Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Antioch Police union’s lawyer says Mayor Thorpe violated state law, confidentiality of officers under “non-criminal” investigation

Friday, March 31st, 2023

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe during his press conference on March 29, 2023 at which neither Police Chief Steve Ford nor anyone from his department were in attendance to participate and answer questions from the media. Photo by Allen D. Payton

Claims Police Chief Ford hired outside investigator

“…the initiation of the investigation and the subjects of the investigation are not matters for public disclosure under existing law”…“the mayor single-handedly violated the officers’ right to confidentiality by saying anything at all”…“created far more ‘rumors’ about this investigation, and adverse impacts on the police department and community, than he allayed.” – APOA attorney Mike Rains

Thorpe says claim he “gagged Ford preventing him from participating in press conference “inaccurate

By Allen D. Payton

This morning, Friday, March 31, 2023, the attorney for the Antioch Police Officers’ Association, Mike Rains issued a statement in response to Mayor Lamar Thorpe’s Thursday press conference on the report of additional officers being placed on leave and under investigation for alleged offensive texts. Those officers are believed to be in addition to the seven remaining officers on the force that have been under investigation by the FBI and Contra Costa DA’s office since last March for alleged “crimes of moral turpitude”. Rains, with the law firm of Rains Lucia Stern St. Phalle & Silver, claims Thorpe violated state law and the confidentiality of the officers. He further claims Police Chief Steve Ford placed the involved officers on leave and hired an outside investigator to conduct the investigation.

Statement from RLS Attorney Mike Rains

“Our office represents the Antioch Police Officers’ Association and its individual members in employment related matters. We issue this statement in response to the statement made yesterday by City of Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe.

At the outset, it should be recognized that, despite a recent article in a local newspaper purporting to announce a new investigation by the Antioch Police Department of officers in addition to the ongoing joint investigation by the FBI and the District Attorney’s Office, the initiation of the investigation and the subjects of the investigation are not matters for public disclosure under existing law as set forth in Penal Code section 832.7.  Although the newspaper at issue may have published an article from an unknown and undisclosed ‘source’ that was not verified as credible, and which relates to a ‘confidential’ personnel matter under California law, the mayor chose to compound the violation of state law by holding his own self-serving press conference, which prompted questions from some in attendance as to ‘why are we here?’ and ‘why isn’t the police chief here making this announcement?’

The mayor’s stated purpose, as much as we can discern, is that the placement of additional officers on administrative leave would cause ‘staffing issues’ within the police department that might affect the public. But that “concern” was belied by the very fact that the mayor had no idea as to the current staffing level at the police department and could not even tell his audience how many patrol officers are on the force. He also professed, at the beginning of this saga, his ‘respect for confidentiality and the right of officers to due process of law.’ But, as pointed out above, the mayor single-handedly violated the officers’ right to confidentiality by saying anything at all. And with respect to the officers’ right to due process, those rights were trounced when the mayor declared the officers ‘bad apples’ and expressed his ‘serious concern’ for the conduct under investigation.  In short, this ‘press conference’ was simply another demonstration by this mayor of his belief, demonstrated by his own conduct resulting in criminal charges and massive civil judgments, that he need not conform his behavior to provisions of the Penal Code or to the laws restricting sexual harassment and discrimination of others in the workplace.

Where was the police chief, Mr. Mayor?  In all likelihood he was ‘gagged’ by the mayor and specifically instructed not to be present. If the mayor was truly concerned about the impact of this latest investigation on ‘staffing’ within the police department, who better than Chief Ford to discuss that issue?  Why didn’t the well-intentioned mayor simply ‘order’ or ‘direct’ the chief to give the briefing, and stand beside him in support of the chief’s statement?  The truth is, as the mayor was forced to concede, the police chief advised the city manager about the new investigation, as he was required to do, and the city manager advised the mayor in accordance with internal reporting requirements of the City.  The ‘truth’ of the matter is that the police chief, not the mayor, made the decision to place involved officers in this NON-CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION on administrative leave and asked for the immediate appointment of an ‘outside’ qualified investigator to conduct a thorough and objective investigation of the allegations, which he is required by law to review and adjudicate – something Chief Ford has been doing as a law enforcement executive for many years.  And the ‘truth’ of the matter is also that Chief Ford made these decisions (he could have elected to keep the officers under investigation in their current work assignments) after speaking with the district attorney of the County about the situation. That discussion did not involve Mayor Thorpe because it was and still remains a matter that should be handled by the imminently qualified and capable police chief who was not even invited to be present.

