Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Biden-Harris Administration, House Democrats working to attract more foreign students, workers for American technology jobs

Thursday, January 27th, 2022

American tech workers not happy, say policy change “destroys the career prospects of young American graduates”

By Allen D. Payton

President Biden and Vice President Harris issued a statement on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, announcing actions and policy changes their administration is taking to make it easier to attract foreign scholars, students, researchers, and experts to ultimately fill American technology jobs. In addition, on Tuesday, Biden issued a statement announcing his support for the America COMPETES Act of 2022 (H.R. 3593).

In addition, according to an announcement issued today by the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor, tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 28, the Biden administration will make 20,000 additional temporary nonfarm, H2-B work visas available for hiring through March, delivering on a demand from business groups.

“The supplemental H-2B visa allocation consists of 13,500 visas available to returning workers who received an H-2B visa, or were otherwise granted H-2B status, during one of the last three fiscal years. The remaining 6,500 visas, which are exempt from the returning worker requirement, are reserved for nationals of Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras,” the joint statement reads. “The H-2B program permits employers to temporarily hire noncitizens to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the United States.”

Also, according to a Bloomberg Law article, published yesterday, Democrats have included a new entrepreneur visa in a House bill.

“Nonimmigrant visas for owners and key employees of start-ups as well as their family members and other STEM-boosting measures are part of legislation introduced by Democratic House leaders this week. The Senate last year passed its own version of the legislation, which President Joe Biden’s administration has identified as a key priority,” the article reads. “The bill, which also exempts immigrants with doctorates in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics fields from annual green card caps, is part of a broader legislative package released Tuesday that seeks to strengthen U.S. competitiveness with China in research and development.”

American Tech Workers Not Happy

But an organization of American technology workers, U.S. Tech Workers, which describes itself as a “nonprofit representing the voices of American workers harmed by the H-1B visa program and pushing Congress for reforms to protect workers”, are not happy with the Administration’s policies nor the Democrats’ legislation.

In a post on the group’s Twitter feed on Monday, Jan. 24, they wrote, “employers lobbied the US government for the ability to hire foreign workers via guest worker visa programs so they could rig the free-market in their favor.”

The group is also opposed to the changes in the H-2B visa and OPT programs. They said the changes will encourage companies to discriminate against American job applicants.

“This is exactly the kind of policy that destroys the career prospects of young American graduates,” the group posted on their Twitter feed. “USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) is incentivizing employers to discriminate against US grads because the OPT program provides employers who hire foreign students: – FICA tax exemptions – No wage standards.”

An article on the group’s website written by Joe Guzzardi, a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist who writes about immigration issues, and joined Progressives for Immigration Reform in 2018, reads, “STEM OPT’s expansion…is significant since the thousands of new foreign-born workers entering the labor pool will adversely affect employed U.S. tech workers or recent U.S. STEM graduates whose prospective careers could be jeopardized.”

In addition, the U.S. Tech Workers tweeted, “Exempting a certain category of foreign workers counting towards numerical Green Card caps is a deceptive & crafty tactic of INCREASING overall immigration numbers. It basically means there’s an unlimited supply of GCs for PhDs & their family (spouse/kids).”

In another tweet about Biden’s statement on the America COMPETES ACT of 2022, the U.S. Tech Workers wrote, “House version of America COMPETES Act of 2022 sneakingly adds immigration provisions: – Exempts PhD foreign students & their family from counting towards Green Card cap – Creates new visas for entrepreneurs.”

According to a 2021 Bloomberg article, “Businesses that hire foreign students are exempt from paying Medicare and Social Security taxes, amounting to a discount of 7.65%.”

Biden-Harris Foreign STEM Talent Statement

The statement from the White House reads as follows:

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Actions to Attract STEM Talent and Strengthen our Economy and Competitiveness

JANUARY 21, 2022

“The Biden-Harris Administration believes that one of America’s greatest strengths is our ability to attract global talent to strengthen our economy and technological competitiveness, and benefit working people and communities all across the country.

In the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) – fields that are critical to the prosperity, security, and health of our Nation – our history is filled with examples of how America’s ability to attract global talent has spurred path-breaking innovation. This innovation has led to the creation of new jobs, new industries, and new opportunities for Americans across the United States. Our commitment as a nation to welcoming new talent has long provided America with a global competitive advantage, and we must continue to lead in this effort.

Today, the Departments of State and Homeland Security are announcing new actions to advance predictability and clarity for pathways for international STEM scholars, students, researchers, and experts to contribute to innovation and job creation efforts across America. These actions will allow international STEM talent to continue to make meaningful contributions to America’s scholarly, research and development, and innovation communities.

