”

Prohibit the sale of tobacco or tobacco products with characterizing flavor

Prohibit a tobacco retailer or business from selling, offering for sale, possessing with the intent to sell, offer in exchange for any form of consideration, or provide at no cost any electronic cigarette or e-cigarette for use with tobacco or tobacco products

Add the definitions of “cigars” and “little cigars,” with the latter including cigarillos

Prohibit a tobacco retailer or business from selling, offering for sale, possessing with the intent to sell, offering in exchange for any form of consideration, or providing at no cost any package of fewer than twenty little cigars, any package of fewer than six cigars and any package of cigarettes, little cigars or cigars at a price that is less than ten dollars per package, including applicable fees and taxes.

Speakers During Public Comments Opposed to Ban

Local retailers and an industry representative spoke against the ban encouraging the council instead wait for a vote on a statewide measure planned for the November ballot, so that there would be a level playing field should it pass.

Before the council vote, in opposing the ban Barbanica said, “it’s ridiculous to tell adults what they can put in their bodies.”

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Antioch Council directs staff to work on ordinance to allow cannabis events

Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

The red highlighted area is the location of the Contra Costa Event Park (fairgrounds).

First one proposed for this summer at fairgrounds

“I know it will make Antioch a destination place” – Councilwoman Torres-Walker

By Allen Payton

During their meeting Tuesday night, a majority of the Antioch City Council members supported creating an ordinance to allow cannabis events in the city, including at the Contra Costa Event Park (county fairgrounds), in response to an application by CoCo Farms. They have a permit from the state to hold 10 events per year.

“This process came out of a need to answer that we can’t say no or yes to,” Mayor Lamar Thorpe explained. “This came as a result of a request of the state.”

During public comments J.R. Wilson said he was speaking on behalf of the Delta Veterans Group “in support…to allow temporary cannabis events.”

Longtime Antioch resident Tom Menasco also spoke in favor of the proposal.

“I would like to support and encourage you to do whatever it takes,” he said, mentioning benefits to the community, “Specifically taxation.”

“These are going to be money-making events,” Menasco stated. “In addition to that, non-profits will benefit from, when they do produce revenue, we will benefit. If we miss this opportunity Concord or someone else will take advantage of this.”

“It was our application to the state,” said Martin Wesley of CoCo Farms. “We’ve worked with the fairgrounds. It’s additional tax revenue and will bring additional people into Antioch. Security will be top of mind.”

“We have a state license to have 10 of these a year and we thought Antioch should be our first,” he added.

District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson asked, “Can this go to the cannabis committee so we can properly vet this?”

Thorpe spoke of a timetable.

“For the future, we have a committee,” District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson pointed out.

“I know I support this. I support process, period,” said District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker. “I know it will make Antioch a destination place. We’re constantly talking about how to get more revenue and get more people to Antioch as a destination.”

“It’s not saying we’re opening the floodgates, and it will be a yes or no,” Barbanica said. “If it is a yes, then.

“What is the timeline,” Ogorchock said.

“I believe the applicant’s event is coming up,” City Attorney Thomas L. Smith said.

“420” people in the audience could be heard saying.

“The week of 420 (April 20th) is out of the cards, to do it right,” Wesley said. “The earliest we could do this is July or August.”

“We just did one in Santa Rosa and they sold 50,000 tickets,” he added.

“There’s time to go back to the Cannabis Committee,” Wilson said. “So, I ask that it go back.”

“City Attorney, there’s no time in the process?” she asked.

“I didn’t say that,” Smith responded. “Whatever the council directs.”

“It’s a discussion item. Did you get direction?” Thorpe asked Smith.

“I believe I have direction,” Smith responded.

“So, we can make the July timeframe,” Thorpe added.

Questions for City Attorney

Questions were sent Wednesday morning to City Attorney Smith asking, if the council is required to approve a cannabis event in the city and/or at the Contra Costa Event Park (fairgrounds). In addition, since Prop. 64 which legalizes recreational marijuana use in California gives councils the authority to deny any and all cannabis businesses in their city, he was asked if that also applies to cannabis events, as they would be commercial activities, with ticket sales and on-site cannabis sales.

