Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Contra Costa to hold Community Redistricting Workshops for Supervisor districts October 23-28

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors 2021 Redistricting Draft Map 1. Source: CCC Department of Conservation and Development

East County workshops Oct. 24, 26 & 28

By Susan Shiu, PIO, Office of Communications & Media, Contra Costa County

Contra Costa County’s Redistricting effort is a once-a-decade process of redrawing the boundaries for Supervisorial districts after the U.S. Census. As part of that process,

a series of Community Redistricting Workshops to be held in each region of the County will take place October 20 – 29, 2021. To register for mapping workshops and to learn more, visit CoCoRedistricting.org.

The county is also offering easy-to-use mapping tools for public input. Five proposed maps have been created for review by the public and Supervisors. See Redistricting Concept Maps 1-5.

Redistricting is the regular process of adjusting the lines of voting districts in response to accordance with population shifts within the County. Every ten years, after the decennial census, supervisorial districts must be redrawn so that each district is substantially equal in population. This process is important in ensuring that each Supervisor represents about the same number of people.

Redistricting is based on the U.S. Census data, which was released in legacy format on August 12, 2021.  The actual drawing of Supervisorial District Maps requires the official California State Adjusted Redistricting data, which was released September 20, 2021 and includes updated data to ensure that individuals in the prison population are counted by each jurisdiction.

“The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors welcomes your engagement and input in this important process,” said Board Chair, Supervisor Diane Burgis. “We are committed to a robust Redistricting and public outreach process with public hearings, a dedicated website at CoCoRedistricting.org, and public workshops.”

Workshop Schedule

Community Redistricting Workshop – District 2, San Ramon City Hall

October 23, 2021, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM @ San Ramon City Hall, 7000 Bollinger Canyon Road. Hosted by Supervisor Candace Andersen

Community Redistricting Workshop – District 3 Zoom Workshop

October 24, 2021, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM This workshop will be by zoom only. Hosted by Supervisor Diane Burgis

Community Redistricting Workshop – District 4, Pleasant Hill Community Center

October 25, 2021, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Pleasant Hill Community Center. Hosted by Supervisor Karen Mitchoff

Community Redistricting Workshop – East County Zoom Workshop

October 26, 2021, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM This workshop will be by zoom only. Hosted by Supervisors Diane Burgis & Federal Glover

Community Redistricting Workshop – District 1, San Pablo City Hall

October 27, 2021, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM @ San Pablo City Hall, 1000 Gateway Avenue, San Pablo 94806 Hosted by Supervisor John Gioia

Community Redistricting Workshop – District 5 Zoom Workshop

October 28, 2021, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM This workshop will be by zoom only. Hosted by Supervisor Federal Glover

For more information about Redistricting and how to provide input, visit www.CoCoRedistricting.org or the County website’s homepage at www.contracosta.ca.gov.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch Council to hold special workshop for public input on redistricting Saturday morning

Friday, October 15th, 2021

Map of the Antioch City Council districts for the 2020 elections showing the population deviations from average based on 2010 Census data.

Boundaries for at least District 2 will have to expand to the south and east, possibly placing both Barbanica and Mayor Pro Tem and Wilson into the same district.

By Allen Payton

The Antioch City Council will hold a special meeting/workshop for public input on redistricting of the four council districts tomorrow morning, Saturday, Oct. 16 at 10:00 a.m. The meeting will be online.

The council held a study session Tuesday night, prior to their regular meeting during which the consultant, Karin Mac Donald of Q2 Data & Research stated the adjusted population total of 115,580 is only for redistricting. It includes those people who are incarcerated in the state and are included in the geographic areas where their last residence is located. The population from the Census Data is unadjusted for purposes of receiving state and federal funding.

That results in the ideal population of 28,895 residents per district with a +/-5% allowed deviation or +/-1,545 people per district, she shared during her presentation.

