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Deer Valley graduates celebrate making it through their challenging final years of school

Sunday, June 12th, 2022

The Deer Valley High School Class of 2022 graduates receive their diplomas on stage during the ceremony inside Wolverine Stadium Friday morning, June 10, 2022. Photos by Allen D. Payton.

DVHS Salutatorian Ellie Yin introduces the Divine Voices to sing the National Anthem.

By Allen D. Payton

The Deer Valley High School Class of 2022 celebrated during their graduation ceremonies Friday morning, June 10, after overcoming the challenges of COVID they faced during their final school years, including remote learning, social distancing and wearing masks. The graduates were reminded of that in more than one speech that morning in their final time as students inside Wolverine Stadium.

While the audience awaited the arrival of the graduates on the field, the Deer Valley High School Band performed several songs under the leadership of Music Director Larry Widner.

Following the traditional performance of Pomp and Circumstance by the DVHS Band, and the Presentation of Colors of the U.S. and California state flags by representatives of the U.S. Marine Corps, the National Anthem was performed by the Deer Valley Divine Voices, who were introduced by Salutatorian Ellie Yin.

Senior Class President William Rogers offers a brief speech during the ceremony.

Dr. Bukky Oyebade, principal of Deer Valley High spoke about the challenges the graduates faced during COVID.

“For some just getting out of bed was very difficult,” she said to laughter. “You’re a group of young men and women who have demonstrated resilience day in and day out. Give yourselves a round of applause.”

“Don’t forget to demonstrate those skills you learned at DVHS,” Oyebade continued.  “Don’t forget to be kind to others. When others expect you to dim your light and conform to darkness, shine anyways.”

Antioch School Board Trustee Dr. Clyde Lewis reminded the class of their past while encouraging them for having what he called the “wolverine spirit”.

“The last few years have been challenging to say the least. COVID, shutdowns, economic uncertainty, and a whole lot more,” he stated. “I can only imagine what it was like trying to navigate all of those things while also planning for the future. The fact that you are here proves you have the wolverine spirit. Simply that you did not give up shows that you have the wolverine spirit. Through it all, you not only persevered, but you also thrived, which again exhibits that you have the wolverine spirit.”

Class of 2022 Valedictorian Colby Ye offers encouraging words to his fellow graduates.

“People who exhibit the wolverine spirit are typically fearless and are not intimated by anything. They are risk-takers and are so focused on their pursuits that the thought of failure does not stop them from their mission,” Lewis continued on the theme. “The wolverine spirit is bold trendsetters who go against the grain to accomplish their goals. Wolverines are never scared and are determined to attain their goals. Does this sound like anyone we know? I stand before a group of wolverines who have already shown they are tenacious enough to overcome the many twists and turns of the last few years.”

Senior Class President William Rogers offered the first student speech. Speaking of the future, he said his classmates will see “stuff we’ve never seen before. We’re going to make an impact on this world, so let’s make it a good one. We are here. So, let’s not stop, now.”

Valedictorian Colby Ye spoke next saying “Four years. We made it. We worked hard, struggled, played.”

He spoke of “showing up to class without pants” to laughter from the graduates.

“Take the experiences that you’ve had here and use them,” Ye continued. “Set your heart ablaze. Live your life with passion. For with passion nothing is out of reach.”

“Fill your life with fun. But remember fill your life with passion,” he concluded.

AUSD Superintendent Stephanie Anello stepped in to give Sarina Turnage her diploma.

Trustee Rocha presents a graduate with her diploma.

AUSD Superintendent Stephanie Anello then formally accepted the graduates.

“As the Superintendent of the Antioch Unified School District, it is my distinct honor to accept the 2022 graduating class from Deer Valley High School,” she said. “Upon the recommendation of the faculty and on behalf of the Antioch Unified School District Board of Education, I certify that each of you has completed the graduation requirements set forth by the Antioch Unified School District. Having completed these requirements, I confer upon each of you the high school diploma with all of its rights, honors, and responsibilities.”

“Henceforth, you are to be considered high school graduates and alumni of Deer Valley High School,” she said to cheers from the graduates. “Congratulations,” Anello added.”

Trustee Lewis congratulates one of the graduates.

The Divine Voices under the leadership of Choral Director Georgia Friend, performed two more songs, “A Blessing” and “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday”.

The names of the graduating seniors were then read by Math Department Chair Maria McClain and math instructor Jessika Tate, as the diplomas were handed out by and photos taken with Dr. Lewis and school board Trustee Mary Rocha.

Following the tassel ceremony led by Class President Rogers, teacher and cross-country coach Mike Green who served as Master of Ceremonies for the event, offered closing remarks. Only a few of the graduates tossed their caps into the air, and then very orderly followed their former principal off the field to meet their family and friends to celebrate.

The DVHS band performed the recessional as Widener directed them for the final time as he is retiring, this year.

Congratulations, Deer Valley Class of 2022. May God bless you in your future pursuits!

A video of the graduation ceremony by DVTV can be viewed on the district’s YouTube Channel here and here.

Music Director Larry Widener leads the DVHS band for a final time.

MORE PHOTOS of the DVHS Class of 2022 Graduation

The DVHS grads file in.

Trustee Lewis presents graduate Nnamdi Egu with his diploma.

Teacher and cross-country coach Mike Green served as MC for the ceremony.