These announcements build on the Biden Administration’s efforts to remove barriers to legal immigration, such as under Executive Order 14012, Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans, and to promote educational exchange, such as under the recent Joint Statement of Principles in Support of International Education issued by Secretaries Blinken and Cardona.

Today’s agency announcements include:

  • The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is announcing an “Early Career STEM Research Initiative,” to facilitate non-immigrant BridgeUSA exchange visitors coming to the United States to engage in STEM research through research, training or educational exchange visitor programs with host organizations, including businesses. ECA is also announcing new guidance that will facilitate additional academic training for undergraduate and graduate students in STEM fields on the J-1 visa for periods of up to 36 months.
  • Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas is announcing that 22 new fields of study are now included in the STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) program through the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). The program permits F-1 students earning Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorates in certain STEM fields to remain in the United States for up to 36 months to complete Optional Practical Training after earning their degrees. Information on the new fields of study will be communicated to schools and students in a forthcoming Federal Register notice. The added fields of study are primarily new multidisciplinary or emerging fields, and are critical in attracting talent to support U.S. economic growth and technological competitiveness.
  • DHS is issuing an update to its policy manual related to “extraordinary ability” (O-1A) nonimmigrant status regarding what evidence may satisfy the O-1A evidentiary criteria.
  • O-1A nonimmigrant status is available to persons of extraordinary ability in the fields of science, business, education, or athletics. In this update, DHS is clarifying how it determines eligibility for immigrants of extraordinary abilities, such as PHD holders, in the science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) fields.
  • The new update provides examples of evidence that may satisfy the O-1A evidentiary criteria and discusses considerations that are relevant to evaluating such evidence, with a focus on the highly technical nature of STEM fields and the complexity of the evidence often submitted.
  • The update also emphasizes that, if a petitioner demonstrates that a particular criterion does not readily apply to their occupation, they may submit evidence that is of comparable significance to that criterion to establish sustained acclaim and recognition. Additionally, it provides examples of possible comparable evidence that may be submitted in support of petitions for beneficiaries working in STEM fields.
  • With respect to immigration, DHS is issuing an update to its policy manual on how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a DHS component, adjudicates national interest waivers for certain immigrants with exceptional abilities in their field of work.
    • The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides that an employer can file an immigrant petition for a person of exceptional ability or a member of the professions with an advanced degree. The INA provides that USCIS may waive a job offer requirement, allowing immigrants whose work is in the national interest to petition for themselves, without an employer.
    • The USCIS policy update clarifies how the national interest waiver can be used for persons with advanced degrees in STEM fields and entrepreneurs, as well as the significance of letters from governmental and quasi-governmental entities. This update will promote efficient and effective benefit processing as USCIS reviews requests for national interest waivers. This effort is consistent with the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities to restore faith in the legal immigration system.

Biden Statement on America COMPETES Act of 2022

Following is the statement by the President Biden on the America COMPETES ACT of 2022 issued on Tuesday:

Statement by President Biden on the America COMPETES Act of 2022

JANUARY 25, 2022

The House took an important step forward today in advancing legislation that will make our supply chains stronger and reinvigorate the innovation engine of our economy to outcompete China and the rest of the world for decades to come.

The proposals laid out by the House and Senate represent the sort of transformational investments in our industrial base and research and development that helped power the United States to lead the global economy in the 20th century and expand opportunity for middle class families. They’ll help bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, and they’re squarely focused on easing the sort of supply chain bottlenecks like semiconductors that have led to higher prices for the middle class. Building on the historic investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that I signed last year – and on signs of progress like last week’s Intel announcement and today’s GM announcement – comprehensive competitiveness legislation will power our economy to create good-paying jobs for all Americans, no matter where you live or whether you have a college degree, and will help tackle the climate crisis.

I’m heartened by Congress’ bipartisan work so far, and its commitment to quick action to get this to my desk as soon as possible. Together, we have an opportunity to show China and the rest of the world that the 21st century will be the American century – forged by the ingenuity and hard work of our innovators, workers, and businesses.”

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Analysis: Antioch School Board should scrap the maps for redistricting at Wednesday meeting

Wednesday, January 26th, 2022

Proposed Antioch School Board Trustee Areas Redistricting Map Scenario 2A. Source: AUSD

All 3 gerrymandered to protect incumbents, except for one trustee; very few changes from 2019 map based on 2010 Census with 13,400 fewer residents

Board should start over and allow more public input with online mapping tool

By Allen Payton

Official Notice

Subject: Post Census Redistricting

Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2022 (During the Regular Board of Education Meeting)

Time: Open Session 7:00 p.m.