The consultant spoke of the federal laws and state laws with which the council districts must comply, including the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the federal Voting Rights Act (VRA), California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), and the state Fair and Inclusive Redistricting for Municipalities and Political Subdivisions (Fair Maps) Act. That law, according to the California Secretary of State’s website, “requires cities and counties to engage communities in the redistricting process by holding public hearings and/or workshops and doing public outreach, including to non-English-speaking communities.” According to the Legislative Counsel’s Digest of the bill, the CVRA “prohibits the use of an at-large election in a political subdivision if it would impair the ability of a protected class, as defined, to elect candidates of its choice or otherwise influence the outcome of an election”. The CVRA was the basis for the threatened lawsuit against the City of Antioch forcing the council into district elections in 2018, which went into effect, last year. While the council cannot intentionally split up a race or language minority population diluting their ability to elect a member of a minority, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that race cannot be the primary basis for drawing districts. Minorities include people who are Black, Hispanic, Asian or Native American, Mac Donald explained.

She also explained the other criteria the council should follow in redrawing the district lines, besides the equal population required by the U.S. Constitution, specifically the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and the 5% deviation allowed by state law. Those include Communities of Interest (COI’s), using natural boundaries and those easily identifiable by the public, such as major streets, compactness as well as contiguity, which means districts can’t be split up in parts with gaps in between. In addition, the district boundaries cannot favor or discriminate against political parties.

Current Antioch City Council districts approved in 2018 and population deviations from average based on 2020 Census data. Source: Q2 Data & Research presentation.

Included in Mac Donald’s presentation was a map of the current council districts showing the population deviations, showing District 3s and 4, not surprisingly, have experienced the greatest population growth. District 3 has a deviation of 6.08%, greater than the 5% allowed, while District 4 is barely in compliance with a deviation of 4.63% from average. The results will be boundaries for at least District 2 will have to expand to the south and east, possibly placing both District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica and Mayor Pro Tem and District 3 Councilwoman Monica Wilson into the same district.

Antioch Council redistricting meeting schedule

Tuesday, November 9, 2021 – (Special meeting prior to City Council meeting)

Optional Additional Meeting (e.g. Antioch Community Center)

Tuesday, January 11, 2021 – (Regular City Council meeting. Introduction of Ordinance:

First Reading)

Tuesday, January 25, 2021 – (Regular City Council meeting. Second Reading: Adoption

of Ordinance)

Viewing

Members of the public can watch the meeting at https://www.antiochca.gov/live_stream, on Comcast Channel 24, or AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.

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 8:00 a.m. the day of the Council Meeting located at:
  1. 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 8:00 a.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 8:00 a.m. the day of the Council Meeting will be entered into the record for the meeting. Speakers will be notified shortly before they are called to speak.

 

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Antioch Council to consider redistricting, two more cannabis business areas Tuesday

Monday, October 11th, 2021

Current Antioch City Council districts approved in 2018 and population deviations from average based on 2020 Census data. Source: Q2 Data & Research presentation.

Antioch population grows from 102,372 in 2010 to 115,580 in 2020

By Allen Payton

During their meeting, Tuesday night, Oct. 12, 2021, the Antioch City Council will consider approving two more areas for cannabis business overlay districts, including historic, downtown Rivertown and the Somersville Road area. If approved only retail cannabis businesses would be allowed in the new areas. The regular meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. Cannabis Business Areas ACC101221

In addition, during a special meeting/study session at 5:30 p.m., the council will consider and discuss the criteria, data and process for redrawing the four council districts based on the 2020 Census population figures. The current districts are based on the 2010 Census. Since then, the city has grown from a population of 102,372 to 115,580. That results in the ideal population of 28,895 residents per district with a +/-5% allowed deviation or +/-1,545 people per district. Council Redistricting Study Session ACC101221

The City has hired the same consultant, Karin Mac Donald of Q2 Data & Research who assisted with the 2018 council district formation, as well as the state’s redistricting processes in both 2011 and this year.

Viewing

Members of the public can watch the meeting at https://www.antiochca.gov/live_stream, on Comcast Channel 24, or AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.

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.
  1. 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

for the meeting.

Speakers will be notified shortly before they are called to speak.

