Archive for the ‘Cannabis’ Category

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 a 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

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:
  2. Provide oral public comments during the meeting by clicking the following link to register in advance to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar:

– 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: 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 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.


Members of the public can watch the meeting at, 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:
  1. Provide oral public comments during the meeting by clicking the following link to register in advance to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar:

– 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: 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 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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Antioch Council approves temporary moratorium on cannabis business applications

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

Council Code of Conduct, how $500,000+ for homeless was spent to be discussed at special meeting Feb. 16

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 the Antioch City Council unanimously approved a 45-day moratorium on additional cannabis business applications and voted to include Sand Creek Road in the list of roads that qualify for regional fee funding for construction. They also approved a resolution recognizing February as Black History Month. (See resolution at end of article)

CORRECTION: Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock asked why Mayor Lamar Thorpe was nominating two residents for appointment to the two, full-term seats on the Sales Tax Citizens Oversight Committee, before the application period had closed. The slightly heated exchange included City Clerk Ellie Householder interjecting that “we are trying to fill the seats since they have a report due in April.” Ogorchock also wanted to know why not all the applications were being provided to all council members. Thorpe said Ogorchock was out of order and explained that the application period for the short-term vacancy was still open, but that the application period for the two, full-term seats had closed and that as an elected mayor he had the authority to bring forward just those applicants he chose to nominate to boards, commissions and committees. Ogorchock pointed out that it requires a vote of the council to approve. Thorpe further explained that if the council didn’t vote for one of his nominees he would have to nominate someone else.

Following the brief dust up, both nominees were approved on 5-0 votes.

Approves Moratorium on Cannabis Business Applications

The council also approved a temporary moratorium on accepting additional applications for cannabis businesses.

The intent of the moratorium is to reduce the threat of oversaturation of cannabis businesses in the “green zone” and would be in effect for 45 days, according to City Attorney Thomas Smith. The council can extend the moratorium for up to two years, after that.

“I asked this to be brought forward,” said Mayor Lamar Thorpe. “Oversaturation is a huge issue.”
He didn’t want more applications to come through while the council’s Cannabis Committee and staff studied other options, including “creation of additional cannabis business overlay districts within the City,” according to the city staff report.

Two speakers spoke against it, both representing another cannabis business, Element 7. Christopher Bloom and his associate both suggested the council allow businesses that have already submitted applications, but not allow new applications. They said they had already been working with the city for a year on their application.

“This does not impact current applications,” said Thorpe.

“What this does is, it allows applications that have been deemed complete to move forward,” Smith said. “If we decide to allow applications in progress that are not deemed to be complete, we can tweak the language. It sounds like there are some other folks who are in the pipeline…you can make the adjustment in the motion.”

“They are close to completing their application,” Community Development Director Forrest Ebbs said referring to Element 7.

“I think that’s fair, those applications that have been received by this date,” Ebbs said, responding to Thomas.

“Received and in progress,” Thorpe reiterated.

“What constitutes an urgency item? Why is this an urgency item?” asked Ogorchock.

“There could not only be a threat to viability of those businesses during the COVID pandemic,” Thomas replied. “But also impact the social equity non-profits. If you feel this is a threat to the economic welfare to the Antioch community then you can vote in favor.”

“Have we had businesses in the community, during COVID that have been reporting they are struggling?” Councilman Mike Barbanica asked. “There are three other areas in the city that we are considering turning into green zones.”

“Remember it’s not just the businesses that are already approved, but the additional businesses and their social equity commitments,” Thomas said.

“As the Cannabis Committee is working on their recommendations…we pause, because in our current locations we are going to see saturation,” Thorpe explained. “There are no other places in the green zone. So, it’s just a pause as the Cannabis Committee looks to other areas. There may not be other areas.”

“This would only affect retail,” Barbanica clarified.

“Not manufacturing, not cultivation or research and development,” Thorpe explained.

Asked by Ogorchock if there was a maximum number of cannabis businesses allowed in the overlay district, Ebbs responded, “We don’t have a maximum number we have a separation requirement. That’s when we’ll max out. We’re getting close.”

“Practically speaking, yes” there is a limit. “We draw a 600-foot radius,” he explained.

“But that’s not preventing an applicant submitting a General Plan amendment,” said Thorpe.

“Correct,” Ebbs responded.

On motion by Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson and seconded by Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker, the urgency ordinance was unanimously approved by the council.