Location: Deer Valley High School Theater 4700 Lone Tree Way, Antioch, CA 94531

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Governing Board of the Antioch Unified School District will hold a public hearing during its Regular Board Meeting on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, to receive community feedback regarding post census redistricting. To ensure Trustee Areas are in compliance with Education Code 5019.5, the District must review and potentially adjust its electoral map. This hearing will provide the AUSD Board of Education an opportunity to review initial draft scenarios adjusting the boundaries for trustee areas and to accept feedback from the community regarding the proposed changes. Proposed maps can be viewed at https://www.antiochschools.net/domain/3540.

Proposed Antioch School Board Trustee Areas Redistricting Map Scenario1. Source: AUSD

Analysis

During their next regularly scheduled Antioch School Board meeting tonight, Wednesday, January 26, 2022, the Antioch School Board will consider three maps that are very similar to their current map. That’s in spite of a population growth of 13,386 in the district during the decade of 2010 to 2020. The current trustee area map was approved by the board in 2019 based on the 2010 Census. (See related article)

The three proposed maps, drawn by a consultant and labeled Scenario 1, 2 and 3, all show where the current trustees live, which is a political matter and is not a required criteria for the board to consider, based on either federal or state law. The trustee area boundary lines don’t make much sense other than protecting incumbents. The only exception is Trustee Ellie Householder who moved from the current Area 2 to Area 1, last year. The map only uses major roads as boundaries between Areas 1 and 2. For example, both Trustee Mary Rocha barely lives inside Area 5 and Trustee Clyde Lewis, Jr. barely lives inside Area 3.

Plus, the maps don’t respect communities of interest, a basic principle of redistricting, splitting the Mira Vista Hills area south of James Donlon Blvd. into Areas 2 and 4. In addition, the maps don’t primarily use major roads as dividing lines, especially between Areas 3 and 4 and between Areas 2 and 3.

Also, the current map and all three proposed maps unnecessarily have the area bounded by Lone Tree Way, Deer Valley Road and Country Hills Drive, where no one lives, included in Area 4 instead of Area 2 creating a strange shape. That area is one Census Tract and can easily be moved between trustee areas.

Trust areas are legally allowed to have a maximum population deviation from average of 5% or 10% maximum between areas. Scenario 1 has a deviation of 8.3% between trustee areas, Scenario 2 offers a deviation of 1.2% and Scenario 3 has a deviation of 4.0%.

Scrap Proposed Maps, Offer Public Online Mapping Tool

What the board should do is scrap the three proposed consultant’s maps and start over by opening the process to the public – putting we the people in charge of choosing who it is will represent us, not the other way around – and provide an online mapping tool like the Antioch City Council and other cities have done. But the board should use the same tool as on the City of Brentwood’s city council redistricting website, since it’s the easiest to use of those in the county and BART’s that I’ve tried.

What the board and council should have done is form independent citizen redistricting commissions, like both the city councils of Brentwood and Martinez have done, to truly put the process in the hands of the public and take the politics out of it. (See related article)

While the board must have a final map approved by March 1, that gives them the two meetings in February, and if necessary, they could hold a separate redistricting workshop, to consider maps drawn and submitted by the public. They need to direct their redistricting consultant to get the online mapping tool up by Friday.

We shall see if they’re interested in doing what’s best for the people they were elected to represent or what will protect their own political interests.

The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. and can be viewed in-person or online at https://youtu.be/VFJxu3aBpYw. Public comments can only be made in person at the meeting by completing and submitting a speaker card.

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Analysis: Antioch council to consider narrowing redistricting map choices from 13 to two Tuesday night

Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

Antioch Redistricting Public Map 508. The Census Tract missing in District 2 is open space and no one lives there, so it doesn’t affect the population figures.

Why is redistricting so important?

Let the people choose their representatives, not the other way around

“It shouldn’t be in the hands of politicians” – Lamar Thorpe

New map doesn’t have to be based on current map; Council should choose maps drawn by members of the public

ThHerald recommends Maps 508 (58 revised), 91 and 95 as best alternatives; consultant should also provide details for all publicly submitted maps

By Allen D. Payton

During their meeting Tuesday night, Jan. 25, 2022, the Antioch City Council will consider narrowing down the number of redistricting maps they will consider to just two from the current map approved in 2018. So far, three maps were created and submitted by the consultant, Q2 Data and Research, based on input from the council members, which made slight adjustments to the current map. Q2 provided details for each of the four council districts showing specific streets in each of Maps A, B and C. In addition, members of the public have drawn and submitted n10 alternative maps but Q2 did not provide the same details for each of the four districts for those maps, numbers 34, 39, 49, 58, 87, 91, 95, 503 and now, 508 which is 58 revised. (See agenda item, here – ACC012522 – Redistricting)

Why Redistricting is So Important

Every 10 years, in the year following the Census when the new population figures are determined, district lines must be redrawn to comply with the spirit of one-person-one-vote as intended by the U.S. Constitution. Redistricting should be based on principles not politics. Redistricting is so important because how the new district boundaries are drawn will determine who can run for office and who the voters will elect to represent them.

