Archive for the ‘City Council’ Category

Antioch Council adopts three more police reforms, homeless resident services guidelines

Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

The Antioch City Council and city clerk included a new timer for public comments during their meeting on Tuesday, April 27, 2021. Video screenshot.

With little to no discussion council on final resolutions council approves police lateral hiring disqualifying factors, training matrix additions and notification protocol;  uses new on-screen timer for public comments.

By Allen Payton

During their meeting Tuesday night, April 27, 2021, the Antioch City Council voted to approve three additional police reforms and homeless services guidelines all on 5-0 votes. But before dealing with the major issues on the agenda, when addressing the proclamation entitled Honoring Our Elders Month, May 2021, Thorpe was severely criticized during public comments and responded with a dig at those who made them. He said, “OK. While others continue to live in the past, we will move on to the next proclamation.” Following the mayor’s comments, District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker smirked.

Although the reforms were discussed during their marathon meeting on February 26, there was little to no discussion by council members on the final resolutions they adopted during the Tuesday meeting. Nor were any findings offered by council members or staff to demonstrate the need for the reforms. (See related article)

As part of the consent calendar, the council also voted 5-0 to approve spending an additional $60,000 on homelessness consultant Focus Strategies. Asked why, when the city has already hired an Unhoused Resident Coordinator, District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock responded, “to get all the programs in place.” Unhoused Resident Consultant Contract Extension

Approve Disqualifying Factors for Lateral Police Hires

With just a few public comments and no discussion by council members, but after staff conferred with the two Antioch Police Department bargaining units, the resolution adopting disqualifying factors for lateral police hires was approved on a 5-0 vote, with a rare time that District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica moved approval and District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock seconding the motion of one of Thorpe’s police reforms. APD Disqualifying Factors for Lateral Hires

Approve Training Matrix Additions

Following a few comments by the public, mostly in support but one opposing, the council took up the issue of adding language  to the Antioch Police Department’s training matrix, which will include annual, public review by the city council. APD Officer Training Matrix topics

“Having all the good police officers I’ve ever met, they always want more training, and I support more training,” Barbanica said before making a motion to approve and Ogorchock seconding, again.

“Implicit bias, effectively is racial bias training, isn’t it?” Thorpe asked Police Chief T Brooks before the vote.

“They’re separate. Racial bias could be more of an explicit bias. They’re similar. But they can be separate,” Brooks responded.

One of the other additions that will be required in the training matrix for Antioch police officers is procedural justice. According to the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services, procedural justice is based on four pillars: fairness in the processes, transparency in actions, opportunities for voice and impartiality in decision making.

The motion passed 5-0.

Notification Protocol Approved

Following a few public comments, including members of Angelo Quinto’s family asking for public communication to be included in the protocol, Barbanica made a motion to formally approve disqualifying factors associated with the lateral hiring of officers by the Antioch Police Department. However, no public notification requirements were included in the protocol. Those will be considered later, according to Thorpe. APD Notification Protocol 

The motion was approved on a 5-0 vote.

Approve Unhoused Resident Services Policy Guidelines

After the city council set aside $531,174 for new homelessness response efforts in November 2019 – with $140,000 already allocated for mobile showers and toilets, trash and sharps disposal, laundry services, motel vouchers, and pilots for safe parking programs and warming centers – and accepting five FEMA trailers that remain unused, hiring an Unhoused Resident Coordinator and contracting with a consultant at a cost of $133,000 so far, the council finally adopted policy guidelines for unhoused resident services. Antioch Policy Guidelines for Unhoused Resident Services

“This is essentially a first step,” Barbanica said. “To identify and bring services in and get people into housing. Does this include renting a hotel for housing? It does not.”

“We are trying to put together a pathway,” he continued. “This is how do we help people, right now, today hopefully get into long-term housing.”

“I think that, my belief is we need our own CORE Team and I ask that be added to the budget,” Ogorchock stated.

With no more discussion, Barbanica moved approval of the guidelines, with Ogorchock offering the second. The motion passed on a 5-0 vote.

The council then discussed additional homeless related ideas including a human rights commission, all of which will be considered in committee.

 

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Antioch council to consider more police reforms, spending $60,000 more for homelessness consultant Tuesday night

Monday, April 26th, 2021

Training matrix additions to include “implicit bias training”, how to deal with “historically marginalized persons”

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, the Antioch City Council will consider three more police reform proposals, including disqualifying factors for lateral hires, adding specific topics into the training matrix of sworn officers and the previously discussed protocol for notifying council members. In addition, the council will consider three issues intended to deal with the city’s homeless population, including spending $60,000 more on a contract with Focus Strategies. (See meeting agenda)

Items 8, 9 and 10 are on the police reform matters and items J on the Consent Calendar, and 11 and 12 are on the unhoused resident matters. APD Disqualifying Factors for Lateral Hires   APD Officer Training Matrix topics   APD Notification Protocol   Unhoused Resident Consultant Contract Extension

The proposed additions the police training matrix are as follows:

UPDATE: At about 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Mayor Lamar Thorpe, who is the main proponent of the reform measures, was asked the following questions via email: regarding the proposed reforms on adding language to the training matrix, have APD officers been getting complaints in their interactions with “historically marginalized persons”? Also, why the addition of implicit bias training, which according to reports isn’t working in other departments? Doesn’t it imply that Antioch police officers are racially biased and act on it when interacting with people of color? Is there any data from the APD that demonstrates the need for this additional language in the training matrix? Again, I remind you that you signed a pledge last year to base your reform proposals on findings. So, what are the findings?