The DVHS Class of 2022 grads turn their tassels.

Dr. Bukky Oyebade leads the graduates off the field to awaiting family and friends during the recessional.

 

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Antioch’s Dozier-Libbey Medical High Class of 2022 celebrate graduation Thursday night

Friday, June 10th, 2022

Dozier-Libbey graduates cheer and toss their caps into the to celebrate at the conclusion of the ceremony Thursday evening, June 9, 2022.. Photos by Allen D. Payton

Honor fallen classmate with standing ovation; Principal Osterholt says farewell to the graduates and the school as he heads for retirement

Dozier-Libbey grads wearing their caps inscribed with special messages listen to school board trustee Dr. Clyde Lewis.

By Allen D. Payton

The 90-degree heat didn’t keep the Dozier-Libbey Medical High School Class of 2022 from celebrating their graduation, Thursday night. Family and friends cheered their graduates, during the ceremony held inside the Deer Valley Wolverines Stadium. The students honored a fallen classmate, Mason Rodriguez, with standing ovation as his parents received his diploma and hugs from Trustee Dr. Clyde Lewis and Principal Scott Osterholt.

After the soon-to-be alumni filed in, to the traditional playing of Pomp and Circumstance, performed by the Dozier-Libbey Medical High School Band under the direction of Larry Widener, Patricia Jeanne Mari Ramos Abenoja sang the National Anthem. That was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance to our nation’s flag, led by Salutatorian Cynthia Rodriguez.

Lewis, the only member of the Antioch School Board in attendance, as Board President Gary Hack and Trustee Mary Rocha were attending the Bidwell High School graduation at the same time across town, offered some opening remarks reminding the class of the past, while focusing on their future with encouragement.

“These past few years have been especially challenging. COVID, distance learning, working together in our homes,” he stated. “All of these things presented new and challenging ways that you all had to experience education. And guess what, you stared steadfast into the face of that challenge, and you overcame it. For this, you should be proud. For the last three years, or 26,280 hours you have had to adapt, redirect, change course and adjust, and guess what, you did it.”

“You are the face of the future, and I am here for it. Thank you for inspiring all those around you. Thank you for leading the charge and showing the world that you will stick to your goals and overcome them no matter the obstacle,” Lewis continued. “It is said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Well, tonight represents the first step toward your future. Whether the next phase be college, job, or a gap year, just remember that you have and will continue to push forward through any challenge you may face.”

Valedictorian James Geronimo offers his classmates encouragement during his commencement speech, Thursday evening.

During his speech, Valedictorian James Geronimo referred to his fellow classmates as, “the future change makers of our nation and world. The same peers I now call family.”

“We have made it,” he said. “We have earned this moment and we should all be incredibly proud of ourselves that we have made gotten this far.”

“Live with your head held high. Set your heart ablaze. Grit your teeth and look straight ahead,” Geronimo said, quoting Mason Rodriguez. “Living out the mission statements we each created with sincerity and doing so with our hearts set ablaze, filled from head-to-toe with determination, courage and enthusiasm.”

“Remember….the pandemic you endured. What was supposed to be a nearly two-week break, turned into two months, then turned into almost two years,” he reflected.

Dozier-Libbey grads give a standing ovation for fallen classmate Mason Rodriguez whose photo was placed on a front row chair, as his parents, Michael and Jerilyn receive his diploma from Trustee Clyde Lewis.

As he prepares to retire, Principal Scott Osterholt speaks to his final graduating class.

“I want us to never forget the connections you created, the memories you formed and the accomplishments you earned. We have proven time and time again, that we’re equipped with the skills and the passion to make change in this world.” Geronimo continued. “You’ll determine how far you will go. So, spread your wings and fly as high and far as you can go.”

“The future is bright, everybody. Now, it is up to you to make it a great future or not. Congratulations…to the graduating Class of 2022,” he concluded.

Osterholt spoke at his final graduation of students at DLMHS as he’s retiring this year. He presented the Class of 2022 to Superintendent Stephanie Anello who in turn accepted the class “on behalf of the Antioch Unified School District Board of Education.

“Henceforth you are to be known as high school graduates and alumni of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School,” she said.

Amarachi Ibe speaks to her classmates.

Following the reading of the names by teacher Mark Libbey, son of one of the school’s namesakes, and the presentation of the diplomas by Lewis, student Commencement Speaker Amarachi Ibe shared her thoughts.

“Senior family you have accomplished one of the many milestones you will accomplish in your life,” she said.

“As we look back on the last four years, we can single out one group of people who caused our suffering, the teachers,” Amarachi said joking.

Speaking of her fellow classmates she said, “It makes us feel like we have a second family. I always felt welcomed and safe at this school. I would like to congratulate you for earning your diplomas which signifies growth, perseverance and diligence.”

Class President Syrenity Yates speaks before leading the turning of the tassels.

“Mr. Libbey said you don’t grow inside of your comfort zone. Wise words that will stay in my mind forever,” Amarachi continued.

“We earned this moment, and I am so proud of us. Once a Diamondback always a Diamondback,” she said to a cheer from the graduates.

At the beginning of the Tassel Ceremony, Class President Syrenity Yates shared some thoughts with her classmates.