Thus, we the people should be in control of redistricting, so we get to choose who represents us, rather than the elected officials choosing who it is they will represent. While it would be best to have no population percentage deviation between districts, as it is with redrawing congressional districts, which are required to have a difference of no more than one person, all other districts are legally allowed a maximum deviation of 5% from average.

“It Shouldn’t Be in the Hands of Politicians”

During the districting process in 2018, then-Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe said, “This is why I hate this process. It shouldn’t be in the hands of politicians.” But neither he nor any other council member proposed forming an independent citizens’ redistricting commission to redraw the council district boundaries, as both Brentwood and Martinez have done. (See related article) So the Antioch Council members will make the decision about their own districts and the public’s opportunity to have a say are during the public hearings on redistricting.

Fortunately, the council had Q2 create a redistricting page on the City’s website, provide an online mapping tool for the public to use to create their own alternative map, and Q2 posted each of the maps for the public to review. Plus, Mayor Thorpe has insisted on having all the maps included in each council discussion, as they were submitted by members of the public. (See Draft Maps and Public Map Submissions on that page)

New Map Doesn’t Have to Be Based on Current Map

At the Council’s Jan. 10th public hearing on redistricting, Karin Mac Donald, owner and Senior Researcher of Q2 said, “there is no law…that says you must start with the districts drawn in the last process.” So, the council can completely scrap the current map, which is based on the 2010 Census figures, and approve a completely new map, which must be based on the 2020 Census population of Antioch which grew by almost 13,000 residents during that time.

Redistricting Principles

During BART’s process, the consultant offered Key Points to Consider in Redistricting, which include:

“Traditional Redistricting Principles – Since decennial redistricting began in the late 1960s, traditional criteria and principles have developed. While the equal population of election districts is the overriding principle there are accompanying goals. In varying degrees, the criteria are compactness, continuity, respect for communities of interest, preserving political subdivisions, and the core of previous districts. All are not of equal weight and all are subordinate to an equal population. Care must be taken not to dilute the voting strength of minorities.

Compactness – Compactness refers to a districts’ geographic shape and how its interior is dispersed within its boundaries. A circle is a perfectly compact shape. In redistricting, the notion of compactness is difficult to evaluate because one begins with irregularly shaped borders and the political subdivisions may be irregular in shape. Geometric measures of compactness are often misleading because geographic features and relationships are more complex than simple geometry. The principle of compactness should be considered functionally and must compete with other criteria.

Continuity – Continuity requires that all parts of a district be connected. Districts can be drawn that are contiguous by way of water or a bridge. While crossing water is allowed it should be minimized as it makes it more difficult to respect communities of interest.

Preserving Political Subdivisions – An attempt should be made to minimize splitting cities and well-defined neighborhoods; and

Respect for Communities of Interest – Communities of interest are subjective and difficult to define. A community of interest has some common thread of shared interest. Those communities can be based on such diverse elements as geography, language, socio-economic-cultural interests, even transportation corridors. Race may be considered, but it may not be the sole reason for drawing a district in a particular manner.”

Use Common Sense, Follow State & Federal Law, No Consideration for Incumbency

Also, according to the BART redistricting process, “new districts should be drawn deliberatively and with common sense. Adherence to traditional redistricting principles and the federal Voting Rights Act will ensure fair and reasonable districts.”

The council must also follow the state’s FAIR MAPS Act when redrawing district boundaries, as Mac Donald pointed out, previously. But the council members do not have to consider to incumbency, in other words, where the current council members live. The Antioch School Board didn’t when they created their first district maps in 2018, resulting in two incumbents living in the same district. The same could occur with the council’s redistricting process when choosing a final map.

Council Should Choose Maps Drawn by Members of the Public

If the Council is going to “whittle it down the number of maps” as suggested by Mac Donald during the Jan. 10th public hearing, they should choose maps submitted by the public in order to reduce both the appearance of political influence and consideration of where incumbents live. Of the nine publicly submitted maps, I recommend that the Council choose among Maps 91, 95 and of course, 58, which I drew and submitted, as finalists.