Similar questions were emailed to Antioch Police Officers Association President Jason Vanderpool at about the same time.

As of 9:20 p.m. Monday night, neither had responded. Please check back later for their responses and any other updates to this report.

Prior to their regular meeting at 7:00 p.m., the council will hold a budget study session beginning at 5:30 p.m.

If you wish to provide a written public comment, you may do so any of the following ways by 3:30 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting: (1) Fill out an online speaker card, located at www.antiochca.gov/speaker_card, or (2) Email the City Clerk’s Department at cityclerk@ci.antioch.ca.us.

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

To ensure that the City Council receives your comments, you must submit your comments in writing by 3:30 p.m. the day of the City Council Meeting.

Members of the public seeking to observe the meeting may do so at www.antiochca.gov/live_stream, on Comcast Channel 24, or AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.

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Police investigate large early Sunday morning sideshows in Antioch

Monday, April 19th, 2021

A large sideshow was  held in Antioch at the Lone Tree Way and Bluerock Drive/Golf Course Road intersection early Sunday morning, April 18, 2021. Photos by Sharron Scott.

150 cars; Mayor condemns them as “dangerous”; councilwoman attends one, claims they were to honor the life of teen shot, killed Saturday evening, says they probably saved lives”; started in Pittsburg continued to Brentwood

By Allen Payton

According to reports by Antioch residents on social media, there were two car sideshows that attracted 100’s of people, early Sunday morning. Dawn Clark posted in a Facebook group the following, “Antioch: who else was awake at 1:30 am because cars revving their engines, squealing tires doing donuts and a large group cheering them on. It went beyond 2 am.”

A video of a sideshow at the Lone Tree Way and Bluerock Drive/Golf Course Road intersection and photos were posted by resident Sharron Q. Scott on Facebook showing the size of the crowd and some cars spinning “donuts” and burning rubber in the intersection. Scott claimed to have called the police, but they didn’t respond. Efforts to reach the Antioch Police for details about the incidents on Sunday were unsuccessful. However, APD Public Information Officer Lt. Tara Mendez responded, Monday afternoon.

“There were sideshows in three different locations. It started in Pittsburg, then to Antioch, then to Brentwood,” Mendez said. “In Antioch there were two locations, one at 18th and A Streets and the other was at Lone Tree Way and the Blue Rock Drive and Golf Course Road intersection.”

Asked if the police responded and what occurred she responded, “When you have crowds of that magnitude, and that kind of event, you have to get onto those at the beginning. When people start to scatter the public safety impact is huge.”

“All of our lines were full of people calling them in. We did respond to the events, but we were not able to respond in the way necessary,” Mendez continued. “These events are under investigation. We have videos, we have pictures.”

Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker posted this photo of the Lone Tree Way sideshow on Facebook on Sunday, April 18, 2021.

District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker who attended the sideshow on Lone Tree Way responded to comments on Facebook writing, “a 16 year old was killed yesterday this was their was (way) of honoring his life and mourning his death. As dangerous as it is fortunately this event probably saved lives last night lets hope more violence doesn’t follow.”

In response to her explanation Scott Truitt asked in a comment, “you’re joking right? You’re making excuses for this?” Torres-Walker responded, “I don’t make excuse [sic] I was simply saying it was this or the alternative which was more violence. And why are you coming after me what have you done to stop this mess besides complain. You don’t know how bad it can get keep trying to make me the problem instead of getting up and doing something to prevent this remember I just got here what [sic] your excuse.”

Torres-Walker’s comments on Facebook on Sunday, April 18, 2021.

A resident’s message on Facebook to Thorpe regarding Torres-Walker and the sideshows on Sunday, April 18, 2021

In a post on Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe’s social media page, a resident wrote, “my daughter in laws [sic] father died as ambulance could not get to him on time. Ken Smith was his name, he was 50 yrs old out of Brentwood. The ambulance could not get to him because of the side shows in area.”

A call to East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Public Information Officer and Fire Marshall Steve Aubert asking for verification of that information was not returned prior to publication time.

In emails to Torres-Walker on Sunday she was asked, how do you know that the reason for the sideshows was the shooting death of the Antioch teen Saturday evening, please? Did you speak to anyone who was at one or more of the sideshows? Did Antioch Police Officers tell you that? Or did you get that info from social media?

She was later emailed, “Someone claimed on Facebook, today that you were in attendance at the sideshows, last night. Is that true? Were you in attendance at one or more of them? If so, why? And did you call the police about them? If so, please provide the details. If not, please explain why.