As if Mayor Thorpe did not do enough of a disservice to the confidentiality and due process rights of the officers by conducting a disaster of a ‘press conference,’ he did nothing to allay the ‘rumors’ he said were created by the newspaper article, which he admitted ‘was not good.’  With his own evasion and doublespeak on full-display, the mayor single-handedly created far more ‘rumors’ about this investigation, and adverse impacts on the police department and community, than he allayed.”

Thorpe Says Claim of Chief Being “Gagged” “Inaccurate”, Won’t Say If He Was Invited to Press Conference, Refers Additional Questions to City Manager

Thorpe was emailed Rains’ statement for a possible response and asked if he invited Chief Ford to join him at his press conference, and if so if Ford declined or wasn’t available. Thorpe was also asked if Ford wasn’t invited to participate, why not so he could have been there to answer some of the questions that were posed by the media.

Thorpe responded briefly writing, “That would be inaccurate and I’m directing any further questions to Forrest as I’m out of town.”

The additional questions were then sent to Acting City Manager Forrest Ebbs. He responded, “I do not have any comment at this time or answers to your questions.”

Questions for Chief Ford Go Unanswered

In addition, Ford was also sent questions, and copied to Lt. Michael Mellone, director of the department’s Community Engagement Unit and PIO Ashley Crandell asking if he was “gagged” by Mayor Thorpe and prevented from participating in his press conference yesterday. Ford was also asked if Thorpe invited him or anyone from the department to attend and be available to answer questions from the media, and if so, did the chief decline and was he unavailable.

Neither Ford nor the department’s spokespeople responded prior to publication time at 12:30 p.m.

UPDATE: Mellone is out of the country until April 10th participating in an international masters program.

Please check back for any other updates to this report.



Contra Costa County surveys community for Arts & Culture Strategic Plan

Wednesday, March 29th, 2023

El Condado de Contra Costa Examina a la Comunidad para Planificación de las Artes y la Cultura

By Kristi Jourdan, Office of Communications & Media

What is the future of Contra Costa County’s arts and cultural landscape? As part of the County’s efforts to develop an Arts & Culture Strategic Plan, a survey will be available to residents during the month of April to gather community feedback.

The County has contracted with Arts Orange County as Project Manager to lead the arts and culture planning process. The goal is to guide an arts and cultural planning effort through an inclusive community engagement process that recognizes and respects the geographic and demographic diversity of the County. The process also includes an inventory of the County’s arts and cultural assets, including organizations, venues, and public art.

The survey will be open until April 30, 2023. To participate, visit

A Spanish language version of the survey is available at

¿Cuál es el futuro del panorama artístico y cultural del Condado de Contra Costa? Como parte de los esfuerzos del Condado para desarrollar un Plan Estratégico de Arte y Cultura, una encuesta estará disponible para los residentes durante el mes de Abril para recopilar comentarios de la comunidad.

El Condado ha contratado a Arts Orange County como Gerente de Proyecto para dirigir el proceso de planificación de las artes y la cultura. El objetivo es guiar un esfuerzo de planificación artística y cultural a través de un proceso inclusivo de participación comunitaria que reconozca y respete la diversidad geográfica y demográfica del Condado. El proceso también incluyeun inventario de los bienes artísticos y culturales del Condado, incluidas organizaciones, lugares y arte público.