 

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Embattled Antioch School Board president served with recall notice

Saturday, October 9th, 2021

Proponents include parents, teachers, staff and a principal

“the students of Antioch Unified School District were no longer the focus of the Board of Education and drastic action was needed” – David and Lindsey Amezcua

Second Antioch official to currently face potential recall including the city’s mayor

By Allen Payton

On Friday afternoon, Oct. 8, 2021, Antioch School Board President Ellie Householder was served with a notice of recall by David Amezcua, a registered voter and resident of the school district. She was served in the parking lot of her home at 4:41 p.m. according to Amezcua’s wife, Lindsey who was with him.

Householder is the second Antioch official to currently face potential recall including the Mayor Lamar Thorpe. But unlike the mayor, who tossed his recall notice on the ground, twice, when served with his papers, the embattled trustee accepted them and simply said, “Beautiful,” Amezcua shared. (See related article)

The notice includes a list of 20 registered voters who reside within the district and are parents, teachers, staff and a principal.

“The decision to initiate a recall was not made lightly. We discussed the seriousness of taking this action for several months before we decided to act,” the Amezcaus said on behalf of the signers. “It became apparent to us that the students of Antioch Unified School District were no longer the focus of the Board of Education and drastic action was needed to correct the direction we are headed.”

“When the Vote of No Confidence (by AUSD faculty and staff) wasn’t enough to get the trustees to vote to remove Householder as president, we decided to start this process. We are a group of parents, teachers, staff, and administrators that know AUSD needs a leader that wants to work with our educators to achieve collective goals, a leader that is supportive, a leader that wants to effect change in a constructive manner,” they added. “As has been the rally cry for several years, #WeAreAUSD and we demand better.” (See related article)

The notice offers the reasons for the recall including abuse of power and violations of state Education Code and federal law, which are cited in the notice.

“NOTICE OF INTENTION TO CIRCULATE RECALL PETITION

TO THE HONORABLE Elizabeth Householder: Pursuant to Section 11020, California Elections Code, t he undersigned registered qualified voters of the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD), in the State of California, hereby give notice that we are the proponents of a recall petition and that we intend to seek your recall and removal from the office of AUSD Trustee, Antioch, California, and to demand election of a successor in that office.

The grounds f or the recall are as follows:

You are disrespectful of Board Members, Staff and Public who disagree with you during AUSD Board meetings. You have committed Brown Act violations by blocking/deleting comments on Social Media (eliminating equal access). You assert the president must not only collaborate on, but approve, the board agenda. (Ed. Code/Board Policy does not require board president’s approval); You abuse your authority by calling and/or adding agenda items at special meetings that were neither urgent nor necessary. You violated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), by publicly posting an unauthorized video of students without permission. You have committed numerous Robert’s Rules of Order Violations during meetings presided over by you: Allowed a substitute motion on a non-debatable “motion to table”; Ongoing efforts to limit or eliminate public comment by removing agenda items without consensus of the board; Stopping public comments midstream when you felt it wasn’t appropriate or directly related to the agenda item; Requesting staff to use personal judgement on which public comments should be entered into public record and which should not; and Abused presidential authority by not recognizing staff / board members’ requests to speak/provide input during a public meeting.”

Recall Proponents

The 20 signers of the recall petition include Lindsey Amezcua, John Muir Elementary School Principal Michael Flosi, former Antioch Council Member and current Planning Commissioner Martha Parsons, former Antioch Planning Commission Chair Janet Rossini Zacharatos, Contra Costa County 2021 Humanitarian of the Year Velma Wilson, and Allison Pantell, April Scott-Garrett, Baltazar and Celestina Perez, Daniel and Denise Rundall, Elizabeth Rieger, Gregory Andelin, Jessica Fernandez, Jessie Allen Lee Wison, Joshua David Isenbarger, Kathleen Cabrera (who served Thorpe his recall notice), Kelsey Martinez, Lakisha Monique Jarvis, Laura Young, Leslie and Robert Scudero, Mary-Ann Bellante, Nancy Mauri, Norma Barela, Shanae Nicole Souza, Susan Jimenez, Tamara Daste, Victoria Lee Virgen.

Recall Process

Householder’s term ends in December 2022, and she currently lives in Area 1 which is represented by Trustee Antonio Hernandez. So, unless the board decides to redraw the current trustee area lines to move her into Area 2, during this year’s redistricting process, Householder will not be able to run for reelection. Householder is also Antioch’s elected city clerk serving in a term that continues through December 2024.

