Archive for the ‘Letters to the Editor’ Category

Op-Ed: Candidate for Antioch mayor shares concerns about incumbents, city, offers new leadership

Friday, October 23rd, 2020

Our current mayor, Sean Wright and his partner, Councilman Lamar Thorpe have brought disaster upon our city, and nothing will change until we replace them.

They hired an Economic Development Director at a cost of $300,000. What do we have to show for his efforts?

Sears closed, Macy’s ran away, the AMC theaters closed down, the Big Kmart is gone, so is Staples  – even before COVID-19. Everywhere you look it’s a disaster.

Under their mismanagement, those and more businesses have closed. The city has become looking desperate. People are looking for hope, but they have made us hopeless.

They hired a homeless consultant and it ended up bringing more homeless to Antioch. Now Thorpe wants to spend $1 million on the homeless motel. We can’t afford that.

They approved the marijuana businesses, and Sean and Lamar appear to be acting like drug dealers to put Antioch in the pot business.

They’ve hired other consultants and a new assistant city manager for $100,000’s per year that we also can’t afford. In 2016 they asked for more police and they got them. Now they want 20 more police. Why? I don’t understand their failures. We cannot afford them.

They’re insulting us that we are the bad people in Antioch.

How can we trust it when these leaders give us a bad reputation and they want to run things, when they are the bad people.

Who is the bad and who are the good? You make the call, Antioch.

We can’t afford to have our reputation damaged day after day, thanks to their idiocy and mismanagement. They make us look so bad in the state.

They’ve let us down and they want to degrade Antioch more.

How can you trust that kind of leadership when they’re calling us the bad citizens and they’re wanting to run us? In fact, we are the God-fearing people, and we are a great community.

We can’t afford division, demolition, or degraded reputation for Antioch for no reason. This is the second largest city in Contra Costa County.

My job, I want to bring back the truth, build up the reputation of Antioch, that we are the great, God-fearing, law abiding people in California. Antioch is the best and I will bring the best of Antioch, so that it will be declared the greatest in the world.

With leaders like Lamar and Sean who have forgotten us, and they always have lame excuses, who don’t do anything, but they take no responsibility. But they’re blaming us, the citizens of Antioch. Underneath their watch the city has become worse and everywhere you see there’s garbage dumped, here and there.

They have no plans, at all. We don’t have new businesses or jobs.

We need to take action to get the city cleaned up, make it attractive to businesses, and I will make sure Antioch is recognized as the number one city with the best reputation.

I will bring a four-year university to Antioch with a full medical degree, B.S. in Nursing and an RN program. I want to also bring the skilled degree programs for rapid technology growth and computer science.

Antioch, I ask you to consider voting for me for new leadership. Help me to get things straightened out. For more information please email me at info@RakeshKumarChristian.com or call me at (510) 786-8909 and I’ll be glad to listen to your ideas to implement them.

Sincerely,

Rakesh Kumar Christian

Candidate for Mayor of Antioch

 

 

 

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Letters: Writer responds to Antioch police “untruths” about homeless issues

Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

Dear Editor:

In order to combat untruths from both the Antioch Police Officers Association and from the election campaign of Antioch’s current mayor, I offer the following facts relating to homeless issues in Antioch, particularly with respect to the proposal that the city convert to Executive Inn on 18th Street near Cavallo to transitional homeless housing.

  1. A city-wide survey of Antioch residents indicated that homelessness was among the top issues of concern in the city. The city declared homelessness to be a crisis last year.
  2. The Antioch City Council that was seated after 2018 elections voted to appoint an Ad Hoc Committee to study homeless encampments.
  3. The Homeless Encampment Ad Hoc Committee composed of Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts and Councilman Lamar Thorpe began their research, visiting encampments and talking with homeless residents. They set up study sessions a.) to explore the impact and cost of homelessness on existing city services, businesses, AUSD, local hospitals, and BART; b.) to learn about the work of Contra Costa County Health, Housing and Homeless Services and community groups that serve the homeless; c.) to get information on programs that have had successes in other cities; and d.) to hear from homeless residents themselves and, very poignantly, from city leaders who themselves endured periods of homelessness. (These sessions were open to everyone; I attended nearly all of them.)
  4. The most obvious solutions for Antioch that came out of these studies were: a.) the need to coordinate the various organizations helping homeless in Antioch, thus the need for a city coordinator position; b.) the need for more drug abuse and mental health resources for homeless in Eastern Contra Costa; and c.) housing first is the most successful and least costly way to address homeless issues. Temporary stop gap solutions considered in Antioch included designated parking areas for safe overnight sleeping for homeless with cars or RVs, and managed camp sites.
  5. Antioch received five FEMA trailers from the state and began the process of finding a place to put them to house up to five people in each, most likely families.
  6. Ad Hoc committee member Thorpe met with the Executive Inn owners to discuss a bridge housing proposal and they were open to it. Currently the inn works with the county providing crisis housing to individuals and families with children. Golden Hills Community Church currently feeds homeless next door weekday evenings.
  7. Motts and Thorpe have proposed the city work with the motel to provide transitional or bridge housing to homeless. There are 32 rooms plus places to put the five trailers. The project would happen only with wraparound services such as meals, security, custodial, as well as essential behavioral health and health care services through other agencies and non-profits including COC, Sutter Health, Love Never Fails, Shelter Inc, similar to what the county is doing with Motel 6 in Pittsburg. These services help to incur a positive outcome. It is not permanent housing. It is a step towards permanent housing. Residents receive any needed mental health and/or addiction services as they recover from life on the streets, find employment, and move on to permanent housing elsewhere. The lease cost is approximately one million per year, about what the city spends now breaking up homeless encampments. Committing to and proceeding with the project means Antioch would likely attract financial support from other sources including the state. The council has voted to pursue a feasibility study. Cities such as Livermore and Santa Clara are going forward with similar proposals.
  8. The only school within a quarter mile of the Executive Inn, Rocketship Charter School on Cavallo Rd., has welcomed any children from families that would move in there.
  9. Some in the city say we should rely on the county and the state for homeless services. We have, but that has not got us very far. Rather we need to work with the county and the state. Those opposing the proposal have offered nothing in its place.
  10. Both the Antioch Police Officers Association and Mayor Sean Wright have claimed the Executive Inn is one quarter mile from four Antioch schools and the Antioch Youth Sports Complex. This is not true. There is only the one I named above, Rocketship. The next nearest school, Kimball Elementary, is one half mile away. The sports complex is over a mile and a half away. Antioch Middle School is seven tenths of a mile away, and the high school is a full mile away. Children of the newly housed families would not have too far to go. Also, the APOA said it was permanent housing. It is not.
  11. The motel would not be housing homeless, because with a place to live, the people are no longer homeless.

Homelessness is Antioch’s most pressing issue right now. We need to elect leaders who are actually addressing the issue with very doable solutions. Lamar Thorpe for Mayor, Joy Motts in District One are obvious choices, though other candidates may support the transitional housing plan. Nichole Gardner of the non-profit Fighting for the Homeless in Antioch is the best candidate in District Three, as Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock voted against the proposal. Councilwoman Monica Wilson in District Four supports the proposal.

Lucy Meinhardt

Antioch

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Letters: Writer says Antioch voters should give Davis four years as City Treasurer

Monday, October 19th, 2020

Dear Editor:

I am proud to endorse Jim Davis for another four-year term as Treasurer of the City of Antioch. Jim is a class act. He is dignified, professional, knows money and city governance. I first met him 11 years ago when he was working in the banking industry and sharing his expertise in the role of Antioch’s Mayor. I know him to be smart, honorable and able to connect with people across all levels of the government and the community.

Perhaps the one memory of Jim which stands out most to me when it comes to his commitment to the people of Antioch, is high-level meetings we attended in Washington DC advocating for funding and legislation which supported the economic growth of East Contra Costa.

What I know of Jim, I believe he is the best candidate to serve in the role of Treasurer and help Antioch move forward securing opportunities and addressing challenges for the finances of Contra Costa County’s second-largest city.

Angela Lowrey

Oakley, CA

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Antioch community leader withdraws endorsement of Wright, now backs Makinano for Mayor instead

Sunday, October 18th, 2020

Editor:

It is very important that I make myself clear.  Regardless of the fact that there are photos of me on early positive flyers supporting Sean Wright’s campaign, before the attack flyers against Lamar Thorpe  were designed and distributed, I had shifted my support to Gabriel Makinano for Mayor and here is why.

Back a few years ago when many of us in the community were trying to find a better way forward for our youth of all race and ethnic groups, I met  a young man named Gabriel Makinano who had the same mission and passion as the rest of us and aligned  and partnered his organization with the Youth Intervention Network team.

Most of you know about the work YIN was able to accomplish with youth who were struggling  and it was recognized by the United Nations and Attorney General Eric Holder after we saw the first 100 youth of all colors and economic status who finished the initiative go from a 1.0 GPA to an average of 3.5 and go to college after graduation.

This city was united with our police department, beginning with Chief Jim Hyde, and later Chief Allan Cantando, and now Chief Tammany Brooks. Over 300 residents of all racial backgrounds spent a full 40 hours with our Northern Irish team and then went through background checks to work with families.

During all of this, Gabe and his team were strong participants, allies and partners. He and his organization have and continue to make a tremendous contribution to our youth and our community.

Gabriel Makinano is loving and humble, and will be an amazing mayor

Iris Archuleta, JD

Antioch

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Letters: Writer wants change, new community college board member for Ward 5

Saturday, October 17th, 2020

Editor:

Ward 5 of the Community College Board needs change – Enholm must go!

Ward 5 of the Contra Costa Community College District, including Bay Point, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Knightsen and Bethel Island, is badly in need of new leadership. The current Trustee for this area, Greg Enholm, has engaged in poor decisions, erratic behavior, and unethical acts that have not served the District, Los Medanos College in particular, very well.

This is not new, but enough is enough.

When the Board of Trustees approved in a 4-1 vote the building of the new Campus located in Brentwood, on donated land, with an approved Bond Measure E in 2014, Enholm continued to oppose its construction. An alternative site would have taken years for approval adding costs for acquisition of land and increased taxes. The new campus was needed as the existing leased building in a retail district of Brentwood was over-capacity. In 2016 Enholm also recommended the residents of the nearby Trilogy community sue the District to keep its construction at bay.

This opposition caused numerous delays, added hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost due to litigation, and for a time imperiled the use of the approved Bond as expenditures needed to begin within an approved time. Covid-19 has impacted its opening, but the students will be served well by this new educational facility.

Especially troubling has been allegations of multiple ethics violations by Enholm that have recently come to light. He has not denied the allegations. The allegations were found to be true by an investigator of the District which included inappropriately trying to get a friend re-classified to be considered for a top-level position as well as ghost-writing an email to the District. As part of the investigation it was noted that Enholm went directly to the Chancellor to ask him to reconsider his friend for the position even though the person was already deemed to be unqualified for the position.

Of late, with the District facing challenges due to COVID-19, he also voted to terminate upper-level district managers, ignoring numerous requests from faculty and classified staff to reconsider that decision. Enholm has stopped listening to the faculty, staff, and his constituents and has engaged in recent actions that have put our District’s financial future at risk.

It is time for new leadership on the Contra Costa Community College District Board: Elect Fernando Sandoval.

Valerie T Lopez

Pittsburg

 

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Writer unhappy with negative campaigns wants Antioch people to join together, love each other

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

Dear Editor:

This is not the time for promoting hate by any candidate. Do we not see what is going on in this country. Is there nowhere that peace and dignity reigns during this time? People are dying. Racism and division rules.

What is all this really about and is it worth it? I guess unity and respect for one another has digressed.
No candidate is all good and none are all bad. Can we come together in a non-political environment and spend time talking about how we will rebuild community for real, and just talk about it?

I want to love people the way Christ has shown us. Whether you believe in Christ or not, I believe most of us in this community believe in unity and care. I’m not going to lie. Love is a struggle right now. Will people who want to love one another come together?

Iris Archuleta

Antioch

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Writer who regularly speaks out on issues endorses Wright for Mayor of Antioch

Monday, October 12th, 2020

Dear Editor,

I have followed the Antioch City Council for years (and I am certainly no stranger to the public comment podium). Experience teaches that the important issues facing our city are surprisingly complicated. Success requires being open minded, communication, intelligent decision making, and experience seeking solutions that are right for Antioch. Taking into account these vital qualities, and in light of the challenges facing our city, I am certain that the right person for Mayor of Antioch continues to be Sean Wright.

Sean Wright’s only political ambition is to be Antioch’s mayor; he is not using our city as a steppingstone for future political aspirations. In other words, he puts Antioch’s interests first. Mayor Wright is not beholden to any political party bosses, hence we need not worry about our city becoming a hobby horse for outside interests that will force Antioch down failed paths and someone else’s agenda. I have always been impressed with Mayor Wright’s in-depth knowledge of the issues, no doubt the product of his ability reach out and listen to people. His livelihood is here in Antioch, his children attend Antioch public schools, active in the Chamber of Commerce – these are just a few examples of how Sean Wright is deeply rooted in Antioch and committed to its success.

Especially important in these difficult times is that Sean Wright is transparent. There are no hidden agendas, no backroom deals, no maneuvering to pack the City Council with allies or employees, and no smear campaigns promulgating lies. Such antics will only serve to divide our city and call into question the motivations of their perpetrators.

I am voting to re-elect Sean Wright as Mayor of Antioch. With all sincerity I ask that you vote for him too. I guess you could say, “I like Wright.”

With Kind Regards,

Dr. Jeffrey Klingler

Antioch Resident (22 years)

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District 1 council candidate Soliz proposes emergency ordinance to support Antioch restaurants

Friday, October 9th, 2020

Dear Editor:

The following letter was sent to our mayor and councilmembers in time for their next meeting, Tuesday night.

Mayor and Councilmembers:

In an effort to support and assist our restaurant owners in Antioch, I am proposing the City Council immediately adopt an emergency ordinance to support our small business restauranteurs.  How?

I am proposing that the City limit the amount that third party food delivery companies can charge our restaurants to 15% of the sales amounts.  Currently, food delivery services can charge as much as 30% to provide this service to people ordering from our restaurants.  This temporary measure will help support our local restaurants, cost the City zero to adopt and implement and help during this pandemic time as some people continue to order food delivered to them, instead of venturing out for pick up.

Large conglomerate restaurants can usually negotiate a smaller delivery charge, but our local business owners are at the mercy of the delivery firms, and their high charges.  Our local small restaurants are often dealing with a 20% to 30% charge

Longevity for this ordinance?  Why not have the ordinance terminate when the City Council and County lifts emergency orders related to the pandemic.  Restoration of normalcy seems vague at this point, and the ordinance to support our restaurants should not terminate prematurely.

This is a quick way to support our restaurants in Antioch.  As we approach the fall and winter, we need to be proactive in supporting our business community.  I am available to share my research with you, and expect our City leaders to be responsive in helping our small businesses, restaurants in particular.

Manny Soliz, Jr.

Former Mayor Pro Tem and Councilmember

Current candidate Antioch City Council District 1

P.S. I also support waiving late fees on Antioch business licenses, this year to help all businesses in our city.

 

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