Then the Herald obtained the screenshot of her social media interaction, in which she posted a photo from the sideshow on Lone Tree Way and wrote, “was curious so stepped out and APD is outnumbered tonight over 100 cars.”

On Monday, Torres-Walker was asked via email about the photo she posted from the sideshow on Lone Tree Way, “did you call police or were they already on the scene when you arrived? What time did you arrive there, please?”

She did not respond to any of the questions prior to publication time.

Thorpe also commented about the sideshows, condemning them as dangerous in a post on his Mayor’s Facebook page, Sunday afternoon, writing, “Early this morning I reached out to Acting Police Chief Tony Morefield concerning a large sideshow in East County.

Around 12:40 am, a large sideshow that consisted of approximately 60-80 vehicles came into Antioch after hitting Pittsburg earlier in the evening.

While in Antioch, they took over the intersection of E. 18th and A Street. The crowd set off aerial fireworks and encircled the intersection. There were approximately 200 spectators.

A drone was used to capture the sideshow and several license plates. This angered some of the spectators who tried to down the drone with high powered lasers.

The same crowd then moved to Lone Tree Way and Golf Course Road. Next, they moved to Brentwood. A criminal investigation is underway. For those inconvenienced, please know our police department is working to hold those responsible accountable.

While these large-scale side shows are not common in Antioch, smaller sideshows seem very common. I’m sure you’ve seen the tire marks. Therefore, as part of the upcoming budget process, Councilmember Mike Barbanica and I will be advancing measures to curtail sideshows by investing in small roundabouts at neighborhood intersections that seem to be magnets for small sideshows.

***Sideshows are DANGEROUS and have claimed lives unnecessarily including in Antioch***”

The final side show was reported to be on Sand Creek Road near The Streets of Brentwood shopping center.

Antioch Police Press Release

A Monday evening press release by Lieutenant Powell Meads of the Antioch Police Field Services Division reported that, “On April 18, 2021, at approximately 12:31 AM, the Antioch Police Department received a BOLO (Be on the Lookout) from the Pittsburg Police Department regarding a large sideshow that was occurring in Pittsburg, with the participants possibly heading towards Antioch. At approximately 12:41 AM, APD began receiving numerous reports of sideshow type activity as a group of approximately 150 vehicles made their way from Pittsburg to the intersection of 18th Street and “A” Street in Antioch. Once at that intersection, all directions of traffic were blocked by vehicles and spectators as a large-scale side show took place.

The large group then drove to the intersection of Lone Tree Way and Golf Course Road, where they overtook the entire intersection, and another sideshow took place. The group then proceeded eastbound and left the city limits.

Antioch officers were limited in their immediate response due to the overwhelming number of participants in the illegal sideshow. The investigation has been turned over to the Antioch Police Department’s Traffic Bureau. They are currently collecting and reviewing surveillance video and drone footage to assist in the identification of those who participated in the sideshow.

Anyone with further information or who witnessed the sideshow is asked to contact Sergeant Chang at (925)779-6864 or apdtraffic@antiochca.gov. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

UPDATE: Barbanica Offers Comments, Claims An Additional Sideshow Occurred in Antioch

In a post on his council Facebook page Monday night, District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica wrote, “Early Sunday morning I learned of the sideshows that occurred at Somersville and Delta Fair, E 18th and A, Lone Tree at Blue Rock and then Brentwood. As you may recall, I have been opposed to sideshows and talked about them before and after the election. My position has not changed.

Several months ago, I started reaching out to police agencies. I obtained information on how other agencies are handling them and even writing warrants to impound vehicles, even after the sideshow, putting the warrant information into the system and taking cars for 30 days. All of this information was passed on to APD.

This morning I called A/Chief Morefield. He confirmed to me that this warrant process is still taking place and that the sideshows from this weekend are under investigation and the possibility of pursuing charges is very real, including vehicle impounds.

I also reached out to Assemblyman Jim Frazier about this and asked about strengthening some laws to include using technology to identify those involved. He was very helpful in connecting me with the local Commander of CHP who is looking into some legislative opinions on sideshows through their state liaison in Sacramento. I want our city to have every disposable means to put a stop to this.

Today I was asked by the press to respond to this and what I thought about sideshows. I was also specifically asked about roundabouts and my thoughts. Here is what I told them:

Sideshows can be very dangerous for our community, not only to the people participating, but also the people that are watching. We have all seen videos of people injured at these shows, at times seriously injured. Approx. two years ago I got caught up in a sideshow while picking someone up from the Oakland Airport and after about 20 minutes we all had to drive over center medians to get through the area. We need to remember the family that is rushing to an emergency in a car that can’t get through and nobody knows they are sitting and waiting. One of our local sideshows this weekend was just a few blocks from a hospital and we just can’t have this here or any other location within our community.

In terms of roundabouts, I am not opposed, but we have to realize that we are in a large community and where do they stop. We have a lot of intersections. At this point, all options are on the table and I would like to meet with Traffic Engineering to listen to their ideas, but enforcement is a reality to these events.”