She has seven days to offer a written response to the notice which will be included with the reasons and printed on the petitions which will be used to gather signatures. The district includes all of Antioch and portions of both Oakley and Pittsburg. Householder was elected in 2018 and serves in an at large seat representing the entire school district. (See  map)

According to the Procedure for Recalling State and Local Officials on the California Secretary of State’s website, and the Guide for Recalls on the Contra Costa County Elections website, organizers must gather the signatures of at least 15% of registered voters in the Antioch Unified School District, if the registration is between 50,000 and 100,000, to qualify the recall for the ballot. There are approximately 70,000 registered voters in the district which requires organizers gather approximately 10,500 signatures within 160 days or about 66 per day on average. (Actual figures cannot be determined until the County Elections office reopens on Monday.)

The notice also includes the following details for the recall process:

The original notice and proof of service will be filed with the Contra Costa County Clerk/Recorder.

Elections Code section 11023. (a) Within seven days after the filing of the notice of intention, the officer sought to be recalled may file with the elections official, or in the case of a state officer, the Secretary of State, an answer, in not more than 200 words, to the statement of the proponents.

(b) If an answer is filed, the officer shall, within seven days after the filing of the notice of intention, also serve a copy of it, by personal delivery or by certified mail, on one of the proponents named in the notice of intention.

(c) The answer shall be signed and shall be accompanied by the printed name and business or residence address of the officer sought to be recalled.

Efforts to reach Householder for comment were unsuccessful prior to publication. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Free online mapping tools for redistricting now available for public use

Monday, October 4th, 2021

Help draw your representatives’ districts the way you’d like to see them; provided by 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission and Statewide Database

SACRAMENTO, CA—On Saturday, Oct. 2, the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission announced the Statewide Database’s release of two free-to-use tools to help Californians submit redistricting plans to the Commission. These are the only redistricting applications through which users can submit their input directly to the state of California’s official redistricting process.

“The Commission is excited to share these free resources to help people draw their own district maps,” stated Commission Chair Sara Sadhwani. “The success of this decennial process depends on the participation of all Californians. We want to hear from everyone and want to know if our line drawing is heading in the right direction.”

“The Statewide Database is proud to provide two map creation tools that are free of charge,” said Karin Mac Donald, Director of the Statewide Database. “The key to participation is access. These online tools aim to expand access to every Californian in hopes that they have the tools necessary to participate in the redistricting process.”

Tell the CRC about your community today!

The previously released Draw My CA Community allows users to draw a map of and respond to a few simple prompts about their Communities of Interest. When finished, users can submit community input directly to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission for consideration in the statewide redistricting process. (https://drawmycacommunity.org/)

Draw My CA Districts is a free-to-use online tool for creating district maps

Through the newly released Draw My CA Districts web application, users can create district maps throughout the state of California and submit those maps directly to the Commission. (https://drawmycadistricts.org/)

Draw My CA is a free-to-use plugin for the open-source GIS platform, QGIS

Today’s release of the Draw My CA QGIS plugin allows users to download a California redistricting application to their own computer.  With this plugin, users can create redistricting plans for the state of California and submit those maps directly to the Commission while having access to a full GIS platform. Draw My CA will be available 10/03/2021 at: https://www.redistrictinggroup.org/installer/.

To learn more about these tools, please visit https://drawmycalifornia.org/.

Both the online district mapping tools (Draw My CA Districts and Draw My CA) include functionality to assist users to comply with population deviation, contiguity and assignment checks.

  • % Deviation check – tells the user to what extent any of their districts are above or below the ideal population of the distinct type they are working on
  • Contiguity check – lets the user know if their districts are contiguous or not
  • Assignment check – lets the user know if they have unassigned areas in their redistricting plan

The Commission must follow the following criteria, in this order, when drawing district maps:

  1. Districts must be of equal population to comply with the US Constitution.
  2. Districts must comply with the Voting Rights Act to ensure that minorities have an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice.
  3. Districts must be drawn contiguously, so that all parts of the district are connected to each other.
  4. Districts must minimize the division of cities, counties, neighborhoods and communities of interest to the extent possible.
  5. Districts should be geographically compact: such that nearby areas of population are not bypassed for a more distant population. This requirement refers to density, not shape. Census blocks cannot be split.
  6. Where practicable each Senate District should be comprised of two complete and adjacent Assembly Districts, and Board of Equalization districts should be comprised of 10 complete and adjacent State Senate Districts.