She then led the graduates in moving the tassels on their very colorful and decorated caps, with fun and inspiring sayings in English and Spanish, to signify they’ve graduated. Some of her classmates tossed their caps into the air and they all filed out to meet family and friends to celebrate with hugs, photos, flowers and dancing.

Congratulations, Dozier-Libbey Class of 2022. May God bless you in your future pursuits!

See the graduation video on the AUSD YouTube page.

The Dozier-Libbey Medical High School Band under the direction of Larry Widener performs the recessional at the end of the graduation ceremony.

More Photos of the Dozier-Libbey Medical High School Class of 2022 Graduation

Dozier-Libbey graduates watch as their classmates receive their diplomas.

Graduate Logan Amezcua is greeted by Dr. Lewis as he walks on stage to receive his diploma.

Graduates line up to receive their diplomas as the Honor Guard members line the way.

More grads display their creative caps with special messages during the ceremony.

Teacher Mark Libbey reads the name of each graduate.

 

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Contra Costa voters re-elect Sheriff Livingston, DA Becton, Assessor Kramer

Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

Results for the Contra Costa DA and Sheriff’s races as of early Wednesday, June 8, 2022, showing Becton and Livingston winning. Source: CoCoVote.us

One billionaire Soros-backed progressive DA wins, two other progressive DA’s lose in the state Tuesday night; in County Clerk’s race it’s Connelly vs. Gordon; Pleasant Hill Councilman Carlson, BART Director Allen leading in 4th Supe District race; only 18% turnout; ballots mailed by election day can still be received until next Tuesday

Sheriff Livingston checks the voting results at the DSA Election Night Watch Party Tuesday, June 7, 2022. Photo: Allen D. Payton

By Allen D. Payton

Following an election season filled with attacks, accusations and over $1 million spent in the Contra Costa District Attorney’s race, the incumbents, Sheriff David Livingston and DA Diana Becton, along with County Assessor Gus Kramer were each re-elected by wide margins, Tuesday night. They were the only countywide incumbents facing challengers, this year in an election that only saw a 17.95% voter turnout, so far. Incumbent county Treasurer-Tax Collector Russell Watts, Auditor-Controller Robert Campbell and County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey were re-elected without facing opposition.

In the only other contested countywide race, for County Clerk-Recorder, Kristin Connelly will face former Community College Board Trustee Vicki Gordon in a November run-off. In the races for county supervisor, District 1 incumbent, John Gioia was re-elected easily beating his opponent, Hulan Barnett, Jr. 15,018 votes to 2,800, and in District 4, Pleasant Hill Councilman Ken Carlson who and BART Board Director Debora Allen are leading. Allen was trailing Concord Councilwoman Carlyn Obringer by 211 votes until late in the evening, when she pulled into second place by 389 votes. Carlson is leading Allen by 569 votes. The top two candidates will face off in the November run-off.

Sheriff Livingston and Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox with former Martinez Councilman Mike Menesini and another supporter at the DSA Election Night Watch Party, Tuesday, June 7, 2022. Photo: Allen D. Payton

When reached for comment Allen said, “I’m not declaring victory at this point because there are still ballots to count.”

In the biggest battle in the county, Becton was re-elected to her second, full, four-year term beating Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox, a 37-year prosecutor, by 56% to 44% with 63,147 votes against 49,599 for Knox. Becton was the beneficiary of $1 million spent by an independent expenditure committee campaign supporting her and opposing Knox, with the majority of funds contributed by out-of-state billionaire George Soros. (See related articles here and here)

The same night a Soros-backed, progressive district attorney was re-elected in Contra Costa, another progressive D.A. in San Francisco, Chesa Boudin was recalled by voters in that city and county who had enough with his policies. Becton and Boudin have been part of the Prosecutors Alliance of California, along with L.A. County D.A. George Gascon who is also facing a possible recall, and San Joaquin County D.A. Tori Verber Salazar, who was losing for re-election according to the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters website as of Wednesday.

In the other hard fought countywide race, Livingston was re-elected to his fourth term as sheriff beating Richmond Police Officer Ben Therriault by an even wider margin, 61.2% to 38.8% with 67,906 votes to 43,125 for the challenger.

Attempts to reach Livingston and Becton for comment about their victories were unsuccessful prior to publication time.

County Assessor Kramer eased to another victory for his eighth term, beating his only opponent Floy Andrews by 57.6% to 42.4% with 63,164 votes to 46,456 for the challenger.

When reached for comment Kramer said, “I am on bended knee thanking the voters for seeing through the garbage in the East Bay Times, having faith in me and re-electing me for another four years. The citizens have spoken, the people for whom I serve. This is not a victory for me but for the property owners in the county.”

Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer celebrates his re-election with supporters at the DSA Election Night Watch Party, Tuesday, June 7, 2022. Photo: Allen D. Payton

Livingston, Knox and Kramer attended the Election Night Watch Party at the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association Hall in Martinez, waiting for the updates and speaking with their supporters.

In the Clerk-Recorder’s race, Connelly is in first place with 34,049 votes, Gordon is in second with 24,152 votes and is ahead of Pinole Councilman Devin Murphy by 3,781 votes.

Asked for a comment on the election results Gordon said, “The first thing I want to say is to thank all my supporters, people who donated and walked. I want to thank everyone for their support, it was grassroots effort. My husband and family were also amazing.”

“I am honored to move on to November,” she added.

