Archive for the ‘City Council’ Category

After weeks of waiting, wrangling with city staff, emails between Torres-Walker and Chief Brooks on rideout released

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

Instagram post by Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker’s adult son, Yomani, promoting the rideout planned for Sunday, June 20th in Antioch and offering to provide the location for those who would direct message him. (Edited due to profanity) (Herald file screenshot)

Show her resistance to helping stop son from promoting illegal dirt bike ride on city streets; same son who fled police during incident in December

By Allen Payton

Following a Public Records Act request on June 16 for the email communication between Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker and Antioch Police Chief T Brooks regarding the planned rideout that one of her sons was promoting and possibly organizing on social media, City Attorney Thomas Lloyd Smith finally released them last Wednesday evening, July 14. _Emails to & from TBrooks & TTorres-Walker

Smith at first claimed attorney client privilege and provided several state codes to support it. However, the Herald researched and cited those codes in a response email, pointing out to him that nothing in the codes mentions any other city staff member but refers only to an attorney. The Herald asked Smith if he was included in the emails between Brooks and Torres-Walker and any other council member regarding the rideout. He did not respond. A further email was sent to Brooks and City Manager Ron Bernal asking the same question. Rather than responding, Smith released the emails to the Herald, later that day.

Torres-Walker Less Than Fully Cooperative Frustrating Brooks

The emails show resistance from Torres-Walker to Brooks’ request that she talk to her adult son, Yomani, to get him to stop organizing and promoting the event planned for Sunday, June 20, m on his Instagram account under the name “its_kyd”. At first she agreed to talk to him about it, But later Torres-Walker claimed he was not organizing the event nor knew who was, didn’t know where it would be held and that she didn’t think she talking to him would help.

Yomani is her same son who fled police during a pursuit of him and his younger brother who were riding off-road vehicles on A Street on December 29, 2020. That incident resulted in a 9-minute online video post by the councilwoman and has been under investigation by an outside firm hired by the police department at her request. The investigators report has yet to be released. (See related article)

Brooks first email to her on June 14 with the subject line “Need Your Help Please” reads in part:

“Good afternoon Councilmember Torres-Walker,

Several people have contacted me in regards to an illegal event planned to take place in Antioch this Sunday. Please see the attached screenshot advertising the event, which I’m being told is from your son Yomani’s Instagram account. These types of events are not only dangerous but illegal as well.

Some who are aware of this event (and your son’s alleged involvement) have mentioned wanting to notify local media outlets. I have asked that this not happen, but instead, allow me to stop the event from even occurring. My primary goal is to prevent this dangerous activity from taking place in our city. But I also hope to avoid any type of negative attention this would garner from the public (on you as an elected official, and us as a city) as well.

I am asking for your help to get this event canceled. Prevention is my first and ultimate goal. However, if you are unable to help, we will assemble a special enforcement detail using officers on overtime and seeking mutual aid help from neighboring agencies to address the public safety concern this event will create. We will take a zero-tolerance approach to any/all violations, resulting in arrests and towed vehicles for those participating. I would like to avoid this if at all possible.

Please let me know if you can help. I greatly appreciate it.”

He also shared screenshots of posts by Yomani on his Instagram page, previously shared by the Herald.

Torres-Walker responded in an email to Brooks that evening, and copied Bernal, Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Public Information Officer Rolando Bonilla, with the following:

“Hello Chief Brooks,

Thank you for the email. I was not aware of this event and my son has never organized such an event. It looks like he may have shared an event that was organized by someone else on his personal social media page which is not illegal.

I have no power to stop this but I will talk to my son about not attending because I want him to be safe and I understand that once the police engage in these kinds of events people will and have been gravely injured and/or arrested.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.”

Brooks responded that same evening with another email to Torres-Walker:

“Thank you for your response.

I agree with you that these events are extremely dangerous. Injuries can be sustained by participants, spectators, innocent members of the public who are completely unattached to the event itself, and even officers who are assaulted by those who violently resist and/or use their vehicles as weapons against them.

I did not say your son was organizing the event – I said he was advertising it. I hoped that he or they could speak to the organizers and ask them not to bring this event to our community. It is not welcomed here.

Since you do not have the power to stop it, but would still like to help, I’ll ask that you please find out from your son where this event is scheduled to take place and provide me this information? His post says he knows where this is going to occur, and having this information ahead of time would greatly benefit us to secure the area and hopefully deter potential participants from stopping in the first place. Preventing the group from congregating/organizing would greatly reduce any likelihood of confrontation, making it safer for all.

Thank you in advance for helping us work to prevent this dangerous event from occurring in our city.”

Torres-Walker responded, once again, about a half-hour later, attempting to turn it around on police, with a brief reference to the incident in December, and those who had informed Brooks about her son’s social media posts for the June 20th planned rideout. She wrote:

“Hello Chief Brooks,

I get it and my son knows what it’s like to have someone use their vehicle as a weapon to harm him.

It seems like the location is never shared ahead of the day of the event so even if I wanted to help with that request I couldn’t.

Maybe the informants that are reporting activity on my son’s social media page can use their investigative skills to find out who is organizing the event and request the location.

I will talk to my son but since he is not organizing the event and has no idea who is I’m not sure that will help either.

Have a good evening,”

Torres-Walker’s son’s IG posts regarding the expected police response to the planned rideout. The one on the right was posted after Wednesday morning’s press conference by the mayor and police chief and after she apparently had spoken with him. (Herald file screenshots)

The following morning, Tuesday, June 15, Brooks sent an email to Bernal, Thorpe and Bonilla showing additional posts on social media by Yomani on his Instagram account with the words “Stop Snitching” and other posts warning those who might participate in the rideout to “Keep yo head ona swivel” to look out for police during the rideout.

A frustrated Brooks wrote in that email:


I have no intention on responding to Councilmember Torres-Walker’s below email. It is unfortunate that she is taking this stance and refusing to help prevent a dangerous event such as this from occurring in our city. Although she claims her son is not involved, it is clear from the original screenshot I included to start this conversation that is not true. To further evidence this, please see the below screenshots that her son posted last night. Obviously Councilmember Torres-Walker informed him of my request. But instead of helping prevent the dangerous event and negative publicity it will bring us as a city, it has appeared to embolden him and he has doubled down on his messaging to continue on with the event as planned. Not only will this cost the city taxpayers’ money in unnecessary police overtime, it is endangering the lives of those illegally riding on our streets, the innocent motorists on our roadways, and the officers tasked with trying to enforce the laws being willfully disregarded. This type of behavior is not good for our community.


The following day, Wed., June 16, Thorpe and Brooks held a press conference about the rideout, asking people not to participate and warning them of a multi-agency effort, fines and $3,000 impound fees, should they be caught. During that press conference, Thorpe was asked if he had spoken to her to tell her son not to promote or participate in them. Thorpe responded, “this is about cancelling the event and let the public know we are going to hold people accountable. I’m not playing games.” (See related article)

The warnings appear to have worked, as the planned rideout did not occur that Sunday.

Challenge Obtaining Emails

By state law, government officials have 10 business days to release records requested by either the media or public. However, agencies can postpone the release by up to an additional 14 calendar days under certain circumstances. It took four weeks for Attorney Smith to release the requested emails.

On June 30th Lynn Dansie, the Police Records Supervisor, sent a letter to the Herald which read, “At the request of the City Attorney we have been asked to extend our response time…for up to 14 additional calendar days, in order to search for and collect records from a separate office/unit holding the information requested. You will be notified with a response to your request on our before, July 12, 2021.” (See              )

Asked what separate office/unit was holding the information and are all communications between city staff and council members done through their official city email accounts, neither Dansie nor Smith responded.

Then on July 1, the Herald made an additional request of all emails between Attorney Smith and council members about the rideout.

On July 8, Dansie emailed another letter that read, “Per the City Attorney, records requested are not releasable at this time. The records requests are being denied under GC (government code) 6254(k) as well as the attorney client privilege under EC 954 and attorney work product privilege under Cal. Code Civ. Pro. 2018.030(a).”

Asked if the letter applied to all emails, Dansie responsed, “The codes of GC 6254(k), EC 954 and Cal Code Civ Pro 2018.030(a) are applicable to both of the records requests involving emails.”