La encuesta estará abierta hasta el 30 de Abril de 2023. Para participar, visite Una versión en Español de la encuesta está disponible en



Antioch Council moves forward on new department building on 3-2 split support

Tuesday, March 28th, 2023

Site Plan for proposed new city department building. Source: City of Antioch

In spite of traffic concerns from neighbors

Barbanica, Ogorchock want to wait for funding source, first

“I also know I’ve been here long enough it’s not going to cost $12 million…” – Mayor Thorpe

By Allen D. Payton

Julianne Davis said she lives on W. 10th Street in the 200 block. My window looks right out on the site they’re talking about building on. She spoke about the traffic and parking issues on the street and “33 accidents right at that spot.” My big concern is parking, traffic, accidents.

“Can we please deal with the traffic, parking and accidents before moving forward,” Davis stated. “The Portuguese hall has parties every week. If we want to have an event we don’t have parking.”

Resident Gary Wells spoke next saying, “Great concept. I give you guys your do for trying to do something at that spot. But $14 million it seems like it could be put somewhere else. Downtown. Rivertown needs something for our youth. We’re going to have to meet somewhere in the middle, there. It’s dangerous on that street. But to bring this at this corner, I stay right across the street from it. I’m going to be really, really irritated if we don’t do something about the traffic, first.

“We talk about revitalization. We took all of those non-profits out of that building. I’m sure we can take this $14 million and do something better. For safety reasons I say ‘no’. We have to involve safety and involve the community, there. Or I’m going to sell my house and move from Antioch. My neighbors, we’re tired and fed up. We don’t want this building built before something’s done with safety on that street. We have people breaking into cars.

Resident Leslie May said, “I still work for one of the non-profits that’s in that business. But I’m glad we’re out of that building. We had a rodent problem, breathing problems. I did say to the council, ‘you guys going to open this, here, you better do something about this traffic.’ I sit in the back of my yard and hear horrible crashes…every single week.”

You’re going to have to do something. Hopefully, we will get traffic calming devices. I’m sure something has to happen before that building is completed.”

Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker said, “I’m excited about this opportunity…it’s the type of capital improvement project we need for the community. Our intent is not to put a building into a spot that’s going to be dangerous for the community. In one of the slides, there’s a turning lane into the parking lot. I don’t know how long these problems have been happening, because I’ve only been here nine years. But I know they’ve got to improve before the opening. We have youth who live in District 1 who can’t always get over to southeast.”

District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson, who served on the council subcommittee dealing with the department and proposed building with Torres-Walker, said, “I’m really excited about this building. It’s not only for the youth it’s for all individuals who have issues…to share knowledge, be in community, break bread. Yes, we know there are the challenges around traffic we can work on. I just feel that the work we are doing…we’re not breaking ground tomorrow…it’s going to be a positive for the community, not just for District 1.”

“People have mentioned $14 million, wow, that’s a lot of money,” Torres-Walker said. “Is there active fundraising happening…to supplement the funding? she asked of Tasha Johnson.

“Yeah. That’s the hope. We wanted to get the conversations started on approval of the building,” Johnson responded who spoke of grant writing. “Hopefully, we can find a source or two.”

“My concern is, I think we need to look at the budget before we start making commitments for funding,” District 3 Councilman Mike Barbanica said.

“I love the design of the building and believe it can be a positive for the community,” said District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock. “We don’t have the funding for L Street. Until we have the funding and the budget’s clear and know where the funding is going to come from, I can’t go forward.”

“It’s a couple things,” said Acting Public Works Director Scott Bunting in response to a question by Torres-Walker. “Moving forward does need some kind of commitment. The construction doesn’t have a budget.”

He then spoke of the traffic calming devices and a possible grant to pay for them.

Forrest Ebbs, “The step that’s missing in the schedule is the funding. If you move forward with this you’re aiming very high. It’s clear this is not going to be a 100% General Fund project. But that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be funded. I would say the next step would be to explore funding options.”

“I don’t think it’s prepared for a commitment of total funds,” City Attorney Thomas Smith added.