The countywide Measure G which continues the $2 per car fee to pay for picking up abandoned vehicles and required a two-thirds vote is passing with 68.7% of the vote, with 79,126 in favor to 35,978 opposed.

The only other measure on the ballot was in Martinez. Measure F, also requiring a two-thirds vote to pass, is barely failing with 65.9%. If passed, the measure would add a $79 annual parcel tax for the next 30 years to preserve open space and a ridgeline, allowing the City of Martinez to purchase the 297-acre Alhambra Highlands.

The Contra Costa Elections Division can still receive ballots that were mailed by Tuesday for up to seven days after the election, according to executive secretary, Melissa Hickok, who said she read it straight from the Secretary of State’s website. They have up to 28 days to certify the election.

This year, voters who went to the polls didn’t put their own ballots into the counting machines, as has been done in the past.

“Contra Costa County has returned to a central count, instead of having hundreds of counters at all the polling places, we bring all the ballots back and run them through the high-speed scanners at the Elections Office,” Hickok explained.

That resulted in updates of the results on election night to take longer than in the past.

The next update is expected this Friday, June 10 at 5:00 p.m. For more information visit CoCoVote.us.

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One organizer of failed Thorpe recall answers questions about, identifies Michigan man accused of stealing funds, signatures

Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

Other organizers respond to additional questions, but not committee treasurer or assistant treasurer

“Tom (Hartrick) told me that the police advised him it’s a civil matter, not criminal. I was told that a police report was not filed.” – Kathy Cabrera, recall organizer

By Allen D. Payton

Since it was announced on May 11 that the recall of Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe failed, leaders of the official campaign committee and effort have refused to answer questions, until now. But some have still gone unanswered. Recall organizer claims it failed due to the theft of the committee’s funds and the estimated 11,000 signatures gathered, more than enough to force him to the ballot. (See related article)

According to one of the organizers, Kathy Cabrera, who served Thorpe with his recall petition on Sept. 24, 2021, the contractor who the committee hired and is accused of stealing $23,000 they paid him, plus signatures for both Thorpe’s and City Clerk Ellie Householder’s recalls is Bryan Schafer of Saginaw, Michigan and his company Blitz Canvassing. He and his associate, Kim Ridley of Flint, Michigan led the paid portion of the signature gathering effort. (See related articles here and here.)

An online search for Blitz Canvassing resulted in a website for a company by that name, which claims “to working major signature collection programs in Indiana, Arkansas, Nevada, Michigan and Maine.” But neither Schafer’s nor Ridley’s photos or names appear on it.

While the committee issued a statement on May 11, the deadline for submitting the signatures, it left many questions unanswered. According to the Form 410 filed by the Committee to Recall Mayor Lamar Thorpe on March 24, 2022, the principal officer was Clarke Wilson, one of the 20 proponents who signed the recall notice, who served as the titular head of the committee and is the husband of another recall proponent and outspoken critic of Thorpe, Velma Wilson. In addition, the report shows James Pringle served as the treasurer and Tom Hartrick as the assistant treasurer.  Committee to Recall Thorpe 410

Questions for Organizers

They, and other recall organizers, including Cabrera, Lindsey Amezcua and Arne Simsonsen, were sent the following questions on May 12 and again on May 20:

“What was the name of the company you paid? What is the man’s name who is the head of the company, please? Tom told me he left the state and went back to, I believe he said Michigan. Is that true? If so, how do you know that, who told you?

I’ve also been told that man was renting a home in Pittsburg and left his girlfriend behind, as well. Is that true?

Where or how did you find the company that you hired? Who recommended them to you?

What kind of track record do they have? Do you know if they lean left or right politically?

Can you please provide a copy of the contract?

Who has access to the committee’s bank account? Would that be Treasurer James Pringle, Assistant Treasurer Tom Hartrick and Principal Officer Clarke Wilson? Anyone else?

Did the signature gathering company also take the signature petitions for Householder’s recall? Or is that effort continuing?

Is there some legal remedy or recourse you can take since Ellie has a clear conflict of interest in denying the extension? Can it be appealed to a judge, the county clerk or Secretary of State?

What actions are being taken other than filing a police report? Do you have a copy of it that you can provide?

Will you start over trying to recall Thorpe in six months?”

The group was also asked who was included in the meeting when the recall signature gathering company was hired.

Today, they were also asked about the discrepancy between the company name Schafer gave and the one with the same name with the website mentioned above on which neither he nor his associate appear.

Simonsen Responds

Simonsen responded on May 12 with, “I can only answer one of your questions: Can it be appealed to a judge, the county clerk or Secretary of State? Once the filing date has passed, there is no recourse to a Judge. The County Clerk and the Secretary of State have no role in a municipal recall, initiative or ballot measure. The City Clerk is the final authority as the Elections Official unless you take the City Clerk to Court (and that would have to be prior to the filing date with a Writ of Mandamus).”

Simonsen was also asked on May 28, if the recall can restart sooner than six months since the signatures were not turned in to the city clerk. He responded that day, “I will double check, but I am sure that once the petitions are approved for circulation that the six months kick in.”

Amezcua Responds

Amezcua responded via text on May 12 writing, “At the moment, I have no desire to start over.  I do not know if there is a waiting period. I am not on the bank account. I was not at the interview when the company was hired. I did not write the press release. I’m sure you know me well enough by now to know I have no desire to be a spokesperson.”