This reporter responded on July 13 with the following, which included citing the language from the sections of those government codes:


Were you included in the emails between Chief Brooks and Councilwoman Torres-Walker or any other member of the APD staff and any council member regarding the planned rideout on June 20, 2021?

Because I researched the codes provided in Lynn’s email sent yesterday, and if not, then those codes do not apply as they mention nothing about any other person, only an attorney, and you therefore must release the emails to me…post haste. Otherwise please cite the portion of those codes that do apply.

I understand you trying to protect your clients, the council members, from any possible embarrassment over what they wrote in their communication with the chief and/or any other member of the APD or city staff. But that’s not protected under the PRA according to the codes you have provided. So, let’s stop wasting all of this city staff time…and let’s allow the public to know what’s happening with their government and communicated by their elected representatives.”

Smith responded via email the next day, providing the requested emails and included an explanation of why the emails between him and city council members could not be released.

“Dear Mr. Payton,

On June 16, 2021, the City of Antioch received a California Public Records Act (“CPRA”) requesting “copies of any emails/communications between yourself (Chief Brooks)/police department/Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Tamisha Torres-Walker regarding sideshows or rideout”. After further discussion, the City and was agreed that the scope of the request was to be limited to the time period of June 8, 2021 through June 22, 2021.

This letter is in response to your emails dated July 13, 2021 and July 14, 2021.  Attached please find a 10-page document responsive to the CPRA requests that the City has determined is disclosable. Please be advised that other identifiable records are exempt from disclosure because they either involve confidential communications that include the City Attorney and/or they involve confidential communications done at the direction of the City Attorney to accomplish the purpose for which the City Attorney was consulted and are exempt from disclosure.

Thomas Lloyd Smith

City Attorney”

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Barbanica calls for increasing police force by 2.5% per year, adding six officers over next two years, 55 more total

Sunday, July 18th, 2021

Antioch District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica calls for more cops in a video he posted on his YouTube channel and official Facebook page on Saturday, July 17, 2021. Screenshot.

Until city reaches state standard of 1.48 sworn officers per 1,000 population, which equals 170; second council member to request more police last week

By Allen Payton

Another Antioch council member is calling for more sworn officers on the city’s police force. District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica is calling for increasing the Antioch police force by 2.5% per year until the department reaches the state standard of 1.48 sworn officers per 1,000 population. That would add about three officers per year over the next two years above the 115 currently allocated in the budget, and give the city 170 total sworn officers.

Currently the city has about 1.0 sworn officers per 1,000 population and the goal since the mid-1990’s has been to achieve 1.2 sworn officers per 1,000.

He joins District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker, who posted a Facebook video on Saturday morning, calling for the addition of four more officers and have them focus on the Sycamore area. That was in response to her spending time in that part of her district, which has long been the area of the city with the highest level of crime for decades, and hearing complaints from business owners and residents. (See related article)

That’s in spite of the fact that both council members voted along with Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson for the new two-year budget on June 22 which does not include any additional officers.

On Saturday at 5:20 p.m., Barbanica posted a video and comments about the proposal on both his YouTube Channel and his official Facebook page, but wrote that he made the video last weekend and informed Thorpe about his idea on Tuesday.

“After the meeting Tuesday night, I called the mayor and told him that I’m formally requesting that this be placed on the agenda,” Barbanica told the Herald. “And I followed up with a formal email.”

He said he was pleasantly surprised to see Torres-Walker’s request she announced earlier on Saturday.

Following is Barbanica’s Facebook post:

“Antioch First! Public Safety

I made this video last weekend and I know some of you are curious, yes, it was before Tuesday night’s standing committee meeting. But, that changes nothing…I am still going to push to get the body cams, car cams, taser technology upgrade and I am introducing a plan for getting staffing where it needs to be. Following the meeting Tuesday night, I called the mayor and told him about the video and that I would be coming out with it. On Wednesday night I emailed the mayor with a formal request to bring this addition of officers to council as an agenda item. Is this a big ask?…yes. Would this take years…yes. However, there would likely be adjustments along the way. Is our community worth it…YES!

So far, here are the results of some of the votes:

Body/Car cams 5-0 (5 yes)

Taser Technology Upgrade 2-3 (2 yes 3 no)

Double the size of Code Enforcement 4-1 (4 yes 1 no)

Recommend implementation of body/car cam policy 2-3 (2 yes 3 no), and that was a standing committee vote, which will come back to us, so it is not a dead issue.

I have proposed that the city council adopt a resolution that would assure the public that PD officer staffing levels will increase each year by a minimum of 2.5% until we reach our goal that I talk about in this video. I have made the request to have this placed on the agenda.

We are re-visiting the budget in November and I think this would be a great time for this to come to the council.”

Following his vote for the budget, when asked why he didn’t include a request for additional police then, Barbanica said “the chief didn’t submit a request for any additional funds. But we can revisit it during the mid-year budget review.

An effort to reach Thorpe asking if he had any comments on Barbanica’s email from earlier in the week and if he will place the matter of additional police requested by the two council members on the next meeting agenda was unsuccessful prior to publication time. Please check back later for any updates to this report.


Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch Councilwoman Torres-Walker calls for hiring 4 more police officers for Sycamore corridor

Saturday, July 17th, 2021

City’s highest crime area; would reverse recent two-year budget vote that includes no additional officers; also calls for removal of officer from community detail

“You have individuals threatening to take the law into their own hands if we, as a city, don’t do something, because they’re at the end of their ropes.”

“This is, like, a super tough decision.”

“they know more police isn’t the answer. But we gotta think about the short-term solutions while we dive into the long-term solutions. Our people need relief, right now.”

“this is what the community is asking for, proactive policing in their community and I, as a leader, have to support that.” – Councilwoman Torres-Walker

Screenshot of Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker’s video posted on her official Facebook page on Saturday, July 17, 2021. It has since been removed.

By Allen Payton

In a major reversal from her votes and previous statements, Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker made a surprise announcement on Saturday, July 17, 2021 that she’s asking the mayor to place on the next council meeting agenda the hiring of four additional police officers and to focus them on the Sycamore corridor, which has long been the neighborhood with the greatest crime problems in the city. (See Part 1 and Part 2 of video)

In a 17-minute live video posted on her official Facebook page, entitled “Leadership is not easy”, (which has since been removed) Torres-Walker said she had been meeting with business owners in the small shopping center at the corner of Sycamore Drive and L Street, and that they’re struggling to stay open “because of the activity in the area.” She also said that the Quikstop “is pulling out” and that the corporation has given the local franchisee the opportunity to buy them out and become an independent.

She said she’s sent emails to the mayor, police chief, city manager and city attorney “to see what can we do to really look closely at the Sycamore corridor.”

“For a very long time, this particular community has been overlooked,” Torres-Walker said.

“I absolutely believe in police accountability, transparency and reform and on the other hand I also believe in healthy communities and keeping communities safe, and something is just not adding up in that particular community,” she stated. “This is where the hard decisions need to be made and I think that the city council, myself included, needs to have a real conversation about what do we do on the Sycamore corridor…to make that community safe.”

“Some of the biggest challenges are trying to figure this all out and in all reality…there’s no way to get around the fact that we need more patrol in that area,” Torres-Walker shared. “I have no agenda, here. I just want to help people. And right now, people are saying we need help. We don’t want to keep paying these high rents and we can’t even come outside of our house. Our kids can’t even play outside. We can’t go to the store.”

Just last month, she and the council majority, with only District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock voting no, approved a two-year budget that shows increases in the General Fund of over $13 million, and included the creation of 17 new positions, but no additional police officers. In addition, Torres-Walker, along with Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson, has twice voted down approving new, high-tech tasers for the department. (See related article here)

In her video, Torres-Walker, wearing a shirt with the words “NOT TODAY SATAN” across the front, struggled to share her recognition of the need for more police. She also repeated a previous claim that “police don’t prevent crime. They show up after a crime or harm was already committed.”