Vote to Include Sand Creek Road in Regional Funding Program

In other action, the council voted 5-0 to include Sand Creek Road between Highway 4 and Deer Valley Road in the East Contra Costa Regional Fee & Financing Authority projects list for funding. The Board of Supervisor and City Councils of Oakley and Brentwood will also have the opportunity to vote on the matter. Should at least two of the other agencies approve, the road will be qualified to receive regional funds from fees placed on new construction, including residential, commercial and industrial development.

Future Agenda Items – How Were Homeless Funds Spent?

During the future agenda items section of the meeting, Barbanica said, “It has come to my attention, last week, that in 2019 the council approved about $500,000 of which about $150,000 of that has not been spent.”

He asked city staff bring back a report on how the money was spent.

“We’re going to learn about that on our committee meeting and we’ll have an item on homelessness coming before us soon, in February,” Thorpe responded.

Staff pointed out that the council will be having a special meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m.

“We’ll be reviewing those items, then,” he stated.

“We’ll be reviewing the Code of Conduct on Feb. 16th,” Thorpe added. “That’s the only thing Councilwoman Ogorchock mentioned,” referring to her request for action on Councilwoman Torres-Walker’s video at the end of the last council meeting, and comments by members of the public challenging the mayor why it hadn’t yet been placed on the council agenda.

Other Future Meetings

The council will hold their Bridging the Gap, Dialogue 2 on the topic Racial Disparities in Policing on Saturday, Feb. 6 from 10:00-11:30 a.m and the deadline to sign up to participate is Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 12:00 p.m. The final forum, Dialogue 3 on the topic Police – Community Engagement will be held on Thursday, Feb. 18 also from 10:00-11:30 a.m. and the deadline to sign up is Monday, Feb. 15 at 12:00 p.m.

In addition, on Friday, Feb. 12 at 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 13 at 9:00 a.m., the council will hold a Virtual Strategic Planning and Visioning Workshop.

The next regular council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 7:00 p.m.

WHEREAS, Black History Month is observed in February of every year;
WHEREAS, the origins of Black History Month can be traced to 1915, half a century
after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States;
WHEREAS, the Black History Month 2021 theme, “Black Family: Representation,
Identity and Diversity” explores the African diaspora, and the geographic
spread of Black families across the United States;
WHEREAS, the achievements of African Americans in the Arts, Civil Rights, Education,
Entertainment, Government, History, Law, Literature, Medicine, Military,
Music, Politics, Science, Sports, and other endeavors are recognized
and celebrated in the month of February;
WHEREAS, the observance of Black History Month calls our attention to the ongoing
need to build a community and society that lives up to our
collective democratic ideals;
WHEREAS, the City of Antioch continues to work toward becoming an inclusive community
in which all residents — past, present, and future — are respected and recognized
for their contributions and potential contributions to our community,
the state, the country, and the world; and
WHEREAS, the City of Antioch is proud to honor the history and contributions of African
Americans in our community, throughout our state, and nation.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, LAMAR THORPE, Mayor of the City of Antioch,
do hereby proclaim February 2021 to be “Black History Month” and encourage all citizens
to celebrate our diverse heritage and culture, and continue our efforts to create a
world that is more just, peaceful, and prosperous for all.
JANUARY 26, 2021


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Thorpe admits to misleading email attack on Wright’s votes while attempting to tie him to President Trump

Saturday, October 17th, 2020

Councilman Lamar Thorpe and Mayor Sean Wright continue their campaign battle.

Claims Wright is “out of touch”…“with Antioch’s values” because of positions on issues his political party has taken, not him; Thorpe admits one attack was incomplete, referring to it as “A small error…”

By Allen Payton

During the continued battle for votes , in an email sent out on Saturday, October 10, Antioch Councilman Lamar Thorpe, a candidate for mayor, attacked Mayor Sean Wright giving misleading statements about two of Wright’s votes on the council, and injected more partisan politics into the race for the non-partisan position.

Following is the portion of Thorpe’s email that includes the attacks on Wright.

Date: October 10, 2020 at 7:39:46 AM PDT

Subject: WOW! Republican Endorsements…
Reply-To: Lamar Thorpe for Mayor! <>

At the bottom of Thorpe’s email it reads, Paid for by Lamar Thorpe, Antioch Mayor 2020  FPPC: 1432877

Thorpe’s email refers to a postcard Wright’s campaign mailed to Democrat voters in Antioch the previous week with endorsements by local, registered Democrats with the words, “Mayor Sean Wright Shares OUR VALUES”.

Front of Wright’s campaign postcard mailed to Democrat voters in Antioch. Photos provided by an Antioch resident who chose to remain anonymous.