“I was not involved in Tuesday’s conversation, so I cannot speak on what was/was not requested,” she continued.

“I personally am feeling an immensely heavy feeling of letting down everyone that was counting on us and have largely ignored my phone and social media,” Amezcua added.

Velma Wilson Responds for Her Husband

Velma Wilson said her husband Clarke just agreed to add his name as chairman of the recall, but the others didn’t include him in the decision making. “So, he doesn’t know” she said about the answers to the questions he was also asked.

Cabrera Provides More Details

Cabrera, who was also part of the discussion about the press release that was issued on May 11, responded to the questions she said she could answer on Tuesday, June 7.

Asked if any background check was done on Schafer, his company, and his associate Kim, Cabrera said, “yes and nothing came up. No criminal records. He had one trespassing complaint against him in Contra Costa County but that’s to be expected in his line of work.”

Asked about filing a police report she responded, “Tom (Hartrick) told me that the police advised him it’s a civil matter, not criminal. I was told that a police report was not filed. Why? I don’t know. That’s just what I was told. I was further advised that the process would require the hiring of a PI and Attorney and there are no more funds to do that.”

Asked who hired the contractor, Cabrera replied, “As far as I know it was a group effort. We had interviewed several different companies. This one was referred to us. Bryan was with the company that did the Newsom recall. I don’t know what was discussed as far as terms and conditions. It was just decided.”

“I gathered the information,” she continued. “I was calling around asking what services they provide, and what was the cost. I brought it back to the group and they made a decision.”

Asked if it was a group vote, Cabrera said, “yes. I personally wanted to go with another company. But the other companies said they didn’t have the time to take it on. This company did.”

As for which organizer handled what responsibility she said, “Lindsey handled the petitions and Tom was in charge of issuing the funds. I wasn’t on any bank accounts. I was a worker bee.”

Cabrera shared more about the paid contractors saying, “Kim had mentioned that she was working with West Coast Petitions out of Walnut Creek. But Bryan pulled her into the effort on the Thorpe recall.”

Asked if they were in a relationship and living in Pittsburg, and if Schafer took off and left Ridley behind as had been shared with the Herald by an Antioch resident, Cabrera responded, “No. She’s not his girlfriend. Kim’s married. They travel to where the work is, which is not unusual. It’s my understanding most of those being paid to gather signatures came from other areas, too. He rented a house in Pittsburg where the pro-signers were staying. It was an Air BnB. Supposedly, the landlord knew him, and they rented it month-to-month.”

Asked if Kim is still around and if, Cabrera said, “no. Bryan did take off to Michigan and left Kim behind she told Lindsey. But it’s my understanding she went to Monterey to work on the next job. That’s the last I heard.”

“Lindsey was trying to contact Bryan and Kim, the week the signatures were due. But they weren’t responding, from what I was told,” Cabrera continued. “We had someone go by the house in Pittsburg looking for them. A clean-up crew was there and said they all had left.”

“This is not what any of us wanted especially the estimated six people who busted their ass for months trying to get the signatures to get the recall on the ballot,” Cabrera added. “The solid six not only gave their money, but gave all of their time collecting signatures, attending council meetings, making the public aware, and anything and everything possible to make the recall happen.”

“There’s no plan to restart the recall at this time,” she stated. “I am just waiting to see what happens in November with the Districts 1 and 4 council elections.”

Attempts to reach Schafer for this article, using the 510-area phone number for him that is still active, were unsuccessful.

Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer Refuse to Respond

Neither Pringle nor Hartrick responded as of publication time.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Effort to recall Antioch City Clerk Householder ends failing to gather enough signatures

Monday, June 6th, 2022

Part of signatures organizers claim were stolen by paid contractor with those for Thorpe’s recall along with money to pay professional petitioners

By Allen D. Payton

The Committee for the Recall Antioch City Clerk Ellie Householder announced today, Monday, June 6, 2022, “that the required numbers of signatures for the recall were not collected” on the day of the deadline for submitting the 9,521 signatures of registered voters in the city required to place Householder’s name on the ballot. The effort to recall her from the Antioch School Board ended in early April. (See related article)

It follows on the heels of the failure of the recall effort against Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe, last month, due to the alleged theft of the funds paid to the contractor to gather signatures and the signatures that had already been gathered. The leaders claimed they had gathered more than enough signatures to place Thorpe’s name on the ballot. (See related article)

Householder was served with recall papers to remove her from her position as city clerk on Nov. 30, 2021 and signature gathering began at the end of December. (See related articles here and here)

The committee’s statement offered an explanation for the failure of the Householder recall. It continues as follows:

The majority of Antioch citizens coming out to sign were focused on one thing, the Antioch Mayor Recall Lamar Thorpe petition. Many of the signers had simply never heard of Householder.

The primary reason for the Antioch City Clerk recall was to provide an incentive for Clerk Householder to correctly and efficiently handle the processing of the petition for the Recall Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe Petition; that objective was eventually achieved.