Yet, she spoke of bringing back the program initiated by the city council in the late 1990’s of community policing in the Sycamore corridor, in which officers walked the beat and had regular interaction with residents. As a result, from 1995 to 1998 serious crime in that part of Antioch was reduced by 80%.

“I feel so bad for this community and I think we really need to look at increasing APD by four additional officers,” Torres-Walker continued. “The reason why I’m saying this because there used to be a focus in this community and it was called proactive policing and that went away a long time ago.”

“But if we’re really going to commit to this community, we have to do what’s best for Antioch, and what’s best for Antioch residents,” Torres-Walker stated. “And I cannot ignore the voices of business owners, homeowners and community members who want their community to be safe on Sycamore.”

“And we need to do pro-active policing in the City of Antioch,” she continued. “And so, right now, today, I am asking the Mayor of Antioch to bring to the agenda, a discussion on increasing the Antioch Police Department by four additional officers, so we can do some…proactive community policing in the Sycamore corridor, and get business owners, residents and homeowners, some relief and the opportunity to live safe in their community.”

“It’s not that easy,” Torres-Walker said with a laugh. “It’s not that easy, folks. Like, the reality is, is I believe in transparency, I believe in accountability, I believe in quality policing services. And until we can get to a point in society where we, you know, no longer need these systems, right now, we have people in the Sycamore corridor…who are saying, ‘we don’t know what to do. We need some help.’”

“This is, like, a super tough decision,” she stated. “I spent some time talking to some officers from APD, today when I was out in the Sycamore community, and I just, I can’t imagine, I don’t even live there, and I can’t imagine what this community is going through on a daily. And just by talking to business owners, we have to do something.”

“You have individuals threatening to take the law into their own hands if we, as a city, don’t do something, because they’re at the end of their ropes,” Torres-Walker shared.

“Leadership is complicated, folks,” she added. “But, right now, I’m saying, I’m willing to support four additional positions to the police department to do proactive policing in the Sycamore corridor. I hope that my colleagues on the city council hears this plea. I hope that folks in the community understand.”

“I hope people still believe in me and people still trust me,” Torres-Walker implored. “But the reality is, is that…poor communities, communities of color, Black communities are complex. And we can’t let personal agendas get in the way and I learned that, today,”

“I actually have been spending a lot of time in the Sycamore community over the last two days and I learned, agendas aside, this community needs help,” she continued. “And they’re asking for help, they’re crying out for help, and they want support. And they know more police isn’t the answer. But we gotta think about the short-term solutions while we dive into the long-term solutions. Our people need relief, right now.”

“So, there it is folks. Here, right now, before you all and the world, saying that we need to help residents. Residents need relief, right now,” Torres-Walker said. “And no, I don’t believe that policing is the, you know, the sum of what public safety is about. But right now, this is what the community is asking for, proactive policing in their community and I, as a leader, have to support that.”

“So, again, if you want to reach out to me you can call me at (925) 206-2340 or you can email me at,” she shared. “I hope this message reaches the community, the Sycamore community. My heart is with you. My thoughts are with you. To the business owners, we want you to be profitable, we want you to be there to provide a service for the community, as well as take care of you and your community.”

Apologizes to Sycamore community

“And even though I just got here, I want to extend an apologize to everyone in that community for the decades of mistreatment, lack of resources, and just no attention,” Torres-Walker concluded. “Thank you everyone for hearing me out, today. I will be emailing the chief on Monday, as well as the mayor to get this on the council agenda, as soon as possible.”

Supports Removing Officer from Community Detail

She then spoke about a petition to have Officer “Tom Linderman removed from the community policing detail over the homeless, you know our unhoused folks in the community,” and offered her support.

“I think that’s also something we need to consider as a city,” Torres-Walker said. “Maybe some things people aren’t meant to be doing. This petition is not asking for him to be fired. This petition is asking for him to be moved to a new division. At this point, right now, from what I hear from unhoused folks and community members who serve the unhoused folks, is probably the best deal.”

“The reality is, is some people just aren’t good at community engagement,” she continued. “And that’s fine. Because we can use their talents in other places.”

“I will also be raising this up at the next council meeting on the 27th of this month and to the police chief when he gets back from vacation on Monday,” Torres-Walker concluded.

“I’m willing to hear you all out. Let me know,” she said, reiterating her support for four more officers. “If you think this is a step in the wrong direction, let me know. But people are asking for this and I got to do my best.”

Video Removed

As of 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, the video had been removed from here council Facebook page. An attempt to reach Torres-Walker asking her why was unsuccessful prior to publication. An effort to reach Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe asking if he was aware of her proposal and if he will place it on the next council meeting agenda was also unsuccessful.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch Council majority votes down proposed police body and dash cam policies delaying implementation for another month or more

Thursday, July 15th, 2021

The type of AXON police body and car cameras purchased by the Antioch Police Department. Photos: AXON

Even though APD already has the body-cams and training was to begin next week

“a new era of transparency, accountability and safety to our community, as well as our officers” will have to wait.

Committee Chair Torres-Walker appointed to work with Chief Brooks, city attorney and city manager to revise policies

I was disappointed in the vote that the cameras are not on the street immediately. We will continue to push to get them out soon.” – District 2 Councilman and Committee Member Mike Barbanica

By Allen Payton

The Antioch City Council met as the Police Oversight Standing Committee of the whole council Tuesday night, and voted 2-3 on approving proposed policies for use and operation of the police department’s new body and car dash cameras. According to Chief T Brooks, the equipment has been received and training of officers was to begin next week. Instead, that training and implementation of the camera use has now been postponed for at least a month or two, due to the need to revise the draft policies and then meet and confer with the Antioch Police Officers Association (APOA), after the council sent the policies back for corrections.

District 3 Councilwoman and committee vice chair Lori Ogorchock made the motion to approve the Antioch Police Department Body-Worn Camera and Mobile Video Audio Recorder policies and District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica seconded the motion. But it failed when Mayor Lamar Thorpe, Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson and District 1 Councilwoman and committee chair Tamisha-Torres-Walker voted against it.

During the standing committee’s first meeting in May the only actions taken were to vote in Torres-Walker as chair of the committee and Ogorchock as vice chair on separate votes. Ogorchock was the only council member to vote against Torres-Walker as chair, and Torres-Walker was the only vote against Ogorchock as vice chair.

Neither the Herald, other local media nor most of the public were aware of this past Tuesday’s meeting, because there was no email announcing the standing committee meeting, as is usually done for council meetings. Plus, at their last regular meeting in June council members and the public were informed there would be no meetings in July. Instead, Tuesday night’s meeting agenda was merely posted on the city’s website. Furthermore, the meeting being shown on Comcast Cable Channel 24 at the same time was a repeat of a former council meeting.

However, some members of the public were aware of the meeting and offered public comment on the matter.

Cameras Approved Earlier This Year

The policies were developed in response to the unanimous votes by the city council on February 26 and on March 9 to support purchasing the body-worn and police car dash cameras for use by the department for the first time in its history. The action was part of the police reform measures the mayor and council members approved earlier this year. At the time there was a sense of urgency for implementing their use due to two incidents in which Antioch residents died following interactions with police last December and this February. (See related articles, here and here)

But the council majority refused to adopt the proposed policies, now and make corrections to them, later sending them back to the APD for revision before returning to the next meeting of the standing committee. That and all future meetings of the council committee of the whole are now scheduled to be held immediately prior to the second council meetings of the month, which are held on the fourth Tuesdays. So, the next time the council members will deal with the matter will be on July 27th. They can then vote to make a recommendation on the revised proposed policy to themselves as the city council, and the soonest the council can adopt the policy, unless a special meeting is called or the council votes to place the matter as an urgency item on the July 27th agenda, is during their first regular meeting in August.

Proposed Policies

After multiple police department staff members worked on the proposed policies during numerous meetings, gathering input from other agencies and organizations, including consulting the ACLU policies, and obtaining support for them following a meet and confer with the APOA, Chief Brooks presented them to the standing committee. (See presentation, here)

“Officers have already been assigned their individual cameras,” Brooks said. “Axon…is scheduled to conduct in-house departmental training…beginning next week. Upon completion of that training and approval of the body-worn camera policy we are prepared to immediately deploy our officers into the field equipped with this technology, bringing a new era of transparency, accountability and safety to our community, as well as our officers.”