According to the Local Government Reference Guide to Prop. 64, under “Land Use: Proposition 64 includes multiple local-control provisions that respect local government police powers to: ban commercial cannabis activity, and regulate businesses through local zoning and land-use requirements, and/or business license requirements within their respective jurisdiction by ordinance. However, no local jurisdiction may ban: the consumption of cannabis within its jurisdiction, the allowance of up to six plants for personal use, or the transportation of cannabis through the jurisdiction.”

Finally, Smith was asked if the state Department of Cannabis Control authorize a temporary cannabis event within the city, such as at a park, even if the council opposed it.

Please check back later for updates to this report.

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Antioch Council to discuss allowing marijuana events at fairgrounds, parks Tuesday night

Monday, January 10th, 2022

Hundreds gather at a “420” pot smoking event in San Francisco. Photo from Facebook.

Torres-Walker’s idea may now be allowed in the city; would also allow retail sales at the events by licensed Antioch cannabis businesses

By Allen Payton

A passing comment by Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker during a recent council meeting to use the proposed Rivertown Center at the former Antioch Lumber Company site in downtown for a pot smoking event, has turned into an actual proposed change to the City’s municipal code to allow them.

During their meeting Tuesday night, Jan. 11, 2022, according to the staff report on agenda item 10, the Antioch City Council will “discuss amending the Antioch Municipal Code to add Section 9-5.3848 regarding temporary cannabis events on public property and provide direction to staff”. It would allow events like the one held in San Francisco every year on April 20th. 420 is another term for marijuana.

It “may generate increased revenue by allowing limited temporary cannabis events linked with retail sales by Antioch licensed cannabis businesses,” the staff report explains.

“One possible location for a temporary cannabis event is the Contra Costa County Fair (the “County Fair”), which is a District Agricultural Association site that holds fairs, expositions, and exhibitions to highlight various industries, enterprises, resources, and products of the state. The City could also approve other locations for an event to be held,” the staff report continues.

“The state Department of Cannabis Control (“Department”) has the discretion to authorize a temporary cannabis event. Only the holder of a temporary cannabis event license issued by the Department may hold a temporary cannabis event, which is subject to additional restrictions as a Type 14 cannabis license holder. Restrictions on a temporary cannabis event include limited duration and hours, Department approval of security, prohibition on sales of tobacco or alcohol at the event, restrictions on storage and marking of cannabis, track-and-trace regulations, and exclusion of minors.

Although the City may not have land use control over the County Fair, the Department of Cannabis Control requires approval by the applicable city or county for an event to be held on that type of public property.”

Attend or View Council Meeting

The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. and will be held in-person in the Council Chambers at 200 H Street and are televised live on Comcast channel 24, AT&T U-verse channel 99, or live stream at www.antiochca.gov/government/city-council-meetings.

Public Comments

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

  1. Fill out an online speaker card by 3:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting located at: https://www.antiochca.gov/speaker_card.
  2. Provide oral public comments during the meeting by clicking the following link to register in advance to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar: https://www.antiochca.gov/speakers

– 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: https://www.antiochca.gov/raise_hand. 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.

  1. Email comments to cityclerk@ci.antioch.ca.us by 3:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting. The comment will be read into the record at the meeting (350 words maximum, up to 3 minutes, at the discretion of the mayor). IMPORTANT: Identify the agenda item in the subject line of your email if the comment is for Announcement of Community Events, Public Comment, or a specific agenda item number. No one may speak more than once on an agenda item or during “Public Comments”.

All emails received by 3:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting will be entered into the record or the meeting. Speakers will be notified shortly before they are called to speak.

 

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Antioch Council extends redistricting process one month, approves another cannabis business, $285K for 15 homeless at Pittsburg site

Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

Outgoing City Manager Ron Bernal with his wife, Irma (center) was honored by city council members, city clerk and city treasurer during his final council meeting in the position, Tuesday night Dec. 14, 2021. Photo by Kathy Cabrera

Appoints Barbanica the next mayor pro tem; honors outgoing city manager Ron Bernal; spends $60,000 on Chinatown history exhibit at Antioch Historical Society Museum; approves $145,000 for Antioch’s Sesquicentennial Celebration; approves minutes for past five meetings

Torres-Walker again doesn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, keeps her back to the American flag; Thorpe says Con Johnson started as interim city manager on Monday without any announcement he’s passed the background check

By Allen Payton

Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker won’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance during the city council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2021. Photo by Kathy Cabrera.