The petition for the City Clerk reads, “The grounds for the recall are as follows: You violated the California Public Records Act (Government Code 6253) by failing to provide a copy of a public document to the records department at Antioch City Hall and thus hindered a constituent from their right to inspect a public record. You rejected the first drafted petition to recall the Antioch mayor without including a statement of what alterations to the petition were necessary (Elections Code 11042(c)). You then rejected a second petition citing election code 107(b), which is not applicable to the recall effort. You ignored the proponents request to send your findings via email, instead choosing to send them via certified mail at a cost to the city and cited elections code 11224 as your reason to not email them. Election code 11224 refers to the certification process of approved petitions that have already been signed by registered voters and was erroneously cited. You omitted emails from a Public Records Request, once again violating the California Public Records Act. This misuse and misapplication of Election Codes and continued violations of Government Code 6253 illustrates your inability to do the job in which you were elected and warrants your removal.”

The mayor’s recall petition was first filed on September 24, 2021 and approved more than two months later on December 2, 2021. While the proponents of the Mayor’s Recall did make an error on the first filing, Clerk Householder used the full ten days, allowed by California Elections Code, to respond to their resubmission by US Postal Service. To extend the response timeline further, she the response was mailed on the afternoon of the 10th day by certified mail, even though the main proponent asked for a response by email. She continued to use the same process on the second and third filing, until she was served with her own Recall Petition. On the fourth filing, although she had a question regarding the intention to form a Campaign Finance Committee, not required to be in the filing, she called the main proponent for the answer and once it was provided, she verbally approved the petition and followed it up by an official email. The delay tactics ensured that the mayor’s recall petition was delayed again and again.

The relationship between the Clerk and the Mayor is well known, as showcased in a Thorpe/Householder TikTok video. The text overlay reads, “When the Mayor and City Clerk have each other’s back.” In it, Thorpe and Householder are seen standing next to each other behind the council dais, while he points to her and himself, mouths the words of a speaker saying “she’s my best friend. You mess with her, you mess with me, you mess with me, you mess with her. You mess with us, you better pray and run.” Watch the video on this link: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CdHkYhVDUIn/ (See related article)

Householder is the first elected official to be the subject of two local recalls. First as an Antioch Unified School Board Trustee and then as Antioch’s City Clerk. She is now the first elected official to not have two recall processes completed, but both recalls achieved their objective by holding her publicly accountable for her actions and misuse of power. It is hoped that the effort has helped Clerk Householder to understand that despite the close personal relationship she and Mayor Lamar Thorpe enjoy, she is expected to consider the relationship with her constituents to be her primary focus.

——————————-

Questions for Committee

The following questions were sent to Diane Gibson-Gray, one of the proponents for Householder’s recall. How many signatures were gathered for Householder’s recall? She responded, “I was not involved in the signature tally and I do not have that information.”

Gibson-Gray was also asked if some of the signatures gathered for Householder’s recall part of those the paid contractor stole and didn’t provide to the committee. She responded, “The paid signature gathers included Householder’s petition when gathering signatures for Thorpe in the hope that the Recall Antioch City Clerk Ellie Householder efforts would include fundraising, which did not occur. A Campaign Finance Committee was not formed as the $2,000 threshold for funds raised / expenses paid was not met.”

Recall organizers, Lindsey Amezcua was then asked if she knew how many signatures were gathered for Householder’s recall.

Amezcua responded, “only around 5,000 were collected. No one really put in the effort after the debacle with Thorpe’s (recall).”

She was also asked if the signatures for Householder’s recall were among those the contractor is accused of stealing. Amezcua responded, “Yes, the pro’s had pages for the clerk recall as well, that weren’t handed over. But they weren’t paid for any, so I can’t tell you how many they had.”

Householder chose to not respond to an effort asking if she had any comment about the committee’s announcement prior to publication time.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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In person voting on Tuesday is an option 

Friday, June 3rd, 2022

While all active registered voters throughout California receive Vote by Mail (VBM) ballots, voters still have the option of voting in person on or before Election Day. Your County Elections Office is open for in-person voting beginning 29 days before the election and voters can cast their ballots in person up to and including Election Day.

To locate your designated polling place in Contra Costa County, use the My Voting Information tool or check the back cover of the Voter Information Guide mailed to you. The polls are open from 7am until 8pm.

Lynda Roberts, Marin County Registrar of Voters comments, “Voters should be familiar with their voting options in their county. Your County Voter Information Guide has a lot of great, detailed information about your voting options, times and locations. County websites are also a quick and easy way to get more information about in-person voting in your county.”

All election processes and procedures are open to the public for observation.

For more local information, go to your local county election official, who is your trusted source of nonpartisan election information.  Information on this topic as well as direct links to local elections offices can be found on our website, BayAreaVotes.org, or our Facebook page, Bay Area Votes.

A detailed Fact Sheet on In-Person Voting can be found on the webpage under Just the Facts.

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Antioch man arrested in downtown Thursday morning for April burglary in Danville

Thursday, June 2nd, 2022

By Allen D. Payton

Business owners in Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown alerted others about a police action at a retail location on W. Second Street, Thursday morning.

According to Danville Police Chief Allan Shields, “at 11:13 am Danville officers served an arrest and a search warrant at 412 W. 2nd Street, a store front but not currently operating as a business. The warrant stemmed from a residential burglary that took place in the Town of Danville on April 9, 2022.”

Danville officers arrested Eddie Martinez, male, age 45 out of Antioch for the arrest warrant for burglary.

Asked what was stolen, Shields responded, “We don’t usually list the property that’s stolen.”