Inside of Wright’s postcard mailed to Democrat voters in Antioch.

Thorpe’s email reads about Wright, “WOW!!! Last week TRUMP REPUBLICAN candidates like my opponent Mayor Sean Wright wanted you to believe they were Democrats. They are not. Although I’m not surprised, he did vote against my police reform proposal, voted against housing homeless families, voted against cannabis retailing and manufacturing, and the list goes on.”

Thorpe admits the latter attack on Wright’s votes on cannabis businesses was incomplete, saying it was “A small error on my part.”

While Wright voted against forming the Cannabis Business Overlay Districts on May 22, 2018, then again on June 26, 2018 (see related articles, here and here), he voted for all four cannabis businesses that have applied for permits in Antioch. Wright voted with three other council members in favor of the first cannabis retail store in the city on April 23, 2019, located on W. 10th Street, with only Councilmember Lori Ogorchock opposing. (See related article) Then he, along with the rest of the council members voted for another retail cannabis store on W. 10th Street on June 25, 2019. (See related article) Wright also voted for a cannabis business on Wilbur Avenue which was approved by the city council on Sept. 10, 2019 on a 4-1 vote with only Councilmember Lori Ogorchock opposing. That location includes cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, dispensary and delivery. (See related article)

Regarding the police reform proposals, while Wright didn’t support Thorpe’s two-councilmember ad hoc committee on police reform, whose meetings could be held in secret and not required to follow the state’s open meeting laws, Wright supported having all five council members participate in forums on police reform and race relations in Antioch. Thorpe and fellow Councilmember Monica Wilson opposed that, and Thorpe went silent for the remainder of the council meeting when asked for his input and ideas on and who to include in the forums. (See related article)

Earlier this year, Thorpe proposed 13 reforms for the police department, including those that are part of the 8 Can’t Wait national effort, five of which, according to Police Chief T Brooks, that have been or are already being implemented. (See related article) Thorpe’s own press release about it admits two of the 8 Can’t Wait reforms are “already an Antioch policy”. (See related article) In addition, the first of the eight, “Ban police use of chokeholds and strangleholds, including the carotid restraint”, was recently banned statewide by the governor signing into law a bill on the issue.

The attack, while misleading, is accurate because the vote on forming the ad-hoc committee did include Thorpe’s five reform proposals. However, Wright did not support approving any of them before receiving input from the public through the forums.

Thorpe Explains, Admits to Incomplete Information

When asked about his email and why it contained information that was clearly false, Thorpe responded in an email clarifying his accusations.

“Sean did vote against my police reform proposal,” he wrote. “My proposal to establish a police reform ad-hoc (committee) was very clear and specific and was voted down in a 3/2 vote. Following is a quote from my press release, which you have cited on multiple occasions: ‘At the Tuesday, June 9, 2020, Antioch Council meeting, Councilmember Thorpe will call for the formation of a City Council Ad-Hoc Committee on Police Reforms to be composed of council members, legal advisers, police leaders, police union representatives, and community advocates. The role of the committee will be to examine potential long-term reforms in the following areas: 1. Demilitarize our local police 2. Increase police accountability 3. Improved police hiring practices 4. Excessive use of force 5. Budget appropriations.’ Here is the vote:

“On June 18, 2020, the council majority opted for a ‘larger conversation’ that is now called ‘Bridging the Gap’ and seems to be rooted in the idea of police-community relations,” Thorpe explained. “Please note, after almost five months, no larger conversation has taken place because of the bureaucratic process, which we could have bypassed with my police reform proposal to establish an ad-hoc.”

“In terms of cannabis retailing and manufacturing, I’m talking about policy, not applications, Sean did vote against the cannabis policy and zoning overlay. I should have included the word ‘policy’, ‘legislation’, ‘proposal’ or ‘ordinance’ following that phrase. I did use these phrases on my website and campaign material. A small error on my part.”

“Here is the meeting where he voted no and specifically attributed his ‘No’ vote to cannabis retailing:,” Thorpe shared. “The Herald reported about it here:

“Had we moved in the direction Mayor Wright recommended, the council would not have been able to consider the cannabis retail applications that followed,” he stated. “These retailers have resulted in the creation of high wage jobs, over $1 million in new city revenue, thousands of dollars to support local nonprofits like Beat the Streets, and additional revenue for the police department.”

“We were in a rush to get that out and I should have included that information,” Thorpe added about the email message.

Attempts to reach Wright for comment were unsuccessful prior to publication. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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