In response to the urging by members of the public and city council for more time for additional public comment and input, the Antioch City Council voted 3-0-1 to extend their redistricting process by one month until the end of February. During the very full agenda, for their final meeting of the year, the council also approved another cannabis business on W. 10th Street, spending about $285,000 to place 15 Antioch homeless residents in the soon to reopen Delta Landing site in Pittsburg, and $60,000 for a Chinatown exhibit inside the Antioch Historical Society Museum on W. 4th Street. In addition, the council voted to grant $145,000 to the Celebrate Antioch Foundation for next year’s Sesquicentennial celebration of Antioch’s 150th anniversary of cityhood.

In addition, the council honored outgoing City Manager Ron Bernal with a presentation for his five years in the position and 26 years total with the City of Antioch.

At the beginning of the meeting, District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker again remained seated, with her back to the American flag during the Pledge of Allegiance.

Approve Minutes for Past Five Meetings

During the consent calendar, the council then approved the minutes from their regular and special meetings of Oct. 26, Nov. 2, Nov. 9, Nov. 16 and Nov. 23. At the meeting on Nov. 23 the council voted to postpone the approval of the minutes from the first four aforementioned meetings because they had not yet been prepared by the city clerk’s office. Minutes of the previous meeting are supposed to be prepared and included in the next meeting’s agenda. As of Wednesday evening, Dec. 15 the minutes for meetings since June 22 through Oct. 16 were finally on the council’s Agendas and Minutes page on the City’s website and the agenda for last night’s meeting is now on that page, although it wasn’t there as of yesterday, before the meeting began. The public was directed to the City’s calendar page to find them. (See related editorial)

Redistricting Presentation of 8 Alternative Maps, Process Extended

In response to a question by District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica about the redistricting deadline, Jane Hood of consultant Q2 Data and Research, who provided the presentation during the third of four scheduled public hearings, Tuesday night, the council has until April 17 to choose a final map of new district boundaries. The schedule was to conclude with a final vote on January 25 but both Barbanica and District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock agreed with those who spoke during public comments that residents and the council needed more time. Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson was absent for the presentation and District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker who made no comments during the discussion voted to abstain on the motion to extend the process, without explanation.

All eight maps were presented to the council, including the three created by Q2 staff and the five submitted by the public. (See related article)

Two members of the public urged the council to approve Map B. Ogorchock, who expressed her displeasure with that option, asked Hood to make some changes to Map C between Districts 3 and 4 on the east end of Antioch north of Lone Tree Way. But the modifications resulted in District 3 having too high of a population percentage deviation greater than 5% from average, which is the legal limit, and District 4 with too small of a population, also greater than the 5% deviation from average. So, Ogorchock abandoned the effort.

Thorpe said all eight maps would be brought back for consideration at the next public hearing on redistricting on January 11.

Unanimously Approve Cannabis Cultivation Facility

The council, on a 5-0 vote, approved the application by KWMA Collective, LLC to operate a cannabis cultivation facility at 2101 W. 10th Street in the same building that houses both the Delta Dispensary and the recently approved Delta Labs. (See related articleKWMA Collective cannabis biz ACC121421

Approve Funds for Transitional Housing for 15 Antioch Unhoused Residents

The council on a 5-0 vote also approved spending $284,700 to place 15 unhoused Antioch residents at the new Delta Landing Interim Housing site in Pittsburg, which is estimated to re-open its doors within 30 days. The action was in response to the recommendation by the Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Unhoused Residents made up of Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Councilman Barbanica, earlier this month. (See related article)

According to the City staff report the funds will be spent “for a duration of 12 months; to be drawn from the current General Fund budget balance of previously earmarked funds to address unhoused resident needs.”

In addition, the staff report explains, “As part of ongoing dialogue between the City and County, a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) has been developed that provides access to City initiated, CORE (the county’s Coordinated Outreach Referral, Engagement program) approved referrals for a maximum of 15 bed nights at any one time over a period of one year. The cost to the City is $52/night when City referrals are placed and beds are utilized. Wrap around support services include benefit assistance, medical services, behavioral health services, as well as case management, housing navigation and rapid rehousing assistance.”