“In lieu of booking Mr. Martinez at the jail, he was admitted to the hospital on an unrelated issue. It had nothing to do with the arrest, today,” the chief continued.

Danville officers will be forwarding the case to the District Attorney and requesting prosecution for the original burglary case.

Asked if Martinez resisted arrest, Shields simply said “no.”

Danville Police were assisted by Sheriff’s Deputies and Antioch Police Officers, including a K-9 unit. But the police dog was not deployed.

Asked what happens after Martinez is released from the hospital, Shields said, “if the DA decides to file charges, they can issue him a notice to appear in court or another arrest warrant.”

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Antioch murder suspect in Alexis Gabe case killed following attack on officers in Washington

Thursday, June 2nd, 2022

Deceased murder suspect Marshall Curtis Jones, III in an image from officer body cam footage. (Source: Oakley PD) Alexis Gabe reward increased to $100,000.

Missing Oakley woman believed dead, ex-boyfriend, a fugitive shot and killed Wednesday

Police assisted by video from surveillance cameras, GPS in her car

Investigation and search continue, reward increased to $100,000

“…our daughter will remain alive in our minds and our hearts. We will continue to search for her until we find her.” – Gwyn Gabe, Alexis’ father

By Allen D. Payton

The case of missing Oakley woman Alexis Gabe, last seen in Antioch by her ex-boyfriend on Jan. 26, took a sad turn today as Oakley Police Chief Paul Beard announced she is believed to be a victim of a homicide and her ex-boyfriend, a suspect and wanted fugitive who fled to Washington state, was killed yesterday by officers following his attack on them.

“Our joint investigation has led us to believe that…Marshall Curtis Jones, a 27-year-old male resident of Antioch killed Alexis at his home on or about Jan. 26,” Beard stated during a press conference today, Thursday, June 2, 2022.

Last week, Oakley and Antioch police presented the case to the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office who filed murder charges against Jones on May 26. Gabe has been missing since Jan. 26 and was last seen by Jones at his house on Benttree Way in Antioch. (See related articles here, here and here)

A post on the City of Oakley Facebook page on Thursday reads:

“The ex-boyfriend of Alexis Gabe, Marshall Curtis Jones, was killed yesterday (June 1, 2022) by members of the Pacific Northwest Violent Offenders Task Force as they attempted to arrest him in Washington. Jones was pronounced dead at the scene after charging at officers with a knife.

Oakley and Antioch police officers issued an arrest warrant on June 1, 2022, for Jones in Kent, Washington. The 27-year-old Antioch resident was charged with the murder of Alexis Gabe, the Oakley resident who disappeared in January 2022. Jones was the last person she saw before her disappearance.

Law enforcement officers from Seattle Police Department, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Marshals Service were attempting to arrest Jones. As he produced a knife and charged at officers, marshals discharged their service weapons, killing Jones.”

The investigation is ongoing; more information will be released as it becomes available.

The $100,000 reward is still available and will be issued for information leading to the whereabouts of Alexis Gabe. Call (925) 625-7009 or email alexistips@ci.oakley.ca.us with any information about the case.”

“We had no idea he was capable of doing something like this to her. We didn’t want him dead. We wanted to look him in the eye and ask him way, ask him ‘where is Alexis?’” – Gwyn Gabe

Oakley Police Press Conference

Oakley Police Paul Chief Beard speaks during the press conference Thursday morning, June 2, 2022. Photo: Oakley PD

“This is still an open investigation”, said Chief Beard during the press conference. “Our search for Alexis has been a very vigorous one. We have literally searched for her on land, sea and air will continue to do so.”

“I must announce at this time, we believe Alexis Gabe is the victim of a homicide,” he continued. “We believe that homicide occurred in the city of Antioch. The members of the Antioch Police Department with officer of the Oakley Police Department.”

Part of what has led us to believe Alexis is the victim of a homicide is the examination of a large amount of digital and forensic evidence,” Beard stated. “In conjunction with that is there is the fact that there are no signs of life anywhere for Alexis.”

He spoke of the evidence including, “the cell phone case that was found” with the help of volunteers from the Polly Klass Foundation and contained Jones’ DNA.

Additional evidence included “thousands of phone records…and an image of Marshall Jones being captured on several surveillance cameras that led him on a path from where Alexis’ vehicle was dumped in Oakley to his home on Benttree Lane on the evening of January 26, 2022,” the chief continued. “Further digital evidence was the fact that Alexis’ vehicle was equipped with a GPS system. An examination of that system showed a direct path from leading that vehicle from Marshall Jones’ house to where it was dumped on the night of Jan. 26, 2022.”

“Our joint investigation has led us to believe that…Marshall Curtis Jones, a 27-year-old male resident of Antioch killed Alexis at his home on or about Jan. 26,” Beard said. “Jones was very uncooperative during our joint investigation, and he has refused to speak with us, several times.”

Alexis’ father Gwyn Gabe speaks with her mother, Rowena and their sons beside him during the press conference on Thursday morning, June 2, 2022. Video screenshot.

Alexis’ Father Speaks

“What happened to Marshall was tragic and unexpected,” Gwyn Gabe, Alexis’ father said during the press conference with his wife, Rowena and their two sons by his side. “He was our daughter’s first love. They were together for three years. He became part of our family. We had no idea he was capable of doing something like this to her. We didn’t want him dead. We wanted him arrested to pay for his sins. We wanted to meet with him face to face. We wanted to look him in the eye and ask him way, ask him ‘where is Alexis?’”