The online mapping tool for the public only allows the creation of districts using Census Blocks, but the mapping software used by the consultants can be as specific as moving one house between districts. So, if the Council wants to make minor adjustments to any of the publicly submitted maps, Q2 staff can easily accommodate them.

Antioch Redistricting-Public Submission Map #91.

Map 91 Analysis

Map 91 is a combination of the current council districts map and map 58 by connecting all three districts on the south side of Highway 4 to the freeway. However, this map connects District 4 to Highway 4 on the east side of the city, instead. The map also moves the Mira Vista Hills area from District 4 to District 2 which is one reason I like this map, plus the use of major roadways such as Lone Tree Way and Hillcrest Avenue, and the canal as common-sense dividing lines.

While District 4 is less compact than in other maps and looks kind of strange, like a fat seahorse, seated camel or short-necked and legged giraffe, it makes District 3 more compact than it is currently.

CORRECTION: It would be great if the six homes between Hillcrest Avenue and the canal, east of Wildhorse Road could be moved into District 3 instead of District 4, to eliminate the small section that looks like the aforementioned creature’s left ear. But, according to Jane Hood of Q2, Census Tracts cannot be divided and this time, compared to 10 years ago, there are fewer Census Tracts.

While the note beneath Map 91 in the staff report reads, “As drawn this map doesn’t have all census tracts assigned (See District 2)” that’s only the Contra Loma Reservoir in which no resident lives. Since fish don’t yet have the right to vote, adding that census tract won’t change any of the population statistics for that district.

The map also offers one of the lowest population deviations of all the publicly submitted maps. The greatest population deviation in Map 91 is just 1.72% between Districts 1 and 4, which is the least among the three final maps I’m recommending.

Antioch Redistricting-Public Submission Map #95.

Map 95 Analysis

Of all but one of the public submissions, Map 95 significantly changes things from the current map by dividing the area north of Highway 4 between three council districts, numbers 1, 2 and 3, which is what I like best about this map. Although it goes against the argument made during the 2018 districting process that the residents north of Highway 4 wanted to have their own representative on the council, that hasn’t served that part of the city well, nor did it result in the election of a Hispanic council member, which is why the council switched to district elections in the first place, under threat of a lawsuit they were told they couldn’t win.

That’s in spite of the fact there are and/or have been Hispanic elected officials on both the city council and school board. Another fact is, after the school board switched to district elections, Antonio Hernandez was elected in 2020 to represent the current Area 1, which includes portions of both the north and south sides of Highway 4, giving the board two Hispanic trustees. The other, Trustee Mary Rocha, has not yet run in a district election, but lives in Area 5 and whose seat is up in November. (See current Antioch School Board Trustee Area Map)

The comment provided by the creator of Map 95 reads, “It results in three council members representing the waterfront instead of just one. It also serves to more unify the city between older parts and newer parts instead of dividing it like the current districts do with just one district north of Highway 4. It also combines the Mira Vista Hills area south of James Donlon Blvd. with the older areas north of James Donlon Blvd. and the newer area west of Somersville Road which is more of a Community of Interest.”

The move of the Mira Vista Hills area south of James Donlon Blvd. from District 4 to District 2 is another reason I like this map, plus the use of major roadways and the canal as common-sense dividing lines.

The note beneath Map 95 is that below Map 91 and for the same reasons dealing with not including the Contra Loma Reservoir in which no resident lives, unless there’s a secret Navy Submarine base in it that the public is unaware of.

The greatest population deviation in Map 95 is 8.24% between Districts 2 and 3, which is the most among the three finalists I support.

Antioch Redistricting-Public Submission Map #58.

Map 58 Analysis

Except for District 1, Map 58 changes things significantly from the current map, connecting all the three other districts to Highway 4. It makes Districts 2 and 3 more compact and primarily uses the major roads of Lone Tree Way, James Donlon Blvd. and Hillcrest Avenue/Deer Valley Road to separate Districts 2, 3 and 4. As with Map 95 it also moves the Mira Vista Hills area south of James Donlon Blvd. from District 4 into District 2 which makes more sense.

While Map 58, as drawn, divides the homes in the same homeowners’ association along Prewett Ranch Road east of Deer Valley Road, between Districts 3 and 4, up to 992 residents in the older homes on the south side of the street can be moved from District 4 into District 3, and still keep District 3 within the 5% population deviation from average.