However, the dash cams aren’t expected to arrive until next month, he shared.

According to Brooks’ written staff report for the agenda item, “During the Regular Council Meeting on March 9, 2021, the Antioch City Council approved the purchase of Axon BWC (Body-Worn Cameras) and MVAR (Mobile Video/Audio Recorder – aka police car dash cam) technology for use by the Antioch Police Department. In a subsequent Council Meeting on April 13, 2021, the City Council established the Police Reform Standing Committee (later renamed the Police Oversight Standing Committee). The standing committee’s responsibilities span several areas which include reviewing Antioch Police Department (APD) policies, providing community updates, and soliciting community input on APD policies.

As part of the implementation process for the new BWC and MVAR technologies, the Police Department established a BWC/MVAR Policy [and Implementation] Committee of Sworn Officers and Supervisors along with Records and Dispatch staff. This group met on a regular basis over a period several months and spent hundreds of staff hours researching existing BWC and MVAR policies from across the state. In addition, this committee examined federal and state laws which guide the use of this technology along with reports on industry best practices.

The Police Department contracts with a company called Lexipol which designs (web based) policy manuals and training for law enforcement agencies all over the United States. Lexipol further provides a full library of customizable, state-specific law enforcement policies that are updated in response to new state and federal laws and court decisions. The (attached) BWC and MVAR policies were drafted in Lexipol and are consistent with federal and state guidance as well as industry best practices.”

Public Comments

About 30 members of the public spoke on the item. (See 19:30 through 36:30 mark of meeting video)

Council Concerns

One of the sticking points with some of the council members was on policy “423.5.1 WHEN TO ACTIVATE – During their shift, officers shall make every reasonable effort to activate the BWC prior to initiating investigations and enforcement activity, whether self-initiated or in response to a dispatched call.

Officers shall make every reasonable effort to record non-enforcement contacts should they become confrontational, assaultive or enforcement oriented. In addition to the required conditions, personnel may activate the system any time they feel its use would be appropriate and/or valuable to document an incident.

Also, officers shall not be required to activate or deactivate their BWC based solely on the requests or demands of a citizen, but rather rely on their training and this policy to direct their use of the BWC.

While there may be circumstances in which the BWC cannot be activated immediately, the goal is to capture interactions with the public while providing police services. In the event an officer decides not to turn on their BWC based on the belief that their safety or the safety of the public is in jeopardy, the onus of providing evidence of such fact is the employee’s responsibility. Any failure to activate the BWC in a circumstance in which the objective facts dictate otherwise, may be cause for discipline”

Another issue policy “423.8 STORAGE AND RETENTION OF RECORDINGS – All BWC recordings will be stored via cloud storage, currently The cloud storage service shall comply with Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) requirements for law enforcement digital evidence storage. Recordings of the following should be retained for a minimum of two years (Penal Code§ 832.18):

(a) Incidents involving use of force by an officer.

(b) Officer-involved shootings or any other Law Enforcement Involved Fatal Incident (LEIFI)

(c) Incidents that lead to the detention or arrest of an individual

(d) Recordings relevant to a formal or informal complaint against an officer or the Antioch Police Department Recordings containing evidence that may be relevant to a criminal prosecution should be retained for any additional period required by law for other evidence relevant to a criminal prosecution (Penal Code § 832.18).

BWC recordings relating to incidents where criminal charges are filed shall be retained for at least one year after whichever of these events occurs last:

(a) the matter is resolved; or,

(b) the defendant has been released from custody; or,

(c) the appeal is final.

(d) The BWC recording may be destroyed earlier than this if the district attorney or other prosecuting agency, all defendants and the City Attorney are notified and given time to object prior to any destruction of a BWC recording related to a criminal incident.

All other recordings should be retained for a period consistent with the requirements of the organization’s records retention schedule but, in no event, for a period less than 180 days. Records or logs of access and deletion of recordings should be retained permanently (Penal Code § 832.18).

Council Discussion

“The reality of this is, the public has asked us to create transparency and I believe by having essentially, every enforcement stop video and audio taped, as well as every time the overhead lights go on, they automatically turn on, and every time an officer gets out of the car, they automatically activate their body camera,” Barbanica said. “I think it’s pretty straight forward.”

“Also…if a police officer draws his or her firearm it automatically activates, as well and then eventually if we get to a point where we get the new tasers, if a taser is drawn from a holster it will activate, as well,” Brooks added. “But with our current tasers that technology is not available. But it is for the firearms.”

“Along those lines, Chief, if one officer forgets to activate, draws their firearm or another officer draws their firearm, will it activate the body-worn camera of everybody in proximity?” Barbanica asked.

“That is correct,” Brooks responded.

Wilson said “there are certain areas in the report that were kind of vague and I wanted to tighten up the verbiage.”

“I would really like to change ‘reasonable effort’ to shall or must, because reasonable effort is really subjective,” she said.

“Also, the discipline it really didn’t go into detail. Is that like a finger wagging…or sitting down with that officer, or probation or termination?” Wilson asked.

“That vagueness is necessary, just because if there’s a violation there could be a number of different varying circumstances. It could depend on the tenure of the officer, it could be if the deactivation was…accidental or if it’s malicious. It could be an officer who has had disciplinary problems it could be someone with

“That gives me the discretion to look at each situation and determine the level of discipline that should be,” he added.

“I just don’t want to leave it so open that we end up with a grey area and someone uses that grey area to not be terminated,” Wilson responded. “I really want to get this right…and don’t want to look back…and not take care of these loose ends.”

“What I’ll say to that is, if you look at any of our policies, none of them have a defined level of discipline,” Brooks stated. “I would caution us to be careful and recognize that would be unique to this policy, alone, because there could be mitigating circumstances.”

Thorpe spoke next saying,, “I tend to agree with Councilwoman Wilson on some of the vagueness. I don’t like the references to reasonable effort. You’re either doing this or you’re not. I was looking more for a shall.”

“The five of us are the policy makers and staff brings forward recommended policies and what we adopt will be our policies,” he continued. “When I hear the public say…the ACLU model, they want to know what protections are in there for them.”

“We can move forward with this initial policy and then we expand it and work in protections for the public…the accountability…and how officers will be responsible and make sure their body-cameras are activated,” Thorpe stated.

“I’m concerned about this phrase uniformed officers,” he said. “I thought we were giving a body cam to every sworn officer. There are officers doing enforcement when they’re not in their uniform.”

“The uniform could…include detectives using their…vests and duty belt,” Brooks explained. “What it’s not designed for is officers working undercover.”

“Oh, OK. Thank you for the clarity,” Thorpes responded.

“My preference is that we move forward, tonight…instead of prolonging this any longer…and if there is something we need to tighten up we can address that,” Barbanica said. “We can always amend a policy.”

“I, too would like to see us move forward on this,” Ogorchock said. “The public has been crying out for this for a long time and we haven’t done this, before.”

Torres-Walker spoke last saying, “I agree with the community that we should pass…I mean you can always go back and change policies. But it’s better to try your hardest to do it right the first time for the maximum amount of transparency and accountability. I also hear what Mayor Pro Tem Wilson is saying around these statements, as in, ‘make every reasonable effort.’”

“I could go through and wordsmith these entire both policies, tonight because I have, myself,” said Torres-Walker. “But I would like to see you, Chief to work with the city attorney and come back to this committee for a second reading and then to the council. And it’s just because there are so many questions, still. And most people talked about the body-worn camera policy but not much about the in-car camera policy.”

“I just think words, language like ‘make a reasonable effort’ should be eliminated,” she continued. “I think anywhere where it say, ‘may activate’ or ‘should activate’ should be eliminated and should be replaced by ‘shall’, ‘shall activate’.”

“I also, when I was looking at the time of storage…it says two years, but I think what I heard from the public and others is we should make it three to five years,” Torres-Walker stated. “How long it take for things to progress in the city I think we should have the storage longer. I mean like have it in the policy and then do what we need to do to make sure we can retain storage for that long from these cameras for evidence or investigational purposes.”