In addition, the place of residence of any incumbent or political candidate may not be considered in the creation of a map, and districts may not be drawn for the purpose of favoring or discriminating against an incumbent, political candidate, or political party.

Every 10 years, after the federal government publishes updated census information, California must redraw the boundaries of its electoral districts so that the state’s population is evenly allocated among the new districts.

In 2008, California voters passed the Voters First Act, authorizing the creation of the independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw new State Senate, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization district lines. In 2010, the Voters First Act for Congress gave the Commission the responsibility of drawing new Congressional districts following every census.

For more information, please visit WeDrawTheLinesCA.org.

 

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California school choice initiative for Nov. 2022 ballot filed with Attorney General

Monday, October 4th, 2021

Would allow creation of “Education Savings Account” for each K-12 student; organizers will need to gather signatures of one million voters

By Michael Alexander

Labor Day is the traditional end of the summer and the beginning of fall.  Before government created the perpetual school year, Labor Day also marked the beginning of the school year. This year, Labor Day marked the beginning of what will be a decisive and tumultuous year.  Californians will have the opportunity to establish true educational freedom in our wonderful Golden State.

School Choice Initiative Filed with Attorney General

In August, key leaders of the California School Choice Foundation joined other Californians to formally present a school choice initiative to the California Attorney General’s office for what is known as “Title and Summary.”  We expect to receive that summary no later than October 12, 2021.  Once that happens, we can then begin to gather the 1.0 million valid signatures necessary to place it on the November 2022 ballot.  Just to make sure, we plan to gather 1.5 million signatures.

Empowers Parents and Revolutionizes Education in California

The key four points of the initiative are these:

Educational Freedom Act

  1. An Education Savings Account (“ESA”) will be established for each K-12 child in California on request.
  2. Each year, that account will be credited with the student’s share of what are known as Prop 98 funds. That share will begin at $14,000 per year per student.
  3. The parent will be able to direct the ESA trust funds to a participating, accredited private or parochial school. The money will follow the student not the politicians.
  4. Any unspent funds will accumulate and can be spent on college, vocational training or other qualified educational expense.

This plan is both simple and revolutionary.  Once passed, California will become the first state to enact universal school choice.  More important, it will be the first state to recognize that It’s Your Kids, Your Money and Your Choice!

Get Ready and Get Involved NOW!

I need not tell you that school choice is the hottest issue in the country.  It was the linchpin of at least two candidates in the recall election:  Larry Elder and Kevin Kiley.  Each endorsed our school choice initiative. You can understand why this is initiative is already driving bureaucrats and social engineers insane.  No matter what happened in the recall election, school choice is not going anywhere.  Thousands of supporters are now mobilizing to get it on the ballot and pass it.  Scores of candidates for statewide and local offices will make school choice the focal point of their campaigns.

This is why you need to get involved right now.  We don’t have a moment to lose.

Super Sunday – Happy Halloween!  Trick or Treat? 

As I mentioned above, we are not standing still for a moment.  We know we will be able to start gathering signatures a month from now.  We have been organizing and advocating for the last three years.

We want to hit the ground running.  That’s why we are pre-planning a major event for October 30-31.  Whether you call it Super Sunday or Halloween, you need to let us know what church or other venue you will be covering on that weekend.  Our goal is to calendar at least 1,000 events statewide.  Nothing will send a more powerful message than this.  Friends and foes alike will know we are serious about our freedom and the future of our children.

This campaign will run for the next 13 months, ending in victory on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.

The following was provided by Stephen Smith.

Q1.  What about California’s public education system led to this grassroots effort for the initiative?

The reasons are legion.