“We did a survey, once, a few years ago. One of the things that polled very, very high was a municipal center…to centralize all these different services,” Mayor Lamar Thorpe stated. “In my head, there may still be opportunity to work with, like the county. Because they’ve been talking about a new library for a long time. I don’t know, it’s just an idea.”

“I was surprised by this. I thought we were going to stick to the confines of the existing building,” he continued. “I appreciate where we could go with this. But I also know I’ve been here long enough it’s not going to cost $12 million. We redid City Hall…and the price tag kept going up and going up. Effectively our hands were tied and we had to finish what we started. Those aren’t the final numbers, so, we have to budget accordingly.”

“So, there is no funding for this, already. We’re going to have to figure out the funding at a later time,” the mayor stated. “Figuring out the cost is going to be a hard thing to do. I can be for this.”

Barbanica said, “no, I would rather go the other route and find funding, first.”

Torres-Walker said, “yes.”

Ogorchock said, “funding, first.” She then suggested getting the County to sell the library on W. 18th Street to the City for $1.00 and add a second floor to that building.

“I’m confused by funding, first,” Thorpe said.

“This report is premature is what you’re saying,” Wilson said to City staff members.

“We cast a vision, first. We need to start targeting…if we pair the project with the funding,” Acting City Manager Forrest Ebbs said.

“I think we’re moving forward, so you’ve got direction,” Thorpe said. “Wow, this is a big deal. But not without making W. 10th Street safe.”

Antioch Council to consider spending $9.7 million more for new two-story city department building

Tuesday, March 28th, 2023

Concept sketch of proposed new City department building at W. 10th and D Streets. Source: City of Antioch

15,300 s.f. facility to include mini-plaza, event space, conference and class rooms for residents to use, replace Rivertown Resource Center

Will also consider disbanding Economic Development Commission; to hold 5 p.m. budget workshop

By Allen D. Payton

During tonight’s regular council meeting, Tuesday, March 28, 2023, the Antioch City Council will consider approving and spending $9.7 million more for a new two-story building for the City’s new Department of Public Safety and Community Resources at the site of the Rivertown Resource Center on W. 10th Street. In addition, the council will consider disbanding the Economic Development Commission. Earlier, beginning at 4:10 p.m., they will hold a closed session to discuss two lawsuits against the city followed by a budget workshop at 5:00 p.m. (See agenda)

Site Plan for proposed new city department building.

New Department Building

Last year, after the council majority approved the new department, the city took back use of the former police station and jail that had been renamed and used as the Rivertown Resource Center, displacing 16 non-profit organizations that were tenants. Then they set aside $4.3 million in federal COVID-19-related relief from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  The proposed plan was for a 2,500 square foot addition at a cost of $7.4 million. (See related articles here and here)

Now, staff has determined that it will be better to replace the existing 8,235 square foot building with a new 15,300 square foot two-story building with a public event space with tiered seating and a raised platform, community spaces, classrooms, conference rooms, breakout rooms and a mini-plaza that will create a new venue for possible events, classes and gatherings for residents to use at the W. 10th and D Street location next to a residential neighborhood. The construction is estimated to cost $12.5 million.

The plan includes a new parking lot with a total of 38 spaces. It is Item 7 on the regular council meeting agenda. New Bldg for New Dept ACC032823

The Council workshop and regular meeting will be held inside the Council Chambers at City Hall at 200 H Street in historic, downtown Rivertown. They can also be viewed livestream on the City’s website or on Comcast cable TV channel 24 or AT&T U-verse channel 99. The regular meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.

Contra Costa Health Order to require staff in skilled nursing facilities to continue wearing masks

Tuesday, March 28th, 2023

After April 3 state order expires

Staff in local skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) will be required to continue wearing masks under a new Contra Costa County health order.

The order, which requires masks to be well-fitted and cover the nose and mouth, will also apply to paramedics, emergency medical technicians, contractors and vendors when they enter these facilities in Contra Costa. The masking order will not apply to SNF patients or visitors seeing their loved ones.