“The timing for securing potential space through a formal agreement is immediate should the City wish to exercise bed options upon facility re-opening,” the staff report continues. “It is a rare and unique window to have access to a total of 15 new City referred, CORE approved placements at one time.”

Barbanica moved approval of the expenditure and MOU and it was approved on a 5-0 vote.

Approves $145,000 for Antioch’s Sesquicentennial Celebration

During the consent calendar, the council approved spending $145,000 for the Celebrate Antioch Foundation to put on events for next year’s Sesquicentennial celebration of Antioch’s 150th anniversary of cityhood. According to the City staff report, the Celebrate Antioch Foundation is also committing to raising $56,500 to be used toward Sesquicentennial Events. A variety of events and activities are planned throughout the community, beginning on Feb. 6 the day the City was incorporated in 1872.  Sesquicentennial CAF Budget ACC121421

Council Spends $60,000 on Chinatown Historical Exhibit

Earlier in the meeting, the council, on a 5-0 vote, agreed to spend $60,000 on a contract with the same San Francisco-based firm that developed the new City logo, ad campaign “Opportunity Lives Here” and the Rivertown Dining District logo, to create a new Chinatown exhibit inside the Antioch Historical Society Museum. Antioch’s Chinatown was burned down in 1876. In June, during the signing ceremony by the council of a resolution apologizing for that tragedy and the racism against Chinese immigrants in the late 1800’s, the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA) Foundation agreed to donate $10,000 for the exhibit. (See related article)

Appoints Barbanica City’s New Mayor Pro Tem

During the 15th and final agenda item of the council meeting, City Attorney Thomas Lloyd Smith said, “According to the ordinance in our municipal code passed by city council, we have a rotation of the guard. It’s more of a formality because it’s already outlined in the municipal code.” (See related article)

Without discussion or public comment Ogorchock made the motion “to appoint Mike Barbanica as our next mayor pro tem”. Torre-Walker seconded the motion. It passed on a 5-0 vote.

“Are you ready for this? You may have to call a press conference from time to time, visit a crime scene,” Mayor Lamar Thorpe joked.

Barbanica replaces Wilson in the position who held it this year, having gained the highest percentage of votes of all four council members in last November’s election. The councilman garnered the second highest percentage of votes.

Bernal Offers Farewell

City Manager Ron Bernal will retire at the end of the month, briefly said at the end of his final meeting in the position, “I wanted to thank the council…for the past five years. It’s been a privilege and an honor.”

Thorpe Announces Interim City Manager Started Monday

“Welcome to our interim city manager who started on Monday, Mr. Con Johnson,” Thorpe added, then wished everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

No announcement had yet been offered by either the mayor or city staff that Johnson had successfully passed his background check. Questions were emailed Wednesday morning to the mayor, council members, and city staff asking about that. No response was received as of late Wednesday night.

The next regular Antioch City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022.

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Antioch Council approves another cannabis business, votes down committee for city manager recruitment

Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

Delta Labs site on W. 10th Street. From presentation during Antioch City Council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021

Thorpe nominates Barbanica, Ogorchock to city manager recruitment ad hoc committee then votes against appointing them

Agree to settle employment discrimination lawsuit by former female Antioch cop against police department on 4-1 vote

Extend contract for city Public Information Officer at $8,000 per month for another six months

By Allen Payton

During their meeting Tuesday night, Nov. 23, 2021, the Antioch Council approved another cannabis business, one that processes marijuana through a cold-water extraction, on a unanimous vote, approved settling a former female cop’s employment discrimination lawsuit against the police department on a split vote, and fails to form an ad hoc committee for the hiring of a new city manager on another split vote. They also voted unanimously to extend the city’s PIO contract for another six months.

Before the regular meeting began, following the council’s closed session, City Attorney Thomas Lloyd Smith reported out regarding the lawsuit of Blanco v. City of Antioch, United States District Court Northern District of California, Case No. 3:20-cv-02764-TSH. The city council decided to settle the case, with Barbanica voting no, Smith said.

On April 21, 2020, former Antioch Police Officer Brittney Blanco filed a Civil Rights Employment Discrimination lawsuit against the police department. The case was filed in U.S. District Court, California Northern District. Blanco served on the force from July 2017 until August 2019. No word was given regarding the details of the settlement.