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

 

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

 

 

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Antioch Mayor proposes formal apology, historic recognition for city’s Chinatown being burned down in 1870’s

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe held a press conference with other local officials and community leaders denouncing anti-Asian hate and announcing proposals for recognizing the history of Chinese in Antioch, including the racist attacks against them in the late 1800’s.

Signs proclamation denouncing anti-Asian racism; also proposes youth mural project

By Allen Payton

During a press conference held Wednesday morning, April 14, 2021, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe proposed a resolution formally apologizing for the burning down of the city’s Chinatown in 1876, a historic district in the area of the city’s downtown where it was located and funding a permanent display in the Antioch Historical Society Museum, and an historic mural project by Antioch youth. In addition, he signed the proclamation adopted by the city council during last night’s meeting denouncing anti-Asian racism. (See video of press conference)

Thorpe also mentioned an incident that occurred, yesterday an attack against two Asian women outside the County Market, the city’s largest Asian grocery store. According to Antioch Police Chief T Brooks, it was a strong arm robbery. More details will be released, today.

Community College Board Trustee Andy Li is presented with the proclamation by Mayor Thorpe during the press conference on Wednesday.

Following is the PROCLAMATION DENOUNCING ANTI-ASIAN RACISM

Unanimously approved by the Antioch City Council on April 13, 2021

WHEREAS, Antioch is home to diverse communities and has been for many generations;

WHEREAS, we are disturbed and alarmed by the severity and frequency of hate crimes and race-based harassment against Asians and the Asian Pacific Islander Communities associated with COVID-19;

WHEREAS, the Asian-American experience in the Bay Area is a complex and multi-faceted history; WHEREAS, the first major wave of Asians came to the Bay Area during the Gold Rush and many worked on the transcontinental railroad in the nineteenth century and were met with racial hostility and animosity;

WHEREAS, in 1876, Antioch’s Chinatown was burned down and it later became Waldie Plaza. People of Chinese heritage were banned from walking Antioch City streets after sunset;

WHEREAS, during the late-nineteenth century, anti-Chinese sentiment resulted in conflict and extremely restrictive regulations and norms concerning where Asian Americans could live and in which occupations they could work, which were often enforced with violence;

WHEREAS, today, there are nearly 1.7 million Asians in the Bay Area, constituting nearly 24 percent of the overall population. We pledge to not repeat the egregious acts of discrimination in past and present history;

WHEREAS, having Chinese ancestry – or any other ancestry – does not make a person more vulnerable to COVID-19. No race, nationality or ethnicity is responsible for COVID-19;

WHEREAS, ignorance is the lifeblood of conspiracies that hamper our ability to fight the pandemic and endanger the most vulnerable; and

WHEREAS, the City of Antioch recognizes the negative impact of institutional and structural racism, past and present.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, LAMAR A. THORPE, Mayor of the City of Antioch, do hereby proclaim that racism against Asians and Asian Americans shall not be tolerated in any form, AND we stand in support of individuals and communities targeted by association with COVID-19, AND we urge everyone to interrupt instances of racisms and

intolerance by speaking up in support of equity, justice, and inclusion.

LAMAR A. THORPE, Mayor

The mayor then presented the signed proclamation to Andi Li, Area 4 Representative on the Contra Costa Community College District Board of Trustees. Li thanked the mayor and council for the proclamation and shared some additional history of Chinese residents in Antioch and the U.S. helping build the transcontinental railroad and the levees in the Delta.

“Thank you, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe and the city council, for joining many other government entities and passing the resolution to condemn anti-Asian hate crimes. Thank you, Antioch residents for supporting the API community.  I am very honored to accept the resolution,” Li said. “In America, the overall hate crime rate decreased by 7% in 2020, but against Asian Americans, it increased by 160%.  It created hardship for many Asian families including my family. The resolution is very important for Asian Pacific Islanders, especially those living in Antioch.  It let us see the support from the community during this hardship. So, thank you very much.”

Thorpe’s Proposals

Dwayne Eubanks, president of the Antioch Historical Society spoke about a permanent display at the museum.

Thorpe proposed “funding some sort of permanent exhibit at the Antioch Historical Society Museum.”

Dwayne Eubanks, president of the society spoke of “a permanent program with exhibits to examine our past. May is Asian Pacific Islander Month and we will be having displays.”

According to Stan Davis, Treasurer of the Historical Society, as well as the city’s former Director of Public Works and City Engineer, who has lived here since 1964, no previous mayor or council has proposed an apology for the past anti-Chinese racism and burning down of Antioch’s Chinatown that he’s aware of.

The mayor also proposed the city “designate a Chinatown Historic District with appropriate signage and story which timelines what happened, here for residents to enjoy and others to come to our community to enjoy.”

Former Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts, who is president of the Rivertown Preservation Society, then spoke saying, “today we take the first step in recognizing a difficult part of our city’s history.” Following are her prepared remarks:

“On behalf of the Rivertown Preservation Society I am proud to be here today as we gather to ensure that the past and present story of Antioch is one that acknowledges our complex history and generations of diverse populations that built our community. Some may say that what happened in the past has no effect on who we are today. We believe this to be incorrect and that to the contrary, to not acknowledge the wrongs or intolerances of yesterday, can only make more plausible that they may happen again.  When we speak of atrocities such as 9/11 or Nazi concentration camps, for those that experienced these times, they will tell you to never forget.  To not remember, to not discuss, to not teach about acts that caused great pain, and human despair, we are most likely doomed to repeat.  Whether it effects a nation or a small community, memorializing difficult times and times of great celebration should be and frankly must be part of our story.