The County’s health order will go into effect on Monday, April 3, immediately after the state’s COVID masking order for healthcare settings expires.

“Requiring staff at SNFs to wear well-fitting masks will help protect their vulnerable elderly patients from being infected with COVID,” said Dr. Ori Tzvieli, the County’s health officer, who is issuing the order. “We know from our experience during the pandemic that the people SNFs serve – seniors with serious underlying health problems – are the ones who are most susceptible to severe outcomes from a COVID infection.”

Since the pandemic began in 2020, 57% of the deaths from COVID in Contra Costa have been among people ages 75 and older.  

There are 30 SNFs in Contra Costa. Skilled nursing facilities provide a higher level of medical care than other long-term care facilities. The order will not apply to assisted living facilities, residential-care facilities or board-and-care homes, although masking is still highly recommended in those settings.  

Hospitals and outpatient healthcare clinics in Contra Costa County will not be subject to the new County order, although local health systems can choose to enforce their own masking policies. Dr. Tzvieli said hospitals have robust infection-control policies and personnel and can determine if and when masking is required.

California’s pandemic-related health emergency ended on Feb. 28. While the state is lifting its masking requirements for healthcare settings on April 3, local health officials can still issue their own masking orders.

Under the County health order, a well-fitted mask is defined as covering the nose and mouth and it’s strongly recommended that SNF personnel use higher-quality masks, such as an N95 or KN95/94, to provide the maximum protection.

County health staff were asked why the order is still necessary when there has been less than a 1% infection rate in the county in the past 60 days and according to a physician at John Muir Medical Center Concord, the latest COVID strain is treated like a bad cold and they no longer hospitalize for it.

UPDATE: According to Contra Costa Health spokesman Will Harper, “The new local order is narrowly focused on skilled nursing facilities and not any other settings. We are focusing on SNFs in this order because they are where we have seen some of the worst impacts of COVID in Contra Costa County, and we are being cautious with removing one of the last major layers of protection in this setting. As we said in the press release, requiring staff in skilled nursing facilities to wear masks will help protect the vulnerable elderly patients they serve.

From March 2020 to August 2022, deaths of residents of skilled nursing facilities accounted for approximately 27% of all deaths from COVID in the County and, looking more broadly, since the start of the pandemic, 57% of the deaths from COVID in Contra Costa have been among people ages 75 and older.”

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.


Contra Costa County physicians union reaches contract agreement with management

Monday, March 27th, 2023

The Physicians’ and Dentists’ Organization of Contra Costa (PDOCC), a labor union representing more than 240 doctors in Contra Costa County’s public health system, announced a contract agreement with county management. 

The agreement was supported by 90 percent of voting PDOCC members and approved by the County Board Supervisors on Tuesday, May 21. It avoids a historic strike which would have impacted operations throughout the county health system. 

The contract enhances the time doctors have to manage their panels of patients and also makes the compensation package more competitive in the Bay Area market. 

The contract addresses many issues PDOCC members raised in their negotiations. During the negotiations county doctors and dentists pointed to high patient caseloads, insufficient time for administrative tasks, long waits for primary care appointments and specialty referrals, chronic short staffing and high turnover – all of which combine to negatively impact patient care and health impacts. 

“Our new contract advances our goal of improving the ability of Contra Costa County to recruit and retain top medical and dental talent to best serve our communities,” said Dr. David MacDonald, PDOCC President. “We will continue advocating for the patient care issues we called attention to in our negotiations, but we are optimistic about our progress and path forward.” 


Contra Costa Supervisors select long time Deputy Attorney, current Chief Assistant as new County Counsel

Tuesday, March 21st, 2023

Thomas L. Geiger was selected the new Contra Costa County Counsel. Source: CCC Office of Communications & Media

County Counsel is the legal advisor for the County, including the Board of Supervisors and County officers, departments, boards and commissions, and certain special districts. Mr. Geiger has been an attorney in the County Counsel’s Office since 2001 and has served as Chief Assistant County Counsel since August 2022. He has significant legal experience in the areas of land use, code enforcement, real estate, public works, elections, emergency medical services, and Delta and water issues. Among his many accomplishments, he advised the Board of Supervisors, County Health Officer, and other County departments on legal issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic response.