“I know the police say our daughter’s gone,” Gabe continued. “But our daughter will remain alive in our minds and our hearts. We will continue to search for her until we find her.”

He then thanked the Oakley and Antioch police officers who assisted in the case.

“Oakley and Antioch PD have been working on this case for four months straight, with no stop. They invested so much, and they deserve all the credit. This is just in case someone else tries to schedule a press conference and takes full credit for what went down yesterday and the past four months.”

Contra Costa DA Becton held a press conference Thursday afternoon about the case. (See below)

Oakley Police Press Release

Following is the information provided in the Oakley Police Department’s press release about the case: “The ex-boyfriend of Alexis Gabe, Marshall Curtis Jones, was killed yesterday (June 1, 2022) by members of the Pacific Northwest Violent Offenders Task Force as they attempted to arrest him in Washington. Jones was pronounced dead at the scene after charging at officers with a knife. Oakley and Antioch police officers issued an arrest warrant on June 1, 2022, for Jones in Kent, Washington. The 27-year-old Antioch resident was charged with the murder of Alexis Gabe, the Oakley resident who disappeared in January 2022. Jones was the last person she saw before her disappearance. Law enforcement officers from Seattle Police Department, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Marshals Service were attempting to arrest Jones. As he produced a knife and charged at officers, marshals discharged their service weapons, killing Jones.

Murder Suspect in the Alexis Gabe Case Killed Following Attack on Law Enforcement Officers The ex-boyfriend of Alexis Gabe, Marshall Curtis Jones, was killed yesterday (June 1, 2022) by members of the Pacific Northwest Violent Offenders Task Force as they attempted to arrest him in Washington. Jones was pronounced dead at the scene after charging at officers with a knife. Oakley and Antioch police officers issued an arrest warrant on June 1, 2022, for Jones in Kent, Washington. The 27-year-old Antioch resident was charged with the murder of Alexis Gabe, the Oakley resident who disappeared in January 2022. Jones was the last person she saw before her disappearance. Law enforcement officers from Seattle Police Department, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Marshals Service were attempting to arrest Jones. As he produced a knife and charged at officers, marshals discharged their service weapons, killing Jones. The investigation is ongoing; more information will be released as it becomes available.”

Contra Costa DA Holds Press Conference Thursday Afternoon, Issues Statement

On Thursday afternoon, Contra Costa DA Diana Becton held a press conference at her office about the case and issued a statement about the case.

Following is the press release from Public Information Officer Ted Asregadoo:

“Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton filed a murder charge (PC 187) on May 26, 2022, against Marshall Curtis Jones, III for the killing of 24-year-old Oakley resident, Alexis Gabe. Yesterday evening, in Kent, Washington, Jones was shot and killed by law enforcement personnel during an attempted fugitive apprehension.

24-year-old Gabe was missing since January 26, 2022, after last being seen in Antioch. Due to the nature and scope of the investigation, Oakley Police requested investigative assistance from the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office and Antioch Police Department.

On April 25, 2022, Antioch Police Department authored a wiretap affidavit, which was signed by District Attorney Diana Becton, and presented to the Contra Costa Superior Court for approval. A wire and electronic interception of Jones’ cellular phone concluded on May 24th. Along with the phone intercept recordings, surveillance footage, cell data, and DNA evidence, investigators made a criminal referral to the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office on May 25th.

After the criminal complaint was filed on May 26th, the DA’s Office, Antioch Police, Oakley Police, the U.S. Marshals Service, and Washington State authorities coordinated to apprehend Jones – who, during the course of the investigation, fled from Antioch to Kent, Washington.

On June 1, 2022, a fugitive task force attempted to arrest Jones inside an apartment where he was in hiding. Police announced themselves, and Jones reportedly opened the front door to the apartment and charged at officers while wielding a knife. He was shot by authorities. Police took immediate life-saving measures, but Jones died at the scene.

24-year-old Gabe has been missing since January 26, 2022, after last being seen in Antioch. Members of her family found her blue Infinity coupe about a mile from Gabe’s home on Trenton Street near Carrington Drive in Oakley the next day. The keys were still inside, and the vehicle was unlocked. Shortly thereafter, the Oakley Police Department started an investigation into the highly suspicious circumstances of Gabe’s disappearance.

Gabe’s former boyfriend, Marshall Curtis Jones, III became a focus of the investigation – which culminated in the wire and electronic interception of his cellular phone. Jones and Gabe had reportedly broken up in November 2021 but saw each other from time to time. Jones confirmed to investigators that he and Alexis were together at his home on Benttree Way in Antioch until 9 o’clock on the night she went missing, but that he witnessed her leaving his residence in the blue Infinity coupe she arrived in earlier.

Today, District Attorney Diana Becton said, ‘It’s been an emotionally wrenching time for the family, friends, and community. I, along with the police agencies who have worked tirelessly to bring justice to the Gabe family, wish to express our deepest condolences for the loss of their beloved daughter. My office will continue to seek justice in finding Alexis so her family can have a sense of closure to this tragic loss of life.’”

 

 

 

 

Cutline. Marshall Tucker in image from officer body cam footage. Source: Oakley PD

 

 

 

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