So, today the City of Antioch takes a first step in remembering a very tough part of our history, of our Chinese residents who were so instrumental in building our Antioch community and communities of the bay area and state of California. And what makes this acknowledgment and proclamation important and of even more significance is the intolerable hate that has most recently befallen our Asian communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Here, in Antioch, we will fight against racism and intolerance against people of all ethnicities and fight for equity, justice and inclusion and by doing so we will never forget.”

“Our Parks and Recreation Commission will play a role as well,” Thorpe said. Marie Arce, chair of the commission then spoke briefly of “acknowledging our wrongdoings”.

To “engage our youth” Thorpe then proposed “a downtown mural project that recognizes our Chinese American residents’ contributions to the community.”

Antioch School Board Vice President, Dr. Clyde Lewis spoke next, saying “in order for us to understand ourselves, where we want to be, we have to look at where we’ve been.” He wants to have an “encouraging conversation in moving our community forward.” Lewis spoke of his own family, his wife and children, who are of the AAPI community.

Thorpe then introduced District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker, and mentioned Lewis and Eubanks, saying, “as African Americans, we know the pain of not having your government acknowledge” and offering “no apologies, no reparations…for historical wrongs.”

District 1 Antioch Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker shared her thoughts during the press conference.

His fourth proposal was for “advancing a resolution that officially apologizes for the terrorizing of our Chinese residents.” That will require formal council approval and Thorpe said he will place it on a future council agenda.

Torres-Walker spoke next saying, “I stand here, today as a Black Latina in solidarity with the API community against all racial hate and harm. What side of history are we on in Antioch, in the Bay Area and across our country? We stand here before you to recognize a moment in time. We are not born hateful. Hate is learned. Antioch has chosen to rise from the ashes of a horrible past into a more inclusive future. To move forward in the future where we are not defined by our past. We have got to do differently in the City of Antioch for communities of color and poor communities.”

She then recited the Pledge of Allegiance, saying “when we say ‘I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…I cringe, because today we still do not have liberty, which is freedom…for people in dark bodies who face harm.”

“I’m happy to stand here, today in a dark body as a Black Latina to say ‘we see you’,” Torres-Walker added.

UPDATE: She later posted the following “Full modified statement from yesterday’s Mayor’s press conference” on her council Facebook page on Thursday, April 15:

“When you buy your first home, you don’t say I sure am going to fill it with hate. When you move to a community, you don’t say to yourself, I sure can’t wait to bring as much hate and harm to this community as possible. I stand here today as a black Latina in solidarity with the API community against all racial hate and harm,” said Torres-Walker. “I do not stand here today to apologize for whiteness. That is not my role. It is not my role as a person who has to show up every day in a dark body to apologize for white fragility, anti-blackness, transphobia, xenophobe, racism, classism, othering fear, white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism. That is not my role.”

Torres-Walker asked what side of history they were on today was the question where she highlighted people have been denied the privilege to walk freely on the streets and were forced underground.

“We are not born hateful. Hate is learned and passed down through generations and because Antioch has chosen to rise through the ashes of a horrible past into a more inclusive future we stand here before you all today united against racial hate,” said Torres-Walker. “We say that opportunity lives here in Antioch. Opportunity can only live here in Antioch when we all as Antioch residents fight just as hard for belonging as we have to get beyond our past and to move forward to a future where we are not defined by our past and we acknowledge our past so that everybody can belong.”

She thanked the Mayor for standing up today, but they needed to do better and differently for communities of color and poor communities.

“When we say I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America… I cringe,” stated Torres-Walker. “Today, we still do not have liberty which is freedom. We still do not have justice which is slow to come for communities of color and people in dark bodies who face harm.”

Thorpe then said he will be working with the historical society to develop the price tag for the permanent display at the museum and for establishing the historic Chinatown district.

Asked why this is being proposed now, Thorpe responded, “The impetus for this, now is we are all learning about this. As terms of this history of Antioch I learned about it when our former Mayor Don Freitas took me on a tour and told me about the tunnels. Eventually we would have gotten here because our council is very cognizant of culture and equity.”

Asked if there will be an effort to find the descendants of the owners of the land in Antioch’s Chinatown which includes Waldie Plaza and the two parking lots on each side of it that is now owned by the city, to compensate them, Thorpe responded that he will ask Eubanks to include that in the Historical Society’s research.

The funding will come from the General Fund, the mayor said, and the formal apology will be on the council agenda in early May. “I can apologize right here, right now but I think it’s more appropriate that the governing body do it…not just me,” Thorpe added.