“I also had a lot of questions around the paragraphs for discipline which were not very direct and there was a lot was left open to interpretation,” said Torres-Walker. “I understand, Chief that we can’t put it all in there…and it would be different for everybody. But I know for sure on the mobile cameras…there was a sentence on page three at the top, that I felt like it didn’t give enough information on what do you constitute not complying with this order or with this policy? How do you assess whether there’s an intentional violation of this policy by a particular officer? A repeated pattern of non-compliance could be three-to-five times. How many times before disciplinary action is taken?”

“100 miles per hour seems a little fast for a city street and I’m sure that could be the case in a high-speed chase, but I would like that to be reduced to 80 or 85 miles per hour to trigger the cameras,” she added.

Torres-Walker then asked about Code 3 driving. Brooks responded that it means with lights and siren.

“I know that the community has been waiting a very long time, especially the department,” she then stated. “Me more than anybody want to move this forward. But I think we need to take back what we heard from the community. I don’t think I can support this policy, today as it is. That’s just my position.”

Brooks then addressed the storage issues.

“When video is tagged as related to a particular case, that is saved and can be kept permanently,” he said. “That video footage is kept and saved for as long as a criminal case or civil complaint is pending.”

“Maybe that can be added as well,” Torres-Walker said.

“I’ll take a look at it.” Brooks responded.

Motion to Adopt Policies Fails

In the vote on the motion by Ogorchock, seconded by Barbanica, Torres-Walker voted no.

Both Ogorchock and Barbanica voted in favor of their motion.

That was followed by Wilson also voting no saying, “At this time I can’t approve this going forward.”

Thorpe was at first unavailable for the vote, saying he was dealing with his child who was sick. He asked Torres-Walker, “Chair, what was your recommendation?”

“My recommendation was a no,” she responded, and then asked Assistant City Manager Rosanna Bayon Moore to repeat the votes.

Thorpe then reversed himself from what he said earlier about moving the policies forward, now and revising them, later.

“I would just, you know, strongly encourage, particularly for any policy committee, you know, the chair’s got to work with the department head and city manager on this policy. I think it’s very important that you, Chair Torres-Walker, sit down with the chief to figure out these differences,” Thorpe said. “So, I’m going to go along with your recommendation in voting no.”

“With that the motion fails,” said Bayon Moore.

Wilson then made a motion that Torres-Walker work with Chief Brooks and the city attorney and then bring it back for one more vote.

“Wouldn’t we be doing that anyway and it doesn’t need a roll-call vote?” asked Ogorchock.

Thorpe then made an amendment to the motion to bring back the final recommendation directly to the

“This would usually come back to the standing committee. You could schedule the meeting for the standing committee immediately before the next council meeting. If there is going to be substantial change…we should be giving the policy to the union for review, which will take some time. And then it can go to city council.”

“Would it be possible for the union to discuss before the next council meeting? Is it a negotiation? Do the union add input, Chief?” Torres-Walker asked.

“It would be a meet and confer issue because it would be a change in working conditions,” Brooks responded.

“Then we’re looking to the middle or end of August before we’re looking at any of this, so it’s another month to month and a half before the cameras are on the street,” Ogorchock said.

“I understand the urgency about this, but I also heard the community speak and give their input, today,” Torres-Walker said. “Before we implement in this city, how many years have we gone without these in this city. Before our officers are acting with integrity and transparency …. I am in support of Mayor Pro Tem Wilson’s motion to work with the chief. Would you be willing to add the city manager in there?”

“I would be willing to add the city manager,” Wilson responded.

“Isn’t what we’re doing right now giving direction to staff?” she then asked of Smith.

“Yes…I think we just proceed along the course,” he responded.

That motion passed on a 5-0 vote.

In a post on his official Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon, District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica wrote, “Thank you for the calls and feedback today about last night’s meeting. Yes, I was disappointed in the vote that the cameras are not on the street immediately. We will continue to push to get them out soon.”

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Judge rules in favor of Sand Creek area developer striking down almost all of Measure T, long-planned homes can be built in Antioch

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

The Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative known as Measure T on the November 2020 ballot cannot be implemented.

Environmentalists claim victory with Urban Limit Line extension

By Allen Payton

In what amounts to a final blow to Antioch’s Measure T and the environmentalists’ efforts to stop the long-planned new home developments in the city’s Sand Creek area, on June 7, 2021, a Contra Costa Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Oak Hill Park Company in their lawsuit against the City of Antioch to prevent the council from implementing the provisions of the measure. The initiative’s full title was Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative (LAVD) and would have devalued Oak Hills’, Zeka Ranch’s and other neighboring property owners’ land by over 98%, downzoning it from two homes per acre to just one home per 80 acres.  Measure T Statement of Decision 060721

In his tentative ruling on June 2, 2021, Judge Edward G. Weil wrote, “The Court finds that the LAVD Initiative, with the exception of Section 22, conflicts with the Housing Crisis Act and is therefore void. The Court further finds that, with the exception of Section 22, the individual provisions of the LAVD Initiative are not volitionally severable. The Court finds that Section 22 is valid and enforceable.” 2021-06-02 Tentative Ruling of Oak Hill

That meant that other than Section 22, none of the other sections of the measure could be separated from the rest of the initiative and applied on their own. The Housing Crisis Act, known as SB330, which was signed into law on October 9, 2019 and went into effect on January 1, 2020, forbids cities from reducing the zoning of residential property until January 1, 2025, by either council action or citizen initiative.

Section 22 of the LAVD initiative reads, “The location of the Urban Limit Line enacted in Antioch Measure K on November 8, 2005, may be changed only by the voters.”

According to Weil’s final ruling, Section 1 of the LAVD Initiative identifies the following as two of the seven primary purposes of the Initiative: “maintains the existing urban limit line,” and “requires voter approval to change these safeguards.” In 2005, Antioch voters adopted Measure K establishing an Urban Limit Line. Under that measure, through December 31, 2020, only the voters could change the location of the Line. After that date, voter approval was not required. The measure’s language claimed, “maintaining voter approval beyond 2020 is in the best interests of Antioch residents.”

Had the judge not ruled in favor of severability of Section 22, the city council would have had the power to move the line from the current location, along the ridgeline on the back side of the former Roddy Ranch Golf Course. However, that part of the judge’s decision has no impact on the proposed developments in the Sand Creek area.

Save Mount Diablo Claims Victory on Urban Limit Line

In a press release by Save Mount Diablo on June 15, announcing the judge’s decision, the organization claimed a victory over the section about the Urban Limit Line. Measure T requires a vote of the people to change the boundaries. That is the only section of the measure the judge allowed to stand.

The group’s press release reads in part:


On June 7, 2021, Contra Costa Superior Court ruled on a legal challenge to Measure T, the “Let Antioch Voters Decide” initiative. Measure T was approved by 79 percent of Antioch voters in November 2020. The legal challenge, OAK HILL PARK CO. VS. THE CITY OF ANTIOCH, was filed by out-of-state developer Oak Hill Park LLC/Richfield in an attempt to strike down Measure T. Measure T included growth management provisions for the Sand Creek area in southeast Antioch and extended protections for the Antioch Urban Limit Line.

Part of Measure T was affirmed, and part was ruled in conflict with SB 330—a 2019 housing crisis law enacted after Measure T was qualified in 2018 but before the public voted in November 2020.

“Save Mount Diablo, the Antioch community, and our other good partners have been working to defend and protect the important open spaces of the Sand Creek Focus Area for years against various developers and lawsuits. This past November, 79 percent of Antioch voters approved our Measure T to give the Sand Creek area more protections,” said Ted Clement, Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director. “In the recent court ruling, our efforts were successful in saving the Antioch Urban Limit Line, which affords protections to Sand Creek, but other parts of Measure T were struck down. We are also proud that our Measure T gave Antioch voters a voice to express their clear desire that Sand Creek have more protections, and we hope Antioch officials will respect the overwhelming will of the people.”

After the election, in February 2021 Oak Hill Park LLC/Richfield once again challenged Measure T, based in part on SB 330. The state passed Senate Bill 330, the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, after the 2018 qualification of Measure T but before the November election. SB 330 established new rules about what initiatives and local jurisdictions can do to affect housing.