CORRECTION: It would be great if the dividing line for Districts 3 and 4 could be between the homes in the newer subdivisions in the Sand Creek area and the homes in the neighborhoods along Prewett Ranch Drive. But that would require splitting up a Census Tract.

The greatest population deviation in Map 58 is currently just 2.91%, also between Districts 2 and 3. However, if the homes on the south side of Prewett Ranch Drive are moved into District 3, the deviation would increase.

Map 508 (58 Revised)

A revised Map 58 was drawn and submitted Monday night, and is labeled #508, did part of that, by moving some homes on the south side of Prewett Ranch Drive east of Deer Valley Road from District 4 into District 3. In addition, Map 508 moves the homes on the south side of James Donlon Blvd. between Lone Tree Way and Tabora Drive, as well as the Contra Loma Reservoir area from District 4 into District 2.

The changes increase the population deviation to 8.75%. But that should be acceptable, as it leaves District 4 with the least current population, which again, is expected to have the greatest population growth with the new homes in the Sand Creek area over the next decade.

Public Hearing Tuesday Night, Jan. 25

The council meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. immediately followed by the public hearing on redistricting at 7:05 p.m. and can be viewed in-person in the Council Chambers at 200 H Street and are televised live on Comcast channel 24, AT&T U-verse channel 99, or live stream at www.antiochca.gov/government/city-council-meetings.

Public Comments

Members of the public wishing to provide public comment may do so one of the following ways (#2 pertains to the Zoom Webinar):

  1. Fill out an online speaker card by 3:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting located at: , https://www.antiochca.gov/speaker_card.
  2. Provide oral public comments during the meeting by clicking the following link to register in advance to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar: https://www.antiochca.gov/speakers

– You will be asked to enter an email address and a name. Your email address will not be disclosed to the public. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to connect to the meeting.

– When the mayor announces public comments, click the “raise hand” feature in Zoom. For instructions on using the “raise hand” feature in Zoom, visit: https://www.antiochca.gov/raise_hand. When calling into the meeting using the Zoom Webinar telephone number, press *9 on your telephone keypad to “raise your hand”. Please ensure your Zoom client is updated so staff can enable your microphone when it is your turn to speak.

  1. Email comments to cityclerk@ci.antioch.ca.us by 3:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting. The comment will be read into the record at the meeting (350 words maximum, up to 3 minutes, at the discretion of the mayor). IMPORTANT: Identify the agenda item in the subject line of your email if the comment is for Announcement of Community Events, Public Comment, or a specific agenda item number. No one may speak more than once on an agenda item or during “Public Comments”.

All emails received by 3:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting will be entered into the record or the meeting. Speakers will be notified shortly before they are called to speak.

 

 

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Police seek suspects in shooting death of man near Antioch liquor store Monday afternoon

Monday, January 24th, 2022

Resident reported seeing someone giving the victim CPR.

By Strategic Communications Officer Darryl Saffold, Antioch Police Department

ANTIOCH, CA – Today, Monday 24, 2022 at approximately 2:16 PM, Antioch Police Department Dispatch began receiving numerous 911 calls of gunshots being fired in the area of 2958 Delta Fair Boulevard, the location of Super Wine & Liquor. Additional information that was provided indicated a subject was on the ground in the parking lot, who appeared to have been struck by gunfire and was in critical condition. Supplementary witness accounts informed Dispatch that an unidentified vehicle drove away from the area at a high rate of speed.

At approximately 2:19 PM, Antioch Officers arrived in the area and noticed an unresponsive Black male adult approximately in his 50’s, lying motionless in the parking lot. After life-saving measures were attempted by officers, the victim ultimately succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. The man has not yet been identified.

According to an Antioch resident who first informed the Herald at 2:30 p.m., “shooting corner of Delta Fair and Gentrytown. Guy on the ground receiving CPR. Whole corner is taped off for a crime scene.”
Another resident reported to the Herald at 3:05 p.m., that it “looks like somebody shot somebody because there was a body, police cars over there by the checking cash and that liquor store right across the street from that laundry place.”

Please avoid this area, as this is an active crime scene.

Due to the ongoing and active nature of the investigation, no further information is available to be released at this time.

This information is made available by the Support Services Division. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective A. Duffy at (925) 779-8940 or at aduffy@antiochca.gov. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

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Following complaint of a man exposing himself, parolee arrested on outstanding warrant in Antioch Sunday morning

Sunday, January 23rd, 2022

Antioch Police arrest parolee Andre Powell in the parking lot across from City Hall on W. 2nd Street, Sunday morning, Jan. 23, 2022. Photo by Allen D. Payton

By Allen D. Payton

A man was arrested along Antioch’s waterfront across from City Hall, Sunday morning, after Antioch Police received a complaint about a male exposing himself. An officer on the scene said the man was a wanted parolee.