Extend $8K Monthly PIO Contract

During the Consent Calendar, the council voted unanimously to extend the contract for the City’s public information officer, Rolando Bonilla, of San Francisco-based Voler Strategic Advisors at $8,000 per month for another six months, through May 15, 2022. The total contract is not to exceed $256,000. Bonilla has been the City’s PIO since fall 2019. PIO Contract Extension ACC112321

Public Comments Now In-Person, Still Online and By Phone

At the start of the regular meeting, Mayor Lamar Thorpe stated that public comments from those in attendance at the council meetings would be heard first, followed by those who submitted their comments online or call in.

Delta Labs floorplan. From Antioch City Council meeting Nov. 23, 2021.

Unanimously Approve Another Cannabis Business

Delta Labs owner Rick Oak speaks about his business during the council meeting.

The council then held a public hearing on another cannabis business. According to City staff, “Delta Lab is proposing a cannabis operations facility with non-volatile extraction” manufacturing. It will be located in the same building where the same family owns Delta Dispensary on W. 10th Street. Delta Labs – city staff report ACC112321

The applicant, Rick Oak, along with his two sons, Dustin and Richard, spoke about their project which is “a cold-water extraction facility and family owned.” He showed a floorplan of the project and explained the product is dropped off process using small washing-type machines using ice to “knock off the hash from the product”. Then it’s stored in refrigerators until sold and picked up by truck.

District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock was the only member to ask a question about security.

“There’s a guard in our lobby in the dispensary,” Oak said.

With no one from the public speaking against the project, the council approved it on a 5-0 vote.

City Manager Recruitment Ad Hoc Committee

The council then considered forming an ad hoc committee on the recruitment of a permanent city manager.

“I think we have too much going on, right now,”said Wilson. “I think we should hold off until after the new year.”

Ogorchock volunteered to be on the ad hoc committee and Barbanica volunteered, too.

Thorpe then offered them as his nominees to the ad hoc committee.

Ogorchock made the motion and Barbanica seconded it, to approve the formation of the ad hoc committee, the appointment of the two council members, and a termination date of seven months.

“I’m looking at an estimated timeframe of April 30, 2022,” said Administrative Services Director Nickie Mastay.

The motion then failed on a 2-3 vote with Thorpe, Wilson and District 1 Councilwoman Torres-Walker voting no.

“Since that didn’t pass, it will come back, later,” Thorpe said.

 

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Antioch Council to consider redistricting, two more cannabis business areas Tuesday

Monday, October 11th, 2021

Current Antioch City Council districts approved in 2018 and population deviations from average based on 2020 Census data. Source: Q2 Data & Research presentation.

Antioch population grows from 102,372 in 2010 to 115,580 in 2020

By Allen Payton

During their meeting, Tuesday night, Oct. 12, 2021, the Antioch City Council will consider approving two more areas for cannabis business overlay districts, including historic, downtown Rivertown and the Somersville Road area. If approved only retail cannabis businesses would be allowed in the new areas. The regular meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. Cannabis Business Areas ACC101221

In addition, during a special meeting/study session at 5:30 p.m., the council will consider and discuss the criteria, data and process for redrawing the four council districts based on the 2020 Census population figures. The current districts are based on the 2010 Census. Since then, the city has grown from a population of 102,372 to 115,580. That results in the ideal population of 28,895 residents per district with a +/-5% allowed deviation or +/-1,545 people per district. Council Redistricting Study Session ACC101221

The City has hired the same consultant, Karin Mac Donald of Q2 Data & Research who assisted with the 2018 council district formation, as well as the state’s redistricting processes in both 2011 and this year.

Viewing

Members of the public can watch the meeting at https://www.antiochca.gov/live_stream, on Comcast Channel 24, or AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.

Public Comments

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

  1. Fill out an online speaker card by 3:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting located at: https://www.antiochca.gov/speaker_card.
  1. Provide oral public comments during the meeting by clicking the following link to register in advance to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar: https://www.antiochca.gov/speakers

– 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: https://www.antiochca.gov/raise_hand. 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.