The court’s ruling finds that Measure T, with the exception of the provision extending the Urban Limit Line (ULL), conflicts with Senate Bill 330 and is therefore void. A requirement for a public vote for major development west of Kaiser Hospital and Deer Valley Road in the Sand Creek Focus Area, and a variety of development standards Measure T would have required, have been nullified.

However, the coalition’s efforts and Measure T saved the Antioch Urban Limit Line. The court preserved Measure T’s extension of Antioch’s Urban Limit Line, and the requirement that any changes to the Urban Limit Line must be approved by the voters. Without Measure T’s approval in November 2020, that voter approval requirement would have expired on December 31, 2020.

“Our coalition educated Antioch residents about the Sand Creek and Empire Mine Road area,” said Seth Adams, Save Mount Diablo’s Land Conservation Director. “We saved the Antioch Urban Limit Line, built a strong grassroots coalition, established greater concern within the city council about the Sand Creek area, and received a very strong 79 percent election result of public support to help with the next steps. We’re in this for the long run. The work continues. We will oppose Zeka and Richfield, defend Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve and Deer Valley Regional Park, and work to ensure that more of the Sand Creek area is protected.”

What Is SB 330?

SB 330 was signed into law by Governor Newsom in October 2019. It’s designed to speed up housing construction in California during the next half-decade by slashing the time it takes to obtain building permits, limiting fee increases on housing applications, and barring local governments from reducing the number of homes that can be built. Although it’s meant to encourage affordable housing, Antioch already provides more affordable housing than most cities.

The Antioch coalition qualified our initiative, and the Antioch City Council adopted it, long before SB 330 was signed into law. It was only because of lawsuits from developers Zeka Group and Oak Hill Park LLC/Richfield that our initiative was delayed until a judge sent our initiative to the November 2020 ballot, where we won in a 79 percent landslide. But by then, SB 330 had been signed.

Because of all this, we’ve known that some parts of Measure T might be struck down in court, and other parts might be “severed” and survive. Based on the court’s tentative ruling, that’s what’s happened.


Measure T has saved the Antioch Urban Limit Line. However, the rest of the initiative was struck down.


No Decision on Possible Appeal

Asked if Save Mount Diablo planned to appeal the judge’s decision, Adams responded, “No decision has been made. Can’t say at this point.”

City Council Discusses Lawsuit

During a special Conference with Legal Counsel on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, the Antioch City Council discussed the case of Oak Hill Park Company, vs. the City of Antioch, Contra Costa County Superior Court, Case No. N21-0048.

However, City Attorney Thomas Lloyd Smith said, “There was no reportable action on the item.”

Oak Hill Park Company Responds

In response to their lawsuit victory, Oak Hill Park Company’s attorney, Alicia Guerra, issued the following statement: “Oak Hill Park Company appreciates the Court’s thoughtful ruling invalidating almost every provision of the Initiative under the Housing Crisis Act, and looks forward to working with the City in the future.”

Oak Hill plans a 370-home project known as Bridle Hills, south of the 1,177-home The Ranch project approved by the city council, last year. The neighboring 338-home project, known as Zeka Ranch is planned for 200 of the 640 acres of the former Higgins Ranch property located on the closed Empire Mine Road, adjacent to the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve.

History of Sand Creek Area and Urban Limit Line

Plans for new homes in the Sand Creek area, formerly known as Future Urban Area-1 (FUA-1), have been underway since developers purchased the land in the 1990’s following voter adoption of the county-wide Urban Limit Line (ULL) in 1990, protecting 65% of the land in the county from subdivision development. In 2003, the Antioch City Council reduced the total number of homes allowed in the Sand Creek area from over 8,900 to 4,000. Of that figure, approximately 877 homes remain to be approved and built west of Deer Valley Road, which is the area the initiative would have affected. Another 640 homes planned for the Roddy Ranch development will no longer be built since that land was sold by Jack Roddy and his partners to the East Bay Regional Parks District several years ago, and is currently referred to as Deer Valley Regional Park.

In 2006 County voters passed Measure L, which extended the term of the ULL through 2026 and required a 2016 review to determine whether enough capacity existed inside the ULL to accommodate jobs and housing growth through 2036. The location of the county’s line matches that of the City of Antioch’s ULL.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch Council to vote on budgets, adding 17 positions but no more police, another cannabis business, tonight

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

City of Antioch projected General Fund Expenditures FY 2021-22. Source: City of Antioch

General Fund revenue increases by $5.6 and $8.7 million per year

Creates new Community Resources Department

Adds 7 more Code Enforcement Officers

L Street to finally be widened to four lanes from W. 10th to W. 18th Streets

Will vote on appointing youth members to city commissions and boards

By Allen Payton

During the Antioch City Council’s regular meeting, tonight, June 22, 2021, votes will be taken on the two-year budget of $222.8 million for fiscal year 2021-22 and $179.2 million for FY 2022-23. The General Fund budget, which pays for the police department and other services, projects an increase of $5.6 million next year and $8.7 million the following year. It creates a new Community Resources Department and adds 17 more positions including seven Code Enforcement Officers, but does not include any additional funding for more sworn police officers.

In addition, the council will consider approving the city’s fifth cannabis business and appointing youth, ages 14-17, to city commissions and boards. (See complete agenda)

City of Antioch projected General Fund Revenue and Sources for FY 2021-22. Source: City of Antioch

According to the staff report on the General Fund, “Measure W…comprises over 20% of annual revenues and will generate a projected $38,000,000 over the next two years.” That’s a $1 million annual increase next year and a $2 million increase the following year over the current year’s General Fund revenue.

Antioch Five-Year Capital Improvement Program budget for Fiscal Years 2022-26. Source: City of Antioch

The council will also vote on the Five-Year Capital Improvement Program budget which includes $15 million for the widening of L Street to four lanes between W. 10th and W. 18th Street. In addition, the CIP will fund needed repairs at the Antioch Water Park, among its many projects throughout the city totaling $216.2 million. The largest expenditure is for the new Brackish Water Desalination Plant.

New Department, 17 New Positions

The budget includes formation of a new Community Resources Department to oversee existing services, including Animal Services (currently under the Police Department), Unhoused Resident Coordinator (currently under the City Manager), Youth Network Services (currently under Recreation), Code Enforcement, CDBG services and Environmental Services (all currently under Community Development).

The budget also includes “the addition of seventeen (17) new positions throughout the City to enhance City services including:

o One (1) Community Resources Director for the new department dedicated to Community Resources and Public Safety.

o One (1) Assistant City Attorney that will significantly enhance the department’s capacity.

o Seven (7) additional Code Enforcement Officers for a total of fourteen (14).

o One (1) Community Development Technician position to support the seven additional Code Enforcement Officers approved.

o One (1) additional General Laborer (for a total of 5) that will primarily address downtown needs.

o One (1) Recreation Coordinator to assist Youth Services Network Division.

o One (1) Administrative Analyst to assist the Environmental Services group.

o One (1) full-time Unhoused Resident Coordinator.

o One (1) Administrative Analyst to support CDBG and Housing activities.

o One (1) Fleet Service Technician to assist with vehicle fleet maintenance.

o One (1) Water Treatment Plant Instrument Technician to assist with the upcoming Brackish Water Desalination Plant.”

No Funding for Additional Police

However, there is no funding for additional police officers included in the budget. Although the city’s goal has been 1.2 officers per thousand population since the mid-1990’s, the proposed budget keeps the level at 1.0 officers per thousand, with 115 sworn officers and a population of 112,848 according to the city staff report.

According to the budget report, “The City Council continues to authorize one hundred fifteen (115) sworn Police Officers in FY 2022-23, as well as six ‘over-hire’ positions to address timing delays associated with attrition.”

According to Police Chief T Brooks the two new officers added to the department on Monday brings the current force to 116 sworn officers. (See related article).

The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. and can be viewed at, on Comcast Channel 24, or AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.

Annual General Fund budget comparison. Source: City of Antioch

Public Comments

If you wish to provide a written public comment, you may do so any of the following ways by 3:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting: (1) Fill out an online speaker card, located at, or (2) Email the City Clerk’s Department at

To provide oral public comments during the meeting, click the following link to register in advance to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar: You may also provide an oral public comment by dialing (925) 776-3057. Please see inside cover for detailed Speaker Rules.