“It’s a privilege to serve Contra Costa County in this role and to lead such an incredible team in the County Counsel’s Office,” Geiger said. “I am deeply honored to be selected as County Counsel and for the opportunity to help the Board of Supervisors carry out its vision of delivering quality public services that make a difference in the lives of people throughout our County.”

Geiger succeeds Mary Ann Mason, who retired as County Counsel in November 2022. As County Counsel, he will lead a legal team of 55 attorneys and staff who advise the County on civil legal matters and defend the County in litigation filed against it.

“Tom has a long history of public service in Contra Costa and has skillfully guided our County through complicated legal issues involving disaster response, land use and other significant community matters,” said Board Chair John Gioia, who represents District I. “We are grateful for his strong leadership, commitment to equity and transparency, and his ability to implement the Board’s priorities on the public’s behalf.”

Mr. Geiger holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Stanford University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Davis, School of Law.

Antioch Mayor Thorpe introduces acting city manager, assures residents council’s priorities will continue, takes racially charged swipe at residents, swipes at APD

Friday, March 17th, 2023

Mayor Lamar Thorpe was joined by City department heads and Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock at a press conference announcing Forrest Ebbs (rear, right of Thorpe) as interim city manager following the council vote to place City Manager Con Johnson on administrative leave Friday morning, March 17, 2023. Video screenshot.

APOA responds in support of Community Development Director Forrest Ebbs’ appintment

“…this city has one mayor and one council that determines where we go as a city.”

“I want to assure Antioch residents, our city employees and partners that the City’s leadership remains focused and united on our top priority of increasing our overall quality of life and ensuring public safety.”

“…the status quo in this city is so entrenched in the idea that Antioch is a place for a few and not a place for everyone to enjoy.”

“Police reform shall continue to be our top priority…I inherited a (police) department that operated under the idea that they reported to no one.” – Mayor Thorpe

Antioch Community Development Director Forrest Ebbs is the new interim city manager. Source: LinkedIn

By Allen D. Payton

Following the special Antioch City Council closed session meeting, Friday morning, March 17 2023, in which they unanimously voted to place City Manager Con Johnson on administrative leave, Mayor Lamar Thorpe held a press conference to introduce Community Development Director Forrest Ebbs as the acting city manager. The mayor wanted to also assure the public that the City would continue to work on the council’s priorities and was joined by all the City’s department heads and District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, whom he thanked. He also took swipes at members of the public and the Antioch Police Department.

Thorpe livestreamed the press conference on his official Facebook page and provided the Herald with a copy of his following prepared remarks:

“The City Council has appointed Forrest Ebbs as the city’s acting city manager until further notice.

I want to personally thank Forrest Ebbs for stepping up to hold the ship steady as we navigate our way through some unexpected changes. I also want to thank our city department heads for remaining steadfast in our resolve to continue moving this city forward regardless of the situation.”

Thorpe the mentioned Ebbs’ education and professional background. (See Ebbs’ LinkedIn profile for details)

The mayor continued with his statement saying, “On Wednesday, I met with all of our department heads minus one to look them in the eye and remind them that they are all valuable members of our administration and that they have my full support and the support of this council.

I want to assure Antioch residents, our city employees and partners that the City’s leadership remains focused and united on our top priority of increasing our overall quality of life and ensuring public safety.

Antioch’s government continues to be open for business and working for the people.

Yes, it’s normal to have policy disagreements, yes, it’s normal to have ideological differences and yes, it’s normal to be on opposite ends of political disagreements.

These items, however, do not change that this city has one mayor and one council that determines where we go as a city. We’ve set priorities and we’ve determined our goals and we’re committed to them until the voters decide it’s time to change course.