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Antioch Council moves forward hazard pay for large grocery store workers proposal

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

Three members support effort; city staff will return with ordinance for adoption; could increase costs to families; city would “very likely” face a lawsuit

By Allen Payton

During consideration of a proposed ordinance to require large grocery stores offer hazard pay of $3 to $5 more per hour, the Antioch City Council heard from both sides of the issue during their meeting on Tuesday night, April 13. Urgency Ord Lg Grocery Stores Temp Hazard Pay ACC041321

Ryan Guiling, an organizer of UFCW Local 5, spoke in favor of the hazard pay ordinance. “Our workers have been working tirelessly during this pandemic…to keep us fed. Early in the pandemic many of the stores were giving hazard pay as appreciation pay. But in June all stores ended it across the country. In the interim, grocery stores have been recording record profits.”

A California Retailers Association representative spoke next saying “we respectively request you vote no. This ordinance doesn’t take into consideration COVID-19 cases are rapidly decreasing. That we haven’t done our part is not reality. The grocery business operates on razor-thin margins.”

He spoke of increased costs over the past year “due to higher PPE costs and hazard pay to employees. Premium pay will add $400 in annual costs to families. Decisions should not be made at the local level, but in Sacramento or Washington.”

Barbanica asked to hear from the city’s Economic Development Director Kwame Reed on the matter.

“My thoughts are purely, we should do additional research…before we form an opinion on this,” Reed responded.  “I was hired to bring in jobs and companies. This could be seen as working against those efforts. It would be good to come back with some facts on this item.”

“As of right now, if we look at our database for current business licenses…we have just over 30 businesses that identify themselves as food businesses. That includes a 7-11’s, a donut shop,” he continued. “Stores that would qualify would be the Food Maxx, Lucky’s, Raley’s, SaveMart.”

“I very much appreciate the grocery workers who have been there for us,” said District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica who shared he had been a grocery store worker in the past. “I don’t think a city should get into determining what a private industry should do. Our attorney has said we’re headed for a lawsuit.”

“There are two grocery stores named that paid their workers appreciation pay. SaveMart has done it and hasn’t had going out of business sales,” Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson said. “Can you tell us the gross sales of grocery stores in our city?”

“I cannot tell you that, tonight. I would have to come back with that,” Reed said.

“I want to echo what members of the public said,” Wilson continued. “In the beginning we were calling these people heroes. They were showing up every day of the pandemic. They had to deal with people who didn’t want to wear a mask. These people who made sure our families were fed need to be acknowledged.”

District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker, who proposed the idea, said, “the most dangerous place to be, right now is grocery stores. I don’t have to be there every day…run in grab something without getting sick or coughed on by someone who doesn’t want to wear a mask. It says for a specific period of time. So, I do have questions. Appreciation pay was offered for a period of time. I don’t like giving people raises and then taking it away. Because it’s time bound…and it’s to help our most valued workers, right now, other than public safety workers. Capital over people is not important. We do have to put our people, first.”

“What is the potential impact to jobs…how many jobs are we talking about between these large, corporate grocery stores? Are all these workers Antioch residents…who could add to our local economy?” she asked.

“We would likely have to call each of those stores, because they’re not obligated to tell us how many employees they have or if they live in Antioch,” Reed responded. “That’s the type of research we’re going to have to do.”

“Are Walmart and Costco not considered grocery stores?” Ogorchock asked.

“No. You will see that club stores like Costco would be excluded,” City Attorney Thomas Smith responded.

“You would have to determine if you want them included,” Reed explained.

“They ultimately decided not to include them in Concord,” Smith added.

“I know that Cal Cities took a look at this and chose not to pursue it,” Ogorchock said. “This is a slippery slope for us to get into and I don’t think this is something we should get into.”

“Other cities have done it for shorter,” Reed added.

“It may stop other stores from coming in. But it could stop other shops, when we as a council are getting into their business,” Ogorchock pointed out.

“Those are additional complications and additional lawsuits,” Smith stated.

“There are a lot of people who think we shouldn’t be doing a lot,” Torres-Walker said. “We shouldn’t be doing anything with rent protections during the pandemic, as well. But we moved forward, even though it wasn’t your business to do. Then the county followed up and added more protections. Just because it isn’t something you haven’t done in the past doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it, now. We need to continue to look at protections for renters and workers during this pandemic. When this comes back, I hope the council has the heart to move this forward.”

Thorpe then said, “it looks like there are two folks who support it and two folks who don’t.”

“We did things during COVID-19 that were temporary because of things we were facing,” he continued. “We did take the step on convictions and we heard the concerns, there. There will always be concerns. This could create all these horrible things. But we don’t know that.”

“I haven’t been to my office in over a year,” Thorpe continued. “But every time I went to the grocery store I saw workers working their butts off. From my perspective we move forward with the ordinance…include Target, Walmart and Costco. From my perspective, if we look at the revenue these places are bringing in, they were doing fine during the pandemic. I find it insulting when people call it ‘premium pay’. This is hazard pay because people either decided, or didn’t have the choice, to keep working.”

“We won’t single out stores, but we will include language that will capture those stores,” Smith said.

“We can add Lowe’s and I favor the $5 pay,” Thorpe said.

“Lowe’s?” asked Smith.

“I’ve seen ordinances that have a grocery component in there,” Reed said.

“Oh, OK,” Thorpe responded.

Smith and Reed then got into a bit of a tug-of-war over who would include what language in a proposed ordinance.

“I’m the attorney,” Smith said.

“You look at from a legal standpoint and I’ll look at it from an economic development standpoint,” Reed responded.

“I’m the mayor,” Thorpe said, ending the discussion between the two city department heads.

City staff will return with an ordinance at a future council meeting for adoption.

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Antioch Council approves formation of police reform “committee of whole” council on split vote

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

Postpones formalizing police notification of council and public of major incidents

By Allen Payton

During the Antioch Council meeting Tuesday night, April 13, the members approved on a 3-2 vote to form a committee of the whole council to handle police complaints. It’s intended to be a temporary measure until a citizens committee is formed to handle the task. In addition, the council formalized the protocol process for the Antioch Police Department to notify the city council

“We have this authority, now,” District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica said. “What would be the difference? We’re sort of reporting back to ourselves. Why a secondary committee?”

“We’re just carving it out…so we’re transparent to the public,” Thorpe said.

“Our oversight powers are going to be very limited,” District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock said, directing her comments to the city attorney.

“You will be limited to an advisory capacity,” City Attorney Thomas Smith responded.

“If that’s the need, then you just call a special meeting,” Ogorchock said to Thorpe.

“We’re going to be more deliberate and transparent about what we’re doing,” Thorpe said.

“Can’t you just put that on the agenda?” Ogorchock asked.

“This is a new body of work we’re doing, here,” Thorpe responded. “We discussed this during the police reform agenda and this is the direction the council wanted to go in.”

“Chief Brooks gives us use of force stats,” Ogorchock pointed out.

“Point of clarification, excuse me if I’m misinterpreting this, setting this up of the five of us is just temporary for passing this off to a citizens committee,” Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson said.

“It was always meant to be temporary,” Thorpe said.

“An independent review body,” Wilson pointed out.

“That is probably the most important part of this,” Thorpe responded.

Wilson then made the motion to create a Standing Committee on Police Reform of the Whole City Council. Tamisha Torres-Walker seconded the motion.

The council voted 3-2 to approve the motion with Barbanica and Ogorchock voting no.

Police Notification of Council, Public Protocol Postponed

The council then took up the formalization of the protocol for the police department to notify the council members of major incidents that occur in the city.

Members of the public spoke, including some members of Angelo Quinto’s family, asking that the council also include timely notification of the public, and within 24 hours following an incident “through a variety of media,” as well as family members and others impacted, of all communications including press conferences.

“I want to say that I’m in support of an official protocol process…but I also want to acknowledge that in the last 60 days that I’ve received more texts and emails from the police chief and staff and want to thank the police chief for that,” District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker said. “I also support the notification of the public…and victims…who are looking for communication from our police department. So, I agree there should be victim notification, as well.”

“This is something police chiefs, even former Police Chief  Allan Cantando, do,” District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock said. “So, I’m not sure why we’re doing this because they are doing it.”

“We’re doing it because they did it wrong,” Thorpe said. “There’s no excuses for not getting information. There’s also frustration from council members that information doesn’t get to us in a timely matter. Some bloggers get information before we do who post on social media. That’s unacceptable. We shouldn’t get information from third parties in our community…when people gather information and use it to attack elected officials, when we do not know.”

“There’s also the concern of informing the public,” he continued. “But I want this to be tight. I will be offering amendments to this.”

Thorpe then offered additional language he wanted included in the resolution.

“One thing we may want to consider, once we have everyone’s feedback, is to bring this back as a consent calendar item,” City Attorney Thomas Smith suggested.

“That’s fine. We can do that,” Thorpe responded. We can add the component of public transparency.”

Smith suggested that the council consider two separate resolutions, and to get the feedback now and bring both back for adoption, later. The mayor concurred and no vote was taken.

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Antioch Council receives report on latest efforts to bring ferry service to city’s waterfront

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

By Allen Payton

A type of ferry boat operated by WETA that could eventually stop in Antioch. Photo: WETA

During their meeting on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 the Antioch City Council received a report from a representative of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) on the latest information on bringing ferry service to the city’s waterfront.

Peter Engel, the Director of Programs for CCTA provided the presentation. Antioch Ferry Service presentation 041321

A financial feasibility study of Contra Costa County Ferry Service from 2015 through 2023 was completed in 2014. It sought to Create collaborative effort engaging Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), the cities, other interested entities and CCTA. Evaluate financial feasibility of expanding WETA’s ferry services to Contra Costa County.

Near-term expansion routes identified in the WETA Implementation and Operations Plan (IOP) and Short Range Transit Plan only includes a stop in Richmond. Additional expansion routes identified in WETA’s IOP include Hercules, Martinez and Antioch. The interlined routes include Antioch to Martinez, Martinez to Hercules and Antioch to Martinez to Hercules.

Engel spoke of a pilot program for ferry service in Antioch.

However, “there’s currently not a funding source for a pilot program,” he said.

Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson said, “my first term on council we were talking about ferry service and ridership. Back then we were talking about the traditional ferry. Former Mayor Wright talked about the water taxi. Hopefully, we’ll get more information and more studies on that. I like how the routes you discussed from Antioch to Martinez, Hercules and Richmond.”

“I know this was an issue with the WETA Board…if there is a Contra Costa representative on the WETA Board, it would be good to have at least a Contra Costa, hopefully an Antioch representative on that board,” she continued. “I just wanted to know if that’s changed since then.”

“The structure on the board hasn’t changed. Sacramento basically selects the members,” Engle responded. “Three by the governor, one by the Assembly Speaker and one by the Senate Rules Committee. The only one who represents Contra Costa who is Jim Wunderman, the CEO of the Bay Area Council and a resident of Contra Costa. That would be something that would have to be taken up through the legislature. It’s something that WETA staff would support.”

“If we do this very right it could be very good for us,” Wilson continued. “I know the Larkspur Ferry has been hurting.”

“Larkspur is operated by Golden Gate Ferry…strictly to the City operation. It’s been hurt by the pandemic,” Engle responded.

“I sit on the CCTA, so I’ve had conversations about this with (City Manager) Ron Bernal,” Mayor Lamar Thorpe said. “If there’s the possibility of a pilot program, we’d need to put some money behind it. Ron would need to show up to say we’re committed to doing something.”

“That’s fair enough,” Bernal responded. “Is the council still interested in moving forward and getting information on this?”

“The council is committed to moving forward. We are certainly 100% committed,” Thorpe replied.

“I’m concerned in a post-COVID world we don’t know what the commute will look like before we are committed,” District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica said. “Where are we going to be with commuters? We don’t know.”

“That is some of the conversations that we’ve been having,” Thorpe responded. “The money tied up in the courts, right now will be coming,”

“I’ve heard of this since I first moved here, and I’ve been very excited about this,” said District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker who represents the part of Antioch where the ferry stop would be located. “I get the concerns Councilman Barbanica is lifting up, as well. But I also think as we learn to live with the virus…and go back to as normal as possible…that we have a ferry in Antioch and I’m excited about that potential.”

That was enough direction for both Bernal and Engle to move forward on bringing ferry service to Antioch.

The next steps include looking at service opportunities with routing to Pittsburg, Martinez, Hercules and Richmond; partner with other terminal cities; prepare Request for Information/Interest from private providers; and identifying funding. Potential funding could be from the Regional Measure 3 bridge toll revenue and COVID Relief funds.

 

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Antioch council approves forming new Rivertown Dining District and draft logo design

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

Draft design of Rivertown Dining District supported by Antioch City Council. They requested changes to the type font and color.

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 the Antioch City Council approved a new, Rivertown Dining District for Antioch’s historic downtown, promoting the current and future restaurants located there. They also had the option of either Downtown Dining District or Waterfront Dining District, or could have come up with their own, different name. Dining District Branding & Marketing Campaign presentation

The geographic area is within the existing Rivertown Business District, but a smaller area described as 5th Street to the River and E Street to the Marina.

Both District 2 and 3 Council Members Mike Barbanica and Lori Ogorchock said they preferred the design that included the paddle wheel with a fork, knife and spoon and the name Rivertown Dining District. But they wanted to Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson also liked the paddle wheel and naming it the Rivertown Dining District.

“I’m trying to get into it. Some people seem to be excited. Rivertown Dining District makes sense…it seems to be an existing brand of some sort,” said District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker, who represents the part of the city where the new dining district is located. She supported the paddle wheel design, as well.

According to Sean McCauley, who owns several buildings in Rivertown and has brought several restaurants to the downtown, “they’ve reached out to several” restaurant owners for input.

“It’s been a long time on this project with our ad hoc committee,” he added.

The council also approved an ad campaign with Evviva Brands, the company the council hired in 2018 to rebrand the city with a new logo. According to the staff report, the ad campaign will include:

  • Dining District Microsite: Develop a district microsite including the district story, restaurant features, openings and hours, promotional videos, etc.
  • Streaming Radio Ads: During the initial Opportunity Lives Here campaign the best performing ads were streaming ads. We will develop ads targeting potential diners within a short drive of Antioch.
  • Light Pole Banners: Develop six unique light pole banners with a unique call to action and using the new mark, the Antioch master mark, and dining district footage.
  • District Dining Map: Develop a city map highlighting Antioch dining establishments with a focus on dining district restaurants.
  • Dining Card Design: Develop district dining card suitable for a restaurant stamp on the other side. Details of card copy content to be determined in collaboration with Antioch.
  • Branded Take-Out Containers: Develop art for branded take-out boxes showcasing the district.
  • Suite of Promotional Ads (digital and print): Develop a suite of digital ads in the various sizes

The motion to approve the name of the new district and the contract with Evviva Brands passed on a 5-0 vote.

David Kippen of Evviva Brands said they will bring back another round of logo designs with reversing the colors, looking at the lighter, salmon color for the text and different typefaces for “more refinement before we’re done.”

 

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