The City cannot guarantee that its network and/or the site will be uninterrupted. To ensure that the City Council receives your comments, you must submit your comments in writing by 3:00 p.m. the day of the City Council Meeting.

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 for the meeting.

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

– When called to speak, please limit your comments to the time allotted (350 words, up to 3 minutes, at the discretion of the Mayor).


Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch mayor, council members sign resolution apologizing for city’s past anti-Chinese hate during public ceremony

Thursday, June 17th, 2021

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe signs the council adopted resolution as other council members and representatives of Chinese and Asian American organizations look on, during the ceremony, Wednesday morning, June 17, 2021.

Joined by representatives of Chinese and Asian American organizations in Bay Area, State Controller Yee; APAPA donates $10,000 for exhibit at Antioch Historical Society museum

“It took 145 years to come to this day, to come to this reconciliation.” – Betty Yee, California State Controller

By Allen Payton

During a ceremony in what was once the location of Antioch’s Chinatown, Wednesday morning, June 17, 2021, Mayor Lamar Thorpe and council members signed the resolution they adopted in May, apologizing for the city’s residents for their racism against Chinese immigrants in the late 1800’s. That included the burning down of the city’s Chinatown in 1876.

During the May 18, 2021 meeting, the council voted 5-0 to pass the resolution entitled “Resolution of the city council of the City of Antioch apologizing to early Chinese immigrants and their descendants for acts of fundamental injustice, seeking forgiveness and committing to rectification of past misdeeds.” (See related articles here and here)

The council members were joined by representatives of Bay Area Chinese and Asian American organizations, as well as State Controller Betty Yee who participated by Zoom. The signed resolutions were presented to each.

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe is joined by fellow council members and representatives of Chinese and Asian American organizations for the Wednesday morning resolution signing ceremony in Waldie Plaza.

Yee was the keynote speaker, noting the fact that her parents are from the same Guangdong Province in China as were many of Antioch’s Chinese residents of the 1800’s.

Thorpe welcomed those in attendance “to the new Antioch, where opportunity lives for all of the world’s people, cultures, and more.”

“I know for some cultures and ethnic groups Antioch hasn’t always been a place of opportunity, hasn’t always been a place of open arms, and hasn’t always been a place of acceptance. And, we still fight through some of those issues today,” he continued. “But as we mature as a city, we gain perspective, build understanding, and, most importantly, increase our capacity to seek forgiveness.”

“Today, we ceremoniously begin that process of reconciliation with our early Chinese American residents, their descendants, and the larger AAPI community for our past misdeeds that helped build a culture in our country that led to the rise in hate crimes stemming from the COVID 19 pandemic,” Thorpe stated. “Like the ending of the pandemic, today, we, the City of Antioch, take our dose of humility by acknowledging our troubled past and seeking forgiveness.”

“I recognize there are many groups in our community who are just as deserving of an apology from their local, state and national government. I know, I am a member of such groups,” the mayor shared. “However, given the national awakening that has spun out of anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander hate, it’s critically important that we do this, now.”

Contra Costa Community College District Board President Andy Li, the first Asian American elected to the board, spoke next, thanking the mayor and council for their action “to make Antioch the first to apologize to early Chinese immigrants. Today is an historic day…for the resolution to be signed. I hope our ancestors in heaven can now rest in peace.”

“It sends a very clear message to the people of the United States that this is a country for all,” he continued. “145 years have passed, and the lives of Chinese Americans have improved. But today…we are told to go back to our country. Let’s be clear. This is my country.”

Li then cited the pledge of allegiance.

Edward Tepporn of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation said, “what happened in Antioch happened in other cities across the country.”

He spoke of how Chinese immigrants were treated differently than other immigrants, with many having to strip naked and answer hundreds of questions.

“Today, we add Mayor Lamar Thorpe and the City of Antioch to the list of those shining bright and standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity,” Tepporn added.

Thorpe, who was joined by Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson, District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker and District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica, then said, “I thought I would have the other council members who voted for the resolution sign it.”

Her shared that District 3 Councilwoman “Lori Ogorchock couldn’t be here. Her grandson is visiting so her time is tied up.”

We have made commitments to fund the Antioch Historical Society and to designate this area as Antioch’ historic Chinatown,” Thorpe shared, speaking of Waldie Plaza in the city’s historic Rivertown District, where the ceremony was held.

As Thorpe reads the resolution, Douglas Hsia of the Locke Foundation in the California Delta bowed his head as a sign of reverence and respect.

Thorpe Reads Resolution, Representative Bows

As Thorpe read the resolution, Douglas Hsia of the Locke Foundation in the California Delta bowed his head in a sign of reverence and respect.


WHEREAS, on January 24, 1848, gold was discovered in Alta California, Mex(ico) and by 1849, people were coming to the region from all over the world to look for gold;

WHEREAS, the Gold Rush caused a huge increase in the population by migrants from the eastern United States and other parts of the world including China;

WHEREAS, between 1849 and 1853 about 24,000 young Chinese men immigrated to Alta California, Mex(ico) (which in 1850 became the United States, State of California) and by 1870 there were an estimated 63,000 Chinese in the United States, 77% of whom resided in California;

WHEREAS, many Chinese immigrants were met with racism, scapegoating and anti-Chinese sentiment also known as xenophobia, which was at its highest between 1850 and 1870;

WHEREAS, Antioch in its early years was not exempt from xenophobia;

WHEREAS, this period in Antioch’s history, like in most of America, is now known as the “The Driving Out” with forced removals of Chinese immigrants;

WHEREAS, during “The Driving Out” period, Antioch officially became a “Sundown Town” when it banned Chinese residents from walking city streets after sunset;

WHEREAS, in order to get from their jobs to their homes each evening, these Chinese residents built a series of tunnels connecting the business district to where I Street met the waterfront;

WHEREAS, in 1876 Chinese residents were told by white mobs that they had until 3 p.m. to leave Antioch— no exceptions;

WHEREAS, after Chinese residents were forced out, Chinatown was burned to the ground and Antioch made headline news: “The Caucasian torch,” wrote the Sacramento Bee, “lighted the way of the heathen out of the wilderness,” and “The actions of the citizens of this place will, without doubt, meet with the hearty approval of every man, woman and child on the Pacific coast” wrote the San Francisco Chronicle;

WHEREAS, Antioch’s early period helped negatively contribute to the Nation’s xenophobic discourse, which led to legal discrimination in public policy with the establishment of the Chinese Exclusion Act;

WHEREAS, the system of “The Driving Out” and the visceral racism against persons of Chinese descent upon which it depended became entrenched in the City’s, the State’s and the Nation’s social fabric;

WHEREAS, the story of Chinese immigrants and the dehumanizing atrocities committed against them should not be purged from or minimized in the telling of Antioch’s history;

WHEREAS, the City of Antioch must acknowledge that the legacy of early Chinese immigrants and Xenophobia are part of our collective consciousness that helps contribute to the current anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander hate;

WHEREAS, a genuine apology and seeking forgiveness are an important and necessary first step in the process of racial reconciliation;

WHEREAS, an apology for dehumanization and injustices cannot erase the past, but admission of the wrongs committed can speed racial healing and reconciliation and help confront the ghosts of the City’s past;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Antioch:

1) Apologizes to all early Chinese immigrants and their descendants who came to Antioch and were unwelcome;

2) Seeks forgiveness for acts of fundamental injustice, terror, cruelty, and brutality; and

3) Expresses its commitment to rectify the lingering consequences of the misdeeds committed against early Chinese immigrant under, before and during “The Driving Out.”

* * * * * * * * *

I HEREBY CERTIFY that the foregoing resolution was passed and adopted by the City Council of the City of Antioch at a special meeting thereof, held on the 18th day of May, 2021 by the following vote:





Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson and Councilmembers Tamisha Torres-Walker and Mike Barbanica sign copies of the resolution as representatives of the Chinese and Asian American organizations look on.