I recognize that we can’t realize our vision without a united team of administrators, which is why I’m proud to be standing here with our department heads. They have my back and I have their back.

Every day, I’m bombarded with some of the vilest and most disgusting racially motivated attacks. All you have to do is head back to Tuesday’s council meeting to see it. (Thorpe was referring to comments by former Antioch Councilman Ralph Hernandez about equity and the racial makeup of the city council)

Why? Because the status quo in this city is so entrenched in the idea that Antioch is a place for a few and not a place for everyone to enjoy.

This is why it’s so important to find like-minded partners as part of our administration. We do not have to always agree, but we absolutely have to be on the same page on the idea that Antioch’s government will work to represent every single resident.

Gone are the days when the few spoke for the all.

The department heads have assured me that they are committed to this mission and that they will continue moving forward with clarity, and a focus on delivering key services.

This month is a particularly heavy month as we prepare for the budget process under the leadership of Finance Director Dawn Merchant. I anticipate this process will be short and smooth and that it will be a reaffirmation of the long-term goals and priorities we set two years ago.

Within that budget process, we will be able to share with you that, while other cities are worried about their budgets, Antioch continues to be healthy, strong, and balanced.

Later this month, under the leadership of Director Tasha Johnson, we’ll launch the city’s first 24/7 crisis response team, the first city to do so in Contra Costa County and take control of Executive Inn so that we can launch the City’s first transitional housing program for our unhoused brothers and sisters.

Police reform shall continue to be our top priority especially given the unfortunate circumstance of ten percent of our police force being under FBI investigation.” (Actually, only 7 current officers out of the 99 sworn on the force are under investigation)

“United we have worked terribly hard to curb violent crime and we refuse to turn back the clock. In my first two years as mayor and with a progressive majority on the council, overall violent crime was lower than at any time between 2013 and 2020. In my second year as mayor, in 2022, the murder rate went down by 25% from the previous year.

If you recall, when I became mayor, I inherited a department that operated under the idea that they reported to no one.

A big reason why there have been so many changes within our city, including today’s change, is that every single city department, including the police, must report to the city manager under the umbrella of one city.

We are not the wild west, and we will ensure that every single department is accountable to the residents of our city. As you can see, the very nature of our work makes it so that disagreements are very public. That’s a democracy, and I embrace it.

However, the public nature of those disagreements does not, in any way, change our course. The work continues. The services will be delivered. The streets will be cleaned. And our streets will be safe. That is our continued commitment to you, the residents of the city of Antioch.

Thank you.”

Thorpe then repeated his statement in Spanish.

He then took questions, the first being “why did you vote to remove Mr. Johnson?”

Thorpe responded, “As you know…I’m not going to comment on personnel matters.”

He was then asked, “Are you going to support a national search for a replacement?”

“We are going to go through this process. If and when we get to a process like that, of course, I would,” the mayor responded. “It’s too early to speculate as we get through this process, first.”

Questions for Thorpe Go Unanswered

Since the Herald was not informed of the press conference beforehand, questions were emailed to the mayor after, asking since he had prepared his remarks before today’s closed session meeting, if he already have his mind made up how he was going to vote on the matter of placing Johnson on paid leave. Thorpe was also asked for clarification that Johnson is on paid administrative leave since the announcement didn’t include the word paid. Finally, he was pressed further asking what are the next steps in the process, if the council has to wait until any possible lawsuit or investigation of Johnson is completed before terminating him and then beginning the hiring process for a new city manager.

Thorpe did not respond before publication time. Please check back later for any responses from him or any other updates to this report.

3:17 pm UPDATE: The Antioch Police Officers Association issued a statement Friday afternoon in support of Ebbs’ appointment as acting city manager. On their Facebook page they wrote, “The APOA has learned of the appointment of Forrest Ebbs as acting City Manager. We look forward to having a good working relationship with him moving forward as we all seek to work together towards a safer community. We hope that together we can support the vision and mission that Chief Ford is continuing to implement at APD.”