According to APD Strategic Communications Officer Darryl Saffold, “he was on parole for a being a felon in possession of a firearm.”

“Officers were dispatched to the area of Monica’s (Riverview restaurant) for a call of a male exposing himself. Officers stopped Andre Powell (born in 1978) who matched the description and found that he was a Parolee at large,” Saffold explained. “It doesn’t say how he violated his parole in the warrant, but his primary offense was felon in possession of a firearm.”

Powell could be heard saying to police, as they placed him in the back of a police van, “you’re violating my rights.”

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Contra Costa Supervisors to consider COVID-related budget issues, Measure X fund allocations during Tuesday retreat

Sunday, January 23rd, 2022

Source: CCC

Administrator to recommend delaying allocation of $59 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds; projects 6% increase in property tax revenues

To hear presentation on “The Post COVID New World Order”

By Daniel Borsuk

Citing bureaucratic red tape, Contra Costa County Administrator Monica Nino will propose the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors postpone spending $59 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds until at least January 2023 in her presentation during their retreat focused on COVID-19 era budget issues, Tuesday.

The retreat will be televised live starting at 9 a.m. on Comcast Cable 27 and WAVE Channel 32 and online.

“The challenge in lining up funds to maximize cost recovery requires constant monitoring (coordination) between departments,” County Administrator Nino stated in documents recommending the partial funding postponement.

At the same time, Nino will also recommend $53 million in American Rescue Plan funds be allocated to the Contra Costa Health Services Department to improve response to the COVID-19 pandemic during the upcoming 2022/2023 fiscal year.

Supervisors are also expected to learn that for the upcoming fiscal year, $107 million of Measure X sales tax revenues will be allocated for the budget and 15 percent of the county’s labor contracts, including the California Nurses Association contract, which will be up for renewal on June 30. The 2022/2023 fiscal year budget will mark the first time Measure X funds will be spent.

County Administrator Nino is also expected to announce property taxes are to increase six percent for fiscal year 2022/2023, 3.44 per cent for the county and 3.82 percent for the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

“County property taxes declined over 11 percent between 2009 and 2012 and then grew significantly between 2014 and 2019. Projecting an increase of 6 percent for fiscal year 2022/23,” Nino’s report states.

“The budget will be built on assumption of a 6 percent increase in assessed valuation. Fiscal year 2022/23 is projected to be significantly higher than normal,’ she wrote in the background document.

At the retreat, Dan Geiger will offer a presentation by the Contra Costa Budget Justice Coalition, consisting of 34 non-profit organizations focused on county fiscal accountability issues, that will showcase how the organization will monitor the supervisors’ budgetary process especially when in the 2022/2023 fiscal year $110 million of Measure X sales funds will be added to the general fund for the first time.

During their budget discussion, Supervisors will also receive departmental presentations from the Sheriff-Coroner, District Attorney, Public Defender, Health Services Director, Employment and Human Services Director and Animal Services Director.

Contra Costa County voters passed the Measure X countywide, half-cent sales tax increase on the November 2020 ballot.

The supervisors will also receive a report on Capital Projects, the Facilities Condition Assessment and the Facilities Master Plan.

The Post COVID New World Order presentation

Supervisors will also hear a report entitled, “The Post COVID New World Order – It’s a seller’s market for now,” delivered by Dr. Christopher Thornberg of independent economic research and consulting firm Beacon Economics. Thornberg predicts unemployment in the county should be 3.4 percent by the end of 2022, which is currently pegged at 4.6 percent.

“Labor tightness sets off an investment boom,” he will predict, but the economist will also warn, “Expect a sugar crash to come, combination of a tight federal budget and inflation.”

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.                                            

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San Francisco man arrested for illegal guns during traffic stop in Antioch Saturday

Saturday, January 22nd, 2022

Illegal guns confiscated by Antioch Police Officer during arrest on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. Photo: APD

By Allen D. Payton

According to Antioch Police Department Strategic Communications Officer Darryl Saffold, Officer Milner made an arrest, today, Saturday, January 22, 2022, in which he recovered an AR-style pistol and another illegal firearm. The suspect arrested is Giovanni Garcia, 21 years old from San Francisco, who was taken to the Martinez Detention Facility.

Officer Milner observed a vehicle that was in violation of the California Vehicle Code in numerous ways and made a traffic enforcement stop in the 700 block of W. 18th Street to speak with the driver.