  1. Email comments to cityclerk@ci.antioch.ca.us by 3:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting. The comment will be read into the record at the meeting (350 words maximum, up to 3 minutes, at the discretion of the Mayor). IMPORTANT: Identify the agenda item in the subject line of your email if the comment is for Announcement of Community Events, Public Comment, or a specific Agenda Item number. No one may speak more than once on an agenda item or during “Public Comments”.

All emails received by 3:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting will be entered into the record

for the meeting.

Speakers will be notified shortly before they are called to speak.

 

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Supervisors reverse Planning Commission decision on East Contra Costa cannabis micro plant farm

Thursday, March 25th, 2021

Diablo Valley Farms indoor cannabis cultivation site plan.

Bay Point Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Project moves forward

Honor Deer Valley High student, other winners of annual Poetry Out Loud competition

Closeup view of greenhouses.

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to permit longtime Brentwood grower Bob Nunn and land planner Lisa Borba, who also serves as a Contra Costa Water District commissioner, to proceed and develop two 10,000 square foot indoor cannabis cultivation greenhouses at 4425 Sellers Avenue over the objections of residents. DVF Business Proposal

According to the conditions of approval for the project, the use “permit is for the commercial cultivation of cannabis micro plants only” and “no mature cannabis plants are permitted on the site at any time.” DVF Findings & Modified COAs 03152021

The supervisors’ action reverses a January 27th county planning commission decision that had negated an earlier approval of the proposed cannabis development in Eastern Contra Costa County that had proposed only one 10,000 square foot greenhouse.

During the hearing, supervisors listened to six unidentified speakers oppose the proposed Diablo Valley Farms project on grounds it is nearby a youth center and it will breed crime, noise and odor problems into the environment.

In a Feb. 8th letter from attorney Shawn J. Zovod, the developers Robert Nunn and Borba, and addressed to Contra Costa County Planner Joseph Lawlor, Zovod wrote: DVF SZovod Appeal Letter 02082021 SZovod 030521 Letter to JLawlor Project Planner

“The owner of DVF, Robert Nunn, and the applicant, Lisa Borba (collectively “Applicant”) appeals the CPC decision on the following grounds:

  1. The CPC decision to deny the Permit was based on an erroneous finding that Sunset Park is a “youth center.” This finding is not supported by the evidence and provides grounds for appeal under Code Section 26-2.2404c (3) Sunset Park is a park and is not a youth center within the meaning of the Cannabis Regulation and Section 11353.1 of the California Health and Safety Code…The CPC’s finding that Sunset Park is a “youth center” and thereby a Protected Use is not satisfied by evidence and is a gross misinterpretation of the Cannabis Regulation.
  2. “…. Denial of the permit based on an inaccurate and inconsistently applied reading of the requirements of the Cannabis Regulation is denial of equal protection. The CBO cannot turn its back on the laws that it adopted after years of careful consideration. Appellant has invested significant time and tens of thousands of dollars in reliance on the county’s application of its standards on a fair and equitable basis.

Appellant requests the Board of Supervisors uphold this appeal of the CPS, reinstate the Permit as approved by the Zoning Administrator, and decline to add any additional conditions requested by the City of Brentwood to the Permit.”

While supervisors heard from six unidentified Brentwood residents about concerns that the proposed Diablo Valley Farms project will produce crime, odor and noise, Brentwood Police Chief Tom Hansen said the proposed development will bring more “serious crime” to the city and his “officers will be in grave danger.” The police chief recommended that supervisors keep the county planning commission’s January decision intact.

Board Chair Diane Burgis of Brentwood turned the table when she recommended that supervisors reverse the county planning commission’s January action and to approve the Nunn/Borba project.

“They have made it clear there will be no plants of value,” said Burgis. “There will be security. There will be no cash on site. The permit will be valid for five years.”

Supervisors approved the permit on a 5-0 vote.

Approve Engineering Contract for Bay Point Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Project

Supervisors approved a $590,000 contract with MNS Engineers, Inc. to provide consulting services with the county Public Works Department for construction management services for the Bailey Road/State Route 4 Interchange Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Project for the period March 23, 2021 to June 30, 2022 in the Bay Point area.

The project consists of constructing a retaining wall, widening the State Route 4 westbound diagonal off-ramp, installation and modification of traffic signals, removal of the SR4 westbound loop off-ramp, storm drain modifications, and installation of sidewalk along Bailey Road.