Council Members Sign Copies of Resolution

The mayor and council members then signed eight copies of the resolution which were presented to representatives of each of the organizations in attendance, including Tepporn, Justin Hoover, Executive Director of the Chinese Historical Society of America, C.C. and Regina Yin, and Joel Wong of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA), Douglas Hsia of the Locke Foundation in the California Delta, as well as Hans Ho and Linda Walgren of the Antioch Historical Society.

Mayor Thorpe presents a copy of the signed resolution to Antioch Historical Society representatives Linda Walgren and Hans Ho.

“I just want to say how important it is to have solidarity with other groups…to be with this amazing event today to honor those who were wronged,” Hoover shared. He then thanked the mayor and council for the resolution.

Walgren, Secretary of the Board of Directors on behalf of president Dwayne Eubanks spoke next saying, We are interested in all the people’s history in Antioch.”

“I want to thank the mayor and city council for an extremely brave act in signing this proclamation” Ho said as he got choked up and had tears come to his eyes.” It is an uncomfortable part of our history.”

Hsia said he was glad to be part of the ceremony and thought it appropriate his organization was represented since “San Francisco marked the beginning and Locke marks the beginning of the end of the Chinese immigration.”

“I thank Mayor Thorpe,” Hsia continued. “His actions today, have made America better for everyone.”

State Controller Betty Yee participated via Zoom.

Yee offered her keynote address for the ceremony saying, “This is such an important, historic day. It is a personally meaningful day for me. I have to harken back to some of the sentiments of the day…which was the anti-Asian sentiment. We are standing locked arm in arm fighting this virus of hate.”

“Today, we’re recognizing the stains of Antioch…and look at how we are going to model reconciliation…so our community can heal from all the dark chapters of the Chinese American experience,” she continued. “The Asian hate, today, has its roots in what happened, here in Antioch.”

“I want to thank the City of Antioch for not just making this a one-day occasion…but that we will be reminded of it in our museums. It’s only through understanding that we truly understand our place in time, today,” Yee stated. “It took 145 years to come to this day, to come to this reconciliation. The number of the resolution, 88 is a very important number in Chinese culture…of good fortune.”

“This is a day of celebration, but a day to remember our work is not done,” she said. “It is so significant when it happens in cities like Antioch. It’s so easy to sweep it under the rug. We know this is a hopeful day of a new chapter of relations.”

“I’m so thankful to be part of this historic day,” said Antioch School Board President Ellie Householder, who served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the event.

C.C. Yin founder of APAPA speaks, as his wife, Regina (left) Joel Wong, Edward Tepporn, Andy Li, Councilwoman Torres-Walker and Mayor Pro Tem Wilson listen.

APAPA founder C.C. Yin said, “this is a very important historic moment. The first time in California history for a city to stand up.”

He presented the mayor and council members with APAPA logo shirts as gifts, as well as McDonald’s logo hats from he and his wife’s franchise.

He shared that “Regina Yin is donating $10,000 from the APAPA foundation to the City of Antioch.”

“Andy told us to do that,” she said with a smile.

“I was very moved by the mayor’s comments,” Regina Yin stated. “This country gave C.C. and me the opportunity to open a McDonald’s franchise. I have had the opportunity to open a business and to give back.”

She thanked the mayor for “A sincere apology.”

“Sixty years ago I came as an immigrant,” C.C. Yin stated. “This is our country. We love it. We have fulfilled our dreams ten times. The past is learning for tomorrow. We have double responsibility to build a better country, a better government. Antioch…this is what I call American spirit.”

Street Renaming and Reparations

Asked about the idea of renaming First Street to Chinatown Way, as proposed by a Rivertown business owner, Thorpe said he was not familiar with that but the council would consider it.
Asked about reparations for the descendants of the property owners who were burned out, and if there had been any research done  on that,  yet, he said “we are working with City Manager Ron Bernal and the historical society in the process of securing a consultant.”

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch council to consider first in region Bicycle Garden during Tuesday night meeting

Monday, May 24th, 2021

Screenshot of Bicycle Garden concept video.

14-item agenda begins with 5-year Capital Improvement Program study session, followed by presentation of Rivertown Dining District marketing program, adopting a Water Shortage Contingency Plan, more youth development programs such as All Inclusive Parks, plus easing restrictions on home occupations, expanding ban on smoking, giving city manager 15% pay raise

By Allen Payton

During their regular meeting on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 the Antioch City Council will once again deal with 14 agenda items, as they did during last week’s special meeting. They include a study session on the 5-Year Capital Improvement Program beginning at 5:00 p.m., followed by a presentation on marketing for the new Rivertown Dining District, adopting a water shortage contingency plan, plus multiple youth development programs.

The council will also consider easing restrictions on home-based businesses, allowing for light manufacturing, such as crafts and other items that are sold on websites such as Etsy, as well as expanding the ban on smoking to include e-cigarettes. Finally, the council will consider increasing City Manager Ron Bernal’s annual salary by 15% to $293,712  which “reflects a positive review”, according to the staff report.

Water Management

The council will consider adopting a Water Shortage Contingency Plan (WSCP) as part of the 2020 Urban Water Management Plan Update which will be submitted to the California Department of Water Resources. According to the city staff report, while the WSCP is done each year, this year the city must now provide information not previously required. That includes a description of the process for an annual water supply reliability assessment, five-year drought risk assessment, six water shortage levels and a seismic risk and assessment plan, among others.

Bicycle Garden rendering. From council presentation by CCTA and Safe Streets.

Bicycle Garden

The youth development programs the council will be discussing include a Bicycle Garden, in coordination with the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and the Street Smarts Diablo Region Safe Routes to Schools program. (See concept videoBicycle Garden presentation

According to the city staff report the proposed development of a state-of-the-art Bicycle Garden in Antioch would be the first of its kind in the region and is expected to be completed via public-private partnership funding. The Bicycle Garden would be a permanent, hands-on bicycle training facility fully contained within an existing Antioch park.

Bicycle Garden rendering.

Designed like a miniature city streetscape, the Garden would provide a safe place for youth and adults to ride bikes and learn the rules-of-the-road. The park would consist of small roads that weave in and around landscaped areas with smaller scaled versions of real-life traffic features including signals, traffic signs, road markings, bus stops, bike lanes, train tracks, etc.

In addition to open and free public use by individuals and families, the Bicycle Garden could provide a variety of programming opportunities for the City of Antioch: school field trips, classes for children, teens, and adults of all ages and abilities; summer camp modules, community biking and safety events, private party rentals, and more.

The Antioch Bicycle Garden will serve four goals:

  • SAFETY: Serve as the gold standard model for bicycle safety education, work toward a regional Vision Zero goal of eliminating fatal and severe traffic collisions involving bicyclists and pedestrians; and provide hands-on bicycle, pedestrian, and driver safety education designed for both programmed and independent learning in a comfortable, fun, permanent, and car-free facility.
  • COMMUNITY HEALTH: Increase and support community building, exercise, outdoor recreation options, and social and emotional well-being for youth and adults while instilling a “culture of bicycling” in Antioch, and the region.
  • CLIMATE CHANGE: Improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by inspiring community members to replace vehicle trips to/from schools and other community destinations with bicycling or walking.
  • EQUITY: Ensure equitable, safe, and no-cost access to the facility for all members of the public, including youth and adults of all ages and abilities.

From Antioch City Council presentation by Gates + Associates.

All Inclusive Parks

The council will also be provided a presentation on All Inclusive Parks, expanding on the All Abilities Playground at Prewett Family Park. They will then discuss and provide direction to staff on a park design policy. All Inclusive Parks presentation

The regular council meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. See the complete agenda.

Public Comments

Members of the public wishing to provide public comment may do so by 5:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting in the following ways (#2 pertains to the Zoom Webinar):

  1. Fill out an online speaker card located at:
  2. Provide oral public comments during the meeting by clicking the following link to register by 5:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting, 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: Please ensure your Zoom client is updated so staff can enable your microphone when it is your turn to speak.
  3. Email comments to by 5:00 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, General Comment, or a specific Agenda Item number. All emails received by 5:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting will be entered into the record for the meeting.



Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter