Archive for the ‘City Council’ Category

Following hand ballot count Torres-Walker beats Motts by 3 votes in Antioch Council race

Friday, December 2nd, 2022

Re-elected Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker and the final results of the election from the Contra Costa County Elections Division.

8 of the challenged ballots were not cured; results now certified; possible recount could be costly

“I don’t think I can do this without you…I want to partner with you” – Torres-Walker to Motts

Joy Motts and Tamisha Torres-Walker hug and speak following the hand ballot count on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. Photo by Allen D. Payton

By Allen D. Payton

After waiting weeks for the ballot counting to be completed, including a hand count, a change in the lead then a tie as of last Wednesday, Nov. 23, and 19 challenged ballots that required curing, the Antioch City Council race in District 1 has been decided. Incumbent Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker beat challenger and former Councilwoman Jot Motts by just three votes. The final results according to the Contra Costa County Elections Division Torres-Walker ends with 1,467 or 34.36% and Motts has 1,464 votes or 34.29 percent of the vote. Diane Gibson-Gray ended the race with 1,339 votes or 31.26% to round out the close contest.

Following the hand count of the ballots at the county elections office on Thursday, the two candidates who were waiting and watching the hand count at the county elections office, along with one supporter, each, made brief comments, hugged and spoke with each other.

“It’s been a long haul,” Torres-Walker said with a laugh.

Speaking with Motts she said, “I don’t think I can do this without you. You love Antioch and I want to partner with you. I don’t know what people downtown

want. You do. I want you to tell me, advise me and I want to work with you.”

A disappointed Motts agreed to then said about the election results and the hand ballot count, “I really appreciate they did this, that they took the extra time.”

Elections Services Specialist Evan Ayers (right) collects counted ballots from Elections Division staff during a hand count on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. Photo by Allen D. Payton

Possible Recount Could Be Costly, 8 Challenged Ballots Not Cured

Regarding questions and discussions by some Antioch residents and others of a recount with the results so close, Assistant Registrar of Voters Helen Nolan said, “Anyone can ask for a recount, but they have to be willing to front the money to pay for it. The daily cost is anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000. It depends on the method the requester wants.”

“Yesterday, we used printed images of every ballot,” she explained. “A recount would not be dissimilar. We could use the images of the ballots which would take less time and cost less. The most expensive way and would take the longest time is if we have to pull the paper ballots from the stored ballots. That’s because we don’t store them by precinct anymore. They’re stored in batches as they came in. So, among the 1.3 million ballot pages from this election we’d have to find 4,500 ballots with the District 1 election votes on them.”

“If the election is overturned, they receive a refund,” she added.

Asked what difference another hand ballot count would make Nolan responded, “It wouldn’t. We’d be looking at the same ballots as we did, yesterday.”

However, during Thursday’s hand count the elections staff used copies of images of the ballots that had been scanned into the machines not the actual ballots.

Elections Division Voting Systems Manager Travis Ebbert showed those watching yesterday’s count “three ballots that were adjudicated and required a human to make the decision,” Nolan explained. “We separate them by votes and anything you can’t tell they’re adjudicated and the vote determined. The two included votes for both candidates but the person had marked it out. That removed one vote each. The third one was either an overvote or it could have been a vote for either candidate and Tamisha still wins.”

“We went through all the ballots including the 11 out of the 19 challenged ballots were cured since Nov. 23,” she continued. “The other eight ballots remain challenged.”

“We didn’t get a letter back and we weren’t able to cure them,” Nolan stated. “Those were not counted, nor will those ballots be opened during a recount.”

“We’re required to keep everything for this election for 22 months,” she shared.

Asked about the latest vote totals on the Elections Division website Nolan said, “Those are the final numbers. We will be certifying them, today. But those numbers will not change.”

Results Certified

In a press release Friday afternoon, it was announced that Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder-Registrar Debi Cooper certified the results of the November 8, 2022 General Election today.

“Our elections team has once again administered an accurate, transparent, safe and secure election for Contra Costa County.  This team of expert staff made a very complicated and technical process look easy – it isn’t,” Cooper said. “I am proud of this talented group, who make democracy happen for Contra Costa voters and provide incredible service.  This includes: permanent staff, temporary workers, poll workers, and volunteers. I want to thank each of them for their hard work and civic service.  It is my honor and privilege to certify my last election as the head of this department.”

The Elections Division conducted the canvass to complete the official count of all qualified ballots and to perform audits to verify the tabulation equipment performed as intended.

The purpose of the canvass accomplishes four primary tasks: ensuring that every eligible ballot is counted, that voters only voted once, that proper procedures were followed, and that the vote tabulation system counted ballots properly.

The final turnout for this Primary Election totaled 394,153 ballots cast, representing 56.15% of the 701,969 registered voters of Contra Costa County.

The final official report for this election is now posted on the Contra Costa County Elections website at www.contracostavote.gov.

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Antioch Council to finalize $3.6M contract for mental health response program, discuss Sycamore traffic calming

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022

Will review city manager’s, attorney’s job performance; consider rescinding city’s COVID-19 testing, vax policy but continue COVID-19 related remote meeting participation of council, board, commission, committee members; approving $180K in funding and contract for Mayor’s Apprenticeship Program; giving Chamber of Commerce $125K

By Allen D. Payton

During their regular meeting tonight, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, the Antioch City Council will consider approving hiring and paying a contractor $3.6 million for the mental health response team two-year pilot program, traffic calming measures for Sycamore Drive, and consider rescinding the policy mandating COVID-19 testing and vaccination for city staff. Plus, the council will discuss giving $125,000 to the Antioch Chamber of Commerce. During a closed session meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m. the council will review the performance of both City Manager Con Johnson and City Attorney Thomas Lloyd Smith. (See complete meeting agenda)

Consent Calendar

During the consent calendar the council will also consider under Item 5.J. rescinding the city’s COVID-19 mandatory testing and vaccination policy. But they will also consider under the next Item 5.K. continuing to “authorize remote teleconference/virtual meetings of the legislative bodies of the City of Antioch, which includes the City Council, boards, commissions, and committees.” The city staff report reads, the COVID-19 “State of Emergency is still in effect and state officials are still recommending measures to promote social distancing, especially for immunocompromised and sensitive groups.”

However, a required condition of the law, AB 361 is, “state or local officials have recommended or imposed measures to promote social distancing, or the legislative body determines by majority vote that meeting in person would present imminent risks to the health and safety of attendees.”

The following questions were sent early Tuesday afternoon to City Attorney Smith and copied to all five council members and Johnson: “Has the council continued to impose or recommend measures to promote social distancing? Has the council determined that meeting in person presents imminent risks to the health or safety of attendees? If not, how can the council continue to “authorize remote teleconference/virtual meetings of the legislative bodies of the City of Antioch” as is on the agenda, again under Item 5.K. for tonight’s meeting? Isn’t the continued practice by the council a misuse of the provisions of AB361 for the sake of convenience of the five members?”

Under Item 5.J. the council will consider hiring Rubicon Programs to provide professional services to the Mayor’s Apprenticeship Program from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2023, for an amount not to exceed $180,000, using federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

$3.6 Million Two-Year Mental Health Response Team Pilot Program Contract

Under Item 5.R. the council will consider authorizing the city manager to enter into a Professional Services Agreement with Felton Institute for a minimum two-year pilot program for Non-Police Community Crisis Intervention Response Provider for Low Level 911 Calls at a total cost not to exceed $3.6 million in ARPA allocated funds.

The program was originally projected to cost between $1.8 to $2.2 million per year when first discussed by the council last year. (See related article)

According to the city staff report, the desired impact of the program is to: reduce non-warrant arrests that result during 911 police calls for service; reduce the number of individuals transported to the emergency department for non-life-threatening issues; and reduce the number of behavioral health and lower acuity calls traditionally responded to by public safety personnel. Additionally, the purpose of the program is to provide community-focused, trauma-informed, and healing-centered call responses by well-trained non-police personnel who can increase impacted individuals’ access and connection to timely, appropriate, and safe community-based services and resources.

It is anticipated that the response team personnel will be under the managerial auspices of the City of Antioch’s newly formed Public Safety and Community Resources Department. Felton Institute and response team personnel will also work closely with the Antioch Police Department, Contra Costa County, Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel.

The overarching goal of the Felton Institute and pilot program is to provide residents with greater, safer non-police response and allow law enforcement resources to be focused on addressing major crimes, emergency response and criminal investigations.

The council voted 5-0 at their last meeting to name the program the Angelo Quinto Crisis Response Team. (See related article)

Regular Agenda

During the regular agenda under Item 8. the council will discuss supporting the Antioch Chamber of Commerce in the amount of $125,000.

Finally, under agenda Item 12. the city council will discuss and direct staff regarding Sycamore Drive traffic calming needs.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Torres-Walker pulls ahead of Motts by two votes in Antioch Council District 1 race

Thursday, November 17th, 2022

Unofficial Results from Interim Update 2 in the Antioch City Council District 1 race. Source: CoCoVote.us

Wilson increases lead over Ogorchock in District 4 race; now only 2,300 unprocessed votes remain in county

By Allen D. Payton

With almost all the votes in the county counted and only 6,800 unprocessed ballots remaining, as of Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 16, 2022, in the race for Antioch District 1 incumbent Councilwoman Tamisha-Torres Walker now leads former Councilwoman Joy Motts by just two votes. Former Antioch School Board Trustee Diane Gibson-Gray is trailing in third place by 123 votes.

However, as of Thursday afternoon the Contra Costa Elections Division website now shows there are only 2,300 unprocessed ballots remaining in the county. How many of those are in District 1 remain to be seen.

Council District 1

The “Unofficial Results – Interim Update 2” shows Torres-Walker with 1,445 votes or 34.3% and Motts with 1,443 votes or 34.25% of the vote. Gibson-Gray has 1,325 votes or 31.45%. The total votes cast in the race this year are just 4,213 compared to almost 8,000 cast in 2020.

If the contest results in a tie, according to elections personnel, the winner can be decided by the flip of a coin, or some other method agreed upon by the two candidates.

Unofficial Results from Interim Update 2 in the Antioch City Council District 4 race. Source: CoCoVote.us

Council District 4

In the District 4 race for city council, incumbent Monica Wilson extended her lead over colleague and challenger, Lori Ogorchock to 608 votes. Wilson now has 2,579 or 36.58% to the District 3 councilwoman’s 1,971 votes or 27.96% of the vote. Newcomer Shawn Pickett now has 1,304 votes or 18.5% and second-time candidate Sandra White remains in fourth place with 1,196 votes or 16.96% of the vote. A total of 7,050 votes were cast in the district compared to 11,768 in 2020.

Assuming not much change in the final results, Wilson will be the city’s next mayor pro tem as the candidate with the greatest percentage of the vote in the two council district elections.

Another update is expected this Friday afternoon. The county has until Dec. 8 to certify the election.

 

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Antioch Council to consider purchasing gunshot detection and location system tonight

Tuesday, November 15th, 2022

Source: ShotSpotter, Inc.

“To aid in solving and reducing violent crime” – City staff report

97% accuracy rate

By Allen D. Payton

During a special meeting, tonight, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, the Antioch City Council will consider approving the purchase and deployment of a gunshot detection and location system for specific areas in the city. The meeting replaces the regular meeting scheduled for last Tuesday, Nov. 8 since it was Election Day.

According to the staff report on the item (#6 on the agenda), the ShotSpotter, Inc.’s Respond Services technology is designed to give the Antioch Police Department an effective tool and resource to aid in solving and reducing violent crime in the city. It will operate 24 hours a day and allows officers to respond precisely to the location the gunshots originated.

It’s a cloud-based service, and the agreement includes warranty, support, repair, and maintenance of the ShotSpotter owned acoustic sensors that will be installed in the coverage area. The Antioch Police Department, in collaboration with the ShotSpotter Development Team, identified three critical coverage areas in the city.

ShotSpotter Antioch coverage map for Priority Areas 1. Source: ShotSpotter, Inc.

The council is being asked to approve either a five-year purchase agreement for deployment of the technology for a total of $1,060,000 or $1,410,000 depending on the service selected. Funding is proposed to be from “re-allocating police department salary savings in the Fiscal Year 2022/23 General Fund budget to fund the first-year cost per the agreement selected.”

The first proposal offers a coverage area of three-square miles, which identifies two of the most critical areas in the City. The second proposal offers a coverage area of foursquare miles, which identifies an additional area of coverage in southeast Antioch. The first proposal is considered the priority, and the second proposal would be the next priority.

ShotSpotter Antioch coverage map for Priority Area 2. Source: ShotSpotter, Inc.

ShotSpotter Incident Review Center. Source: ShotSpotter, Inc.

According to the company’s FAQ’s sheet, ShotSpotter “uses an array of acoustic sensors that are connected wirelessly to ShotSpotter’s centralized, cloud-based application to reliably detect and accurately locate gunshots using triangulation. Each acoustic sensor captures the precise time and audio associated with impulsive sounds that may represent gunfire. This data is used to locate the incident and is then filtered by sophisticated machine algorithms to classify the event as a potential gunshot. Acoustic experts, who are located and staffed in ShotSpotter’s 24×7 Incident Review Center, ensure and confirm that the events are indeed gunfire. They can append the alert with other critical intelligence such as whether a fully automatic weapon was fired or whether there are multiple shooters. This entire process takes less than 60 seconds from the time of the shooting to the digital alert popping onto a screen of a computer in the 911 Call Center or on a patrol officer’s smartphone or mobile laptop.”

Furthermore, “The ShotSpotter system is highly accurate at detecting outdoor gunshots. In 2019 the system had a 97% aggregate accuracy rate across all of our customers including a very small false positive rate of less than 0.5% of all reported gunfire incidents.”

See how the ShotSpotter system works in a company video.

The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall located at 200 H Street or can be viewed on Comcast channel 24, AT&T U-verse channel 99, or live stream at www.antiochca.gov/government/city-council-meetings.

See the complete agenda packet, here.

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Antioch mayor claims he was punched, councilwoman refutes it, accused man says Thorpe escalated situation

Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

Thorpe prepares to leave the Sept. 27, 2022, council meeting early to catch a flight to Los Angeles which the man referred to in his initial comments to the mayor. Video screenshot.

Torres-Walker claims man shoved Thorpe aggressively, attempted to punch him; City’s PIO, Thorpe issue one-sided statement hour later; Antioch Police investigating; Chamber executive corrects reporting by Bay Area media

Allen D. Payton

Torres-Walker and Thorpe at the Antioch Chamber of Commerce event prior to the incident on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. Photo by Allen D. Payton

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe is accusing a man of punching him in the chest, Tuesday afternoon, following an event at which Thorpe spoke. The accused man, who chose to remain anonymous, says it was Thorpe who escalated the situation and he didn’t punch the mayor. That was later confirmed by District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker saying the man pushed Thorpe aggressively. Yet, about an hour later, the city’s contracted public information officer, Rolando Bonilla was already speaking with, and Thorpe had issued a statement about the incident, to Bay Area media, which only reported the mayor’s side of the story.

Thorpe was one of two speakers at the Antioch Chamber of Commerce’s first State of Business luncheon at the Lone Tree Golf and Event Center, held earlier, beginning at 12:00 p.m. and ending at 1:45 p.m. (See related article)

The incident occurred sometime between 2:05 and 2:25 p.m. in the center’s north parking lot, according to the man who said he was at the golf course to distribute fliers for an upcoming community event. He said he later arrived at his doctor’s office in the nearby Bluerock Center at 2:28 p.m.

Thorpe issued the following statement about the alleged incident to KRON-4 News:

“I can confirm that the reports of my being punched at an event today are true. After giving a speech at a luncheon hosted by the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, I was aggressively approached by an older white male in his late 50’s. When it became clear that he was seeking a confrontation, I asked him to leave. As I attempted to walk away, the man punched me in the chest and was attempting to punch me a second time, but was not able to land his blow, as bystanders intervened to help me. Although shaken up, I am doing well. Violence has absolutely no place in the public discourse and will never be tolerated. My hope is that this individual is arrested and prosecuted. I would like to thank the bystanders who intervened for putting their own safety at risk to help me. I will never forget their kindness and support. I will be at tonight’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Antioch City Council.”

The man admitted starting the verbal spat with Thorpe but, denies punching him and said the mayor approached him and got in his face.

“I said to him, ‘nice to see you coming out of hiding’,” referring to Thorpe missing the last council meeting and leaving the previous one early. “He said, ‘I wasn’t in hiding’. Then Lamar walked up to me, got in my face and I asked him to please get out of my personal space. He didn’t, so I put my hand on his chest. I didn’t punch him. If I shoved him, it wasn’t very hard,” the man stated. “Then he called me a bigot. I didn’t say anything about his race.”

He claimed the verbal altercation was a continuation of an incident during this year’s Antioch July 4th event while he and his wife were listening to one of the bands perform and Thorpe approached him shook his hand aggressively and asked about the recall signature gathering – which had failed two months before – and for which the man says he signed one of the petitions.

According to a report by eastcountytoday.net, “multiple witnesses have confirmed that no punches were thrown during the heated verbal exchange with one stating it could have been observed as a ‘hard push’ after the mayor got in the male’s face yelling at him. Another witness said no push even occurred but both men were in each other’s faces.”

Antioch Police Investigating

Asked for any details about the incident, Antioch Police Public Information Officer Darryl Saffold responded, “We aren’t releasing any details beyond all parties involved and all witnesses that were present are being interviewed or will be later interviewed. (The) investigation is active and ongoing.”

Asked for information once it’s available Saffold responded, “Not really anything to say. We will conduct the investigation and it will be sent to the DA’s office for review. It was an alleged misdemeanor not committed in the presence of an officer. We get statements and evidence and present it to the DA.”

No Cameras in Parking Lot

According to Lone Tree Golf Pro and General Manager Ron Parish, there are surveillance cameras inside the building, and the footage was reviewed. But there are no cameras in or pointing at the parking lot where the alleged incident occurred.

Chamber Says Accused Man Did Not Attend Event

Some Bay Area TV stations, including KRON-4, which published Bonilla’s comments and Thorpe’s statement about the incident at 3:21 p.m., and KTVU FOX-2 are claiming the incident occurred at the Chamber’s event and/or the accused man attended it. To clarify matters Antioch Chamber President and Executive Director Daniel Sohn stated, “This had nothing to do with the event. But it is overshadowing it. It was a nice event.”

“I and Ron Parish got pulled into a meeting by police officers. We were contacted by four witnesses,” Sohn explained.

“The Chamber is disappointed to learn about the incident that took place after the luncheon event,” he continued. “We don’t know what occurred, but one of the individuals involved did not attend the luncheon. The Chamber of Commerce does not condone any violence at all.”

“We will be cooperating with the police in their investigation,” Sohn added.

Questions for Thorpe, Bonilla, Torres-Walker

Thorpe was asked via email Tuesday night, “Did you approach him in the parking lot during a verbal dispute? If so, why didn’t you just walk away and de-escalate the situation as you want our police officers to do?”

He was also asked if the July 4th incident occur and for his version of it.

Finally, Thorpe was asked, “Other than Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker, who were the other people with you and witnessed the alleged incident?”

Bonilla was asked if he had attended the Chamber event, if he was with Thorpe at the time of the alleged incident and if not, how could he confirm to the media that the incident occurred the way he claims.

He was then asked, “Are you the city’s or the mayor’s public information officer?”

Bonilla was also asked if he obtained the other side of the story and speak with the accused man before he confirmed Thorpe’s claims about the alleged incident.

In addition, Torres-Walker who the KRON-4 News report claims Bonilla said she “broke up the altercation”, was asked if she saw the man punch Thorpe in the chest.

She was also asked, “What exactly did you witness that occurred between the two men? What did you do or say to break up the altercation?”

In addition, Torres-Walker was asked if she recalled what time the alleged incident occurred, if she spoke with Bonilla following the alleged incident and what did she tell him.

Torres-Walker Confirms Thorpe Not Punched, Claims He Was Shoved Aggressively

At the end of Tuesday night’s council meeting Torres-Walker said, “My shoulder hurts, tonight. Today, I had to step in between Lamar Thorpe the mayor…the man. This man shoved him aggressively in the chest and attempted to punch him. Three women had to jump in the middle.”

She said the man was questioning Thorpe’s absence during the previous two council meetings, and that he was quoting a Herald article about it.

“The mayor said, ‘this conversation is over’ but it was not over,” Torres-Walker continued. “Even after three women broke it up, this man continued to aggressively pursue the mayor, the man, Lamar Thorpe.”

Thorpe was then emailed one more question in light of what Torres-Walker said asking if he still stands by his claim that the man punched him in the chest.

Neither Thorpe nor Bonilla responded by 9:15 AM Wednesday.

Wednesday morning Thorpe was emailed a few more questions asking about him calling the man a bigot. “Is that true? Did he say something about your race or skin color? If not, why would you call him that for asking you about ‘coming out of hiding’ after you had missed part or all of the past two council meetings?”

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Antioch Council hires “Con” Johnson as permanent city manager for two years on split vote

Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

Extends current contract by 22 months, includes severance package, will be paid $266,400 annual salary

“Tonight’s process degrades the city manager’s position to little more than a political patronage job,” – resident Dr. Jeffrey Klingler

Approves new Travis Credit Union building; contractor for mental health response team, naming it after Angelo Quinto

Antioch City Manager Cornelius “Con” Johnson.

By Allen D. Payton

With only two weeks before the November election, during their meeting Tuesday night, Oct. 25, 2022, the Antioch City Council on a 3-2 vote appointed Interim City Manager Cornelius “Con” Johnson as the permanent city manager for another 22 months. Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica and District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock dissented.

According to the staff report, the initial term of the agreement will be for a period of 24 months beginning 12:00 a.m., October 26, 2022, and shall continue until 12:00 a.m., October 26, 2024. Johnson’s prior contract, which is set to expire on December 12, 2022, expired at midnight and will be superseded by the new agreement.

Selects Mental Health Crisis Response Team Pilot Program Contractor

In addition, on a 5-0 vote, the council selected the Felton Institute to provide non-police community crisis intervention services. According to the city staff report, “The Crisis Antioch Response Team (CART) Pilot Program will operate for a minimum two-year duration. The program’s estimated cost per the program design forecast by Urban Strategies Council is between $1.8 and $2.2 million per year. Per Antioch City Council action on April 12, 2022, American Recue Plan Act (ARPA) funding has been allocated for this specified purpose in the total amount of $3.6M. The final fee is yet to be negotiated and will be captured in the final agreement for City Council action.”

The program will establish “a 24-hour community crisis intervention response model for Antioch residents” which is intended “to improve the City’s response to behavioral health, quality of life and lower acuity calls.”

The council authorized “the City Manager to enter into negotiations with the Felton Institute regarding the final scope of work and fee associated for the City’s Crisis Antioch Response Team (CART) Pilot Program.” The Professional Services Agreement will be presented to the city council for final review and approval.

During council discussion District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson asked that the program be named the Angelo Quinto Response Team instead.

“I want to say to the Quinto family, you lost your son, that’s how we got here,” District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker said. “Your loss has spurred some change, but it didn’t have to happen.”

“I haven’t found an officer who doesn’t want this,” Thorpe said. “They didn’t sign up to be clinicians, counselors and they didn’t sign up to be teachers, so we’re not putting them in our schools, either.”

Torres-Walker, Ogorchock and Wilson said they would support the renaming.

Barbanica said, “I understand why we’re doing this. What I don’t want is between the officers and individuals they’re working with, friction. But I want to be very straightforward that the Antioch Police Department has been cleared of any wrongdoing. That being said, yes, I will support that.”

Thorpe added his support to renaming the program. Wilson then made a motion to approve selecting the Felton Institute and naming it the Angelo Quinto Crisis Response Team and it passed unanimously.

Later during public comments on another item, Katherine Wade, who claims her son, Malad Baldwin, took his life following an incident with Antioch Police officers in which she says they beat him, said the program name should remain CART and not be named for Quinto. During general, public comments at the end of the meeting Antioch resident Lacey Brown said she agreed with Wade.

Rendering of the northside, Hillcrest Avenue elevation of the new Travis Credit Union building. By BHDP Architecture

Approve New Building for Travis Credit Union

In other action, on a 5-0 vote the council approved the final development plan for a new Travis Credit Union building at 3500 Hillcrest Avenue, just east of the Hillcrest Professional Center. According to the city staff report, “The subject site is a 1.48-acre vacant parcel. The project scope includes the construction of a new 3,525 square foot bank building with a drive-up ATM. Site improvements include the construction of a new parking lot, site lighting, landscaping and stormwater detention basins. The site will have 27 off-street parking spaces. Operating hours are proposed to be 10 am-5:30 pm, Monday – Friday, 10 am – 2 pm on Saturday and closed on Sundays. There will be a total of 11 full-time employees on a typical shift.”

City Manager Appointment

Before voting on Johnson’s contract appointing him as the permanent city manager, Ogorchock asked, “Since we didn’t get to that, do we have to table this?”

“That’s placed there as a courtesy,” Thorpe said. “You can ask your questions in public.”

“No one can say he’s the best candidate…because this council didn’t engage in a fair, open and equitable, professionally managed process,” resident Dr. Jeffrey Klingler said. “Tonight’s process degrades the city manager’s position to little more than a political patronage job. He deserves more than that and more importantly the city deserves more than that.”

“You can table this item and do a proper search for a city manager,” he added.

Five people spoke in favor of Johnson’s appointment including Pittsburg resident Willie Mims and Contra Costa County 2022 Humanitarian of the Year Gigi Crowder, Frank Sterling and Patricia Granados.

“You have not given us a process to get the best candidate. I don’t know you, Mr. Johnson,” said District 1 Council candidate Diane Gibson-Gray. “In less than 13 days and one hour you could have a new council up there. He has a contract through 12-12. I don’t understand the rush.”

A resident named Johnny Walker spoke via Zoom saying, “I really have a problem with this appointment of the city manager. He’s very inexperienced. Since it was the mayor’s idea, the mayor’s appointment, he campaigned for the mayor. The mayor has been making some really bad decisions, and this is one of them. Mr. Johnson spent $30,000 on bouncy houses.”

“It smells like there’s burning here,” City Clerk Ellie Householder then said.

“Oh, maybe someone set my car on fire,” Thorpe responded.

Public comments on the city manager’s appointment then continued.

“It’s a relief to have someone that understands something that happened to me,” Sterling said. “I’m not saying Mr. Johnson has sat down and had a heart to heart…with me. We can find someone probably better. I don’t know if we can or not. Let’s give this man a chance. Congratulations, sir. Welcome to your new appointment. I wish you luck and to the city.”

“I’m excited the direction the City of Antioch is going in,” Granados said. “Wait until after the next election? That’s the problem. No. We don’t have time to wait. Policies need to be put in place. The right money needs to be spent. We don’t need to wait until after the next election.”

During council discussion, Thorpe sought input from the council saying, “In discussion with the city manager, he discussed a two-year term.”

He then recommended a two-year contract at Step C for Johnson’s annual salary of $266,400.

Torres-Walker made the motion, Wilson seconded it.

Ogorchock then made a substitute motion, “That we have an open process and send it out.”

“I don’t think you can make that motion because this is on the contract,” Thorpe said.

“That is correct. You can vote this down and talk about that on another item,” City Attorney Thomas L. Smith said.

The motion then passed 3-2 with Barbanica and Ogorchock voting against.

During the Council Communications portion of the meeting, Torres-Walker took the opportunity to issue one of her periodic, racially filled, vitriolic diatribes – this time prepared in writing – in which she took swipes at her two election opponents, Diane Gibson-Gray and Joy Motts, local media, Barbanica and Ogorchock, but praised Wilson.

Householder then announced that Thorpe had postponed the next regular council meeting scheduled for Election Night, Nov. 8th until Tuesday, Nov. 15th.

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Thorpe takes $2,800 taxpayer-funded trip to transit conference in Seattle

Saturday, October 22nd, 2022

Missed Oct. 11th council meeting

By Allen D. Payton

It was finally confirmed by Tri Delta Transit staff on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, that Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe attended the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) conference in Seattle Oct. 7-12. That’s why he missed the most recent council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 11. But he wouldn’t say why he missed that meeting or had to leave the previous council meeting early to catch a flight to L.A. or why he was there for just the following day. (See related article)

Thorpe is one of Antioch’s two representatives to serve on the Board of Directors for the Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority, known as Tri Delta Transit. The other is including District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson who did not attend the conference and was present at the Oct. 11th council meeting. Thorpe currently serves as the board’s Vice Chair.

According to CEO Transitional Officer Jeanne Krieg, “Lamar Thorpe did attend – he arrived Friday October 7th and returned Wednesday October 12th. His flight was $195.58. Conference registration was $975. The conference rate for the hotel was $284/night so for five nights, the bill was $1668.45 (including taxes).”

The total for his trip was $2,839.03.

The agency staff was also asked who else from the board attended the conference, but that information has not yet been provided. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Eight incidents result in 11 police calls for service at Antioch Councilwoman Torres-Walker’s home in past two-and-a-half years

Wednesday, October 12th, 2022

Seven since she was elected include reports of gunshots, dirt bike riding, loud music, fireworks

Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker. Source: 2022 campaign

By Allen D. Payton

Due to reports that there have been multiple calls for service by Antioch police at the home of District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha-Torres Walker over the past few years, a Public Records Act request was made to the Antioch Police Department. The response shows there have been 11 reports of incidents at her home between June 2020 and last month.

Two of the calls were about the same loud music on the same day on August 21, 2021, and four calls were on Oct. 2 and 3, 2021, which ended in her being charged with interfering with a police officer who responded to the scene of five or six gunshots. The charges against her were later dropped by the District Attorney. (See related articles here and here)

That totals eight separate incidents resulting in calls for service by Antioch police at Torres-Walker’s home in Antioch, of which seven occurred since she was elected in November 2020.

Following is the information about the complaints provided by APD’s Police Records Supervisor Amanda Nelson (her specific address has been removed by the Herald): Calls for service at Torres-Walker’s home – APD 092022

  • 10/5/21 5:30 pm at — Gary Ave. Reports of someone riding a dirt bike up and down the street.
  • 10/3/21 1:35 am at — Gary Ave. Reports the vehicle that fired shots earlier had returned and several people got out of the vehicle with flashlights.
  • 10/3/21 12:27 am at — Gary Ave. Reports of a loud party in the area and 5-6 shots heard.
  • 10/2/21 6:46 pm at — Gary Ave. Reports a group of people drinking alcohol in front of this location, and driving dirt bikes up and down the street.
  • 10/2/21 5:38 pm at — Gary Ave. Reports people riding dirt bikes on the street and popping wheelies. 8/29/21 4:21 pm at 508 Gary Ave. Reports disturbance amongst guests and one refusing to leave.  Related to loud music calls and also a dog being let out.
  • 8/23/21 8:04 pm at — Gary Ave. Reports a group of juveniles riding quads and dirt bikes and then gathering at this location.
  • 8/21/21 2:00 pm at — Gary Ave. Reports loud music came back on after officers drove by.
  • 8/21/21 1:34 pm at — Gary Ave. Reports loud music coming from a parked vehicle.
  • 3/20/21 7:31 pm at — Gary Ave. Reports subjects from this residence riding a quad on the sidewalk.
  • 6/10/20 8:37 pm at — Gary Ave. Reports of fireworks coming from the backyard of this location.

Questions for Torres-Walker Go Unanswered

About the incidents and what she’s done in response Torres-Walker was asked, “Were you at home during each of the calls for service? Did you speak with officers each time? If not, were any of your children at home at the time and responsible for the incidents? If so, have you spoken to them about the behavior that resulted in reports to the police department resulting in calls for service at your home and if so, what did you tell them? Have you apologized to your neighbors for the incidents and the impact on their quality of life?”

In addition, she was asked, “for full transparency by you, will you ask the Antioch Police Department to release the police body camera video footage of the incident on Oct. 3 in which you were accused of and charged for interfering with a police officer and do so before the election?”

She did not respond prior to publication time.

First elected in 2020, Torres-Walker is running for re-election to her District 1 seat this year.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

 

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