In addition to the traffic violations, Officer Milner noted the strong odor of smoked marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. In California it is illegal to smoke marijuana inside your vehicle while driving. Think of it the same way one would think about having an open container of alcohol while driving.  Milner had probable cause to search the car.

After the various vehicle code violations and the incense strength aroma of smoked marijuana that exited the car, imagine Officer Milner’s surprise when he searched the car and located multiple firearms.

Needless to say, the vehicle was towed, and the driver went to the county jail in what is another example of proactive policing leading to more guns being taken off our streets.

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Antioch to celebrate its Sesquicentennial, the 150th anniversary of cityhood all year

Saturday, January 22nd, 2022

Celebrating Contra Costa County’s Original City!

Incorporation Day anniversary will be first event on February 6th

See list of thplanned events during this year’s celebration

By Allen D. Payton

On February 6, 1872, the City of Antioch was incorporated “for the purposes of police and other matters”, becoming the first city in Contra Costa County. This year marks the 150th anniversary or what is known as the sesquicentennial of that event and the City, with the leadership of Celebrate Antioch Foundation, will be hosting events throughout the community this year.

While the City is providing most of the funding, more funds are needed to help pay for all the events. Please make a tax-deductible donation on their website, today and enjoy celebrating Antioch’s rich history as Contra Costa’s Original City and fun, family-friendly events all year.

Antioch Sesquicentennial Events

Following is the list of all the official Antioch Sesquicentennial events planned in the city, this year:

Antioch’s Incorporation Day

February 6th, 2022 1 pm – 4 pm

F Street & W. 2nd Street

We are coming together to acknowledge Antioch’s incorporation date, Contra Costa County’s original city and one of the oldest cities in California, at the Birthplace of Antioch monument at the foot of F Street. A proclamation will be read and a rededication held, followed by a light snack and drinks at the Antioch Senior Center.

Historical Society Kickoff Event

April 2nd, 2022 12:00 pm

Antioch Historical Museum

El Campanil Theatre Sesquicentennial Concert

April 16th, 2022 2:00 pm

El Campanil Theatre

Keep Antioch Beautiful Day/Earth Day

April 23rd, 2022

Rivertown Art & Wine Walk

May 7th, 2022 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Antioch’s Historic Downtown Rivertown

History Walk Event

May 14th, 2022

Antioch’s Historic Downtown Rivertown

Black Diamond Day

May 28th, 2022

Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve

Antioch Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament

June 3rd, 2022 Times TBA

Lone Tree Golf & Event Center

Free Day at Antioch Water Park

June 4th, 2022 Open-Close

Antioch Water Park

Movie Night at Antioch Water Park

June 16th, 2022 Dusk

Antioch Community Center at Prewett Family Park

Juneteenth Celebration

June 19th, 2022 Times TBA

Waldie Plaza, Antioch’s Historic Downtown Rivertown

Father’s Day Car Show

June 19th, 2022

Antioch’s Historic Downtown Rivertown

Movie Night at Antioch Water Park

June 23rd, 2022 Dusk

Antioch Community Center at Prewett Family Park

Sesquicentennial 5K Run

June 25th, 2022 7:00 am – finish

Trail off James Donlon Blvd.

Sesquicentennial Bicycle Race

June 26th, 2022 7:00 am – finish

Antioch’s Historic Downtown Rivertown

Movie Night at Antioch Water Park

June 30th, 2022 Dusk

Antioch Community Center at Prewett Family Park

Sesquicentennial Music in The Park

July 2nd, 2022 Time TBA

Williamson Ranch Park

Sesquicentennial 4th of July Celebration & Parade

July 4th, 2022 Morning-Night

Antioch’s Historic Downtown Rivertown

Hot August Cruise Night and Movie at El Campanil Theatre

August 27th, 2022 Times TBA

Antioch’s Historic Downtown Rivertown

Rivertown Peddlers Faire

September 10th, 2022 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Antioch’s Historic Downtown Rivertown

Fall Fest / BBQ Cook-Off

October 1st, 2022 6:00 am – 5:00 pm

Antioch’s Historic Downtown Rivertown

Halloween Kids Fest / Trick or Treating

October 29th, 2022 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Antioch’s Historic Downtown Rivertown

Veteran’s Day Parade

November 11th, 2022 Times TBA

Antioch’s Historic Downtown Rivertown

Holiday Delites Celebration

December 3rd, 2022 Times TBA

Antioch’s Historic Downtown Rivertown

Please see the Antioch Sesquicentennial page of this website for more details on each event which will be added as they are provided.

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