Funding for the project is from the Active Transportation Program (ATP), Bay Point Area of Benefit, Navy Mitigation Funds, Contra Costa County Measure J transportation half-cent sales tax, and the state gas tax.

Recognize 2021 Poetry Out Loud Winners

Supervisors passed a resolution honoring Pinole Valley High School Senior Jermaine Gitana who won first place honors in the Contra Costa County Poetry Out Loud 2021 Competition. Gitana topped second place winner Esmeralda Noyola, a junior at Antioch’s Deer Valley High School, and third place winner Tessa Brubaker, a junior at San Ramon High School in Danville. (See related article)

Initiated by the National Endowment for the Arts and run by the California Arts Council in the state and locally by the Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County, the program, now in its 14th year, engages high school students in the presentation of poetry through memorization and performance.

Almost 1,000 viewers watched the students’ recitations that were viewed at the Virtual Screening and Awards Ceremony Facebook Live event.

Recognize Melody Hung-Fan and Eric Moe for Years of County Service

Supervisors passed two resolutions recognizing the years of service for Melody Hung-Fan, director of the Contra Costa County Public Health Laboratory, and Eric H. Moe, a 35-year Contra Costa County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office expert in automation and streamlining workflow of default-tax procedures.

Ms. Hung started her career at CCCPH in 1988 as a public health microbiologist and rose through the ranks to become director of the Public Health Laboratory in January 2013 where she has spent the last eight years planning, evaluating, organizing, and directing all activities and staff of the CCCPH.

She became a licensed Public Health Microbiologist (PHM) through the California Department of Public Health in July of 1988 after receiving a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Services and a Master of Public Health, both from the University of California at Berkeley.

Ms. Hung has been recognized for her background in research through the publication of various abstracts and journal articles, the most recent including articles published by the American Society for Microbiology, entitled: “A Population-Based Surveillance Study of Shared Genotypes of Escherichia coli Isolates from Retail Meat and Suspected Cases of Urinary Tract Infections.”

Her work has been credited in all phases of creating, running, and evaluating testing procedures for a variety of public health issues including HIV, West Nile virus, Zika virus, Influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and other diseases.

Moe is retiring from a long career in the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Officer where he became an expert in defaulted=tax collections, bankruptcy claims, and the annual sale of properties subject to the Tax Collectors Power to Sell. He began his career with the county in 1986 as a Clerk-Beginner. He rose up the ranks and his major accomplishment include automating and streamlining workflow of default-tax procedures to more accurately and expeditiously address and manage the many accounts that transfer to the Redemption or delinquent Secured tax roll annually, and the documenting and re-organizing of standard operating procedures of the tax-default program into a comprehensive electronic manual.  Moe has also been helpful in assisting the California State Controller’s Office with review and feedback to the “Annual Pre-Notice Guide”, the “Review and Taxation Code,” and “The County Tax Collectors’ Reference Manual.”

County Awards Contract to Labor Attorney Kramer

Supervisors awarded a contract with labor attorney Karen Kramer, who is not related to Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer, for workplace investigation and workplace legal advice.  Ms. Kramer specializes in employment law and litigation. She will be of assistance to the County Counsel in the county’s workplace investigations.

Kramer Workplace Investigations will bill the county at an hourly rate of $325 for legal and investigatory services and $400 per hour for testimony.

She is not related to Assessor Kramer, who last November had misconduct charges dropped against him by Superior Court Judge John Cope for accusations of making sexual comments to employees and at least one ethnic slur to a co-worker.

Approve Property Cleanup Cases in Oakley, Martinez and El Sobrante

Supervisors approved three abatement cases. No public speakers were heard on the cases.

The biggest case totaling $38,056.20 was charged to the owners of 2600 Dutch Slough Road in Oakley. The residential property is jointly owned by Darlene Joy Gargulia, Nguyen Ha and Long Hoang Le.

Another residential abatement action costing $4,306.70 occurred at 5321 Alhambra Valley Road in Martinez.  The property is owned by Carol M. Gainey.

Supervisors approved abatement action totaling $4,296.70 at 3870 Valley Lane in El Sobrante. Greg Fremont Livermore is owner of the property.

 

 

 

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