  1. California schools can hardly be called an “education” system. Despite spending $20,000 per student per year – – that’s an average of $500,000 per classroom of 25 – – California schools rank near the bottom of the nation at 48th place. This has happened even though per pupil spending has almost doubled in the last decade.
  2. Increasingly, California schools preferred to indoctrinate rather than educate. In the face of vigorous parental opposition, social engineers (*1) disguised as “educators” continue their efforts to implement critical race theory. They also have frustrated efforts of parents to opt out of equally controversial “sex-ed” programs. (*2)
  3. Parents are outraged by the closure of the schools and mask mandates. Eighteen months after the start of the Covid panic, schools are still not fully reopened.
  4. Parents are frustrated by being ignored by school boards, teachers’ unions and politicians. They feel strongly – – and correctly – – that they are the parents and should be making basic decisions about the health, education and formation of their children. This is a basic human right that is frustrated daily by a leviathan system that cares little for them for their children. (*3)

(*1) https://freebeacon.com/coronavirus/la-teachers-union-president-there-is-no-such-thing-as-learning-loss/  “There is no such thing as learning loss,” the union president told Los Angeles Magazine. “Our kids didn’t lose anything. It’s OK that our babies may not have learned all their times tables. They learned resilience. They learned survival. They learned critical thinking skills. They know the difference between a riot and a protest. They know the words insurrection and coup.” Cecily Myart-Cruz, president of the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA)

(*2) https://capitolresource.org/ca-sex-education/

(*3) CPC report and polling data https://californiapolicycenter.org/new-polling-shows-covid-19-shifted-california-voters-opinions-on-schools-2/

Q2. How will the state provide the $14K per student?

  1. The principal source will be Proposition 98 tax revenues which, in the coming school year, will average approximately $14,000 per student. In fact, as noted above, the State spends approximately $20,000 per student per year.
  2. Ultimately, of course, parents, like every other taxpayer in California, will pay dearly for their own K-12 education as well as that of their children. Politicians and other advocates of centralized, inefficient, and incompetent government schools, never let on that under proposition 98, 40% of California state tax revenues are earmarked for what they are pleased to call “education.” As a practical matter, therefore, everyone in California will pay for K-12 education their entire lives. The only question is whether they get the education they pay for. Therefore, we say: It’s Your Kids, Your Money, and Your Choice.

Q3. Why do students and families need school choice?

  1. It should be recognized that what we call “school choice” is another way of describing parental choice. As discussed above, California schools, dominated by corrupt teachers’ unions and politicians have utterly failed to educate our children. This system particularly affects poor and minority communities who have no ability to escape the system. Therefore, they have no opportunity to escape the cycle of poverty and ignorance that so often characterizes our inner cities.
  2. It is not only that they need school choice. It benefits all of us. In California, indeed in America itself, real progress depends upon economic, social, and political mobility. The foundation of this mobility is a decent education without which our poorest citizens cannot hope to participate fully in our complex economy and our form of government. The current government school monopoly both creates and sustains a permanent underclass. This system is not only immoral, but also dangerous.  Therefore, our school choice initiative must first be understood as a preferential option for the poor.
  3. School choice is wildly popular among parents and citizens at large. There are several polls showing that approximately 70% of black and Latino Democrat parents desire some form of school choice.
  4. Another example is homeschooling. It is estimated that there were only 73,000 homeschooled children in 1973.  In the wake of school closures and the rapid decline in education, that number has swollen to as much as 5 million.  These parents are tired of arguing with the teacher unions and politicians.

Q4. Is this the first ballot initiative of its kind in the U.S.?

  1. This is not the first time that Californians have tried to get some form of school choice. There was an initiative on the ballot in the early 90’s and again in 2000.  Both failed.  That said, there are several states that have various forms of school choice that often include the ability of parents to choose a public school to attend but only within the system.  Other state programs do allow limited funds to attend a private school or provide funds for certain educational expenses procured outside the system.  Arizona and Florida are examples of each.  Some states have put Education Savings Accounts into place to implement parental choice.
  2. The Educational Freedom Act initiative goes further than any other proposal of which we are aware. It grants the right of any parent to request the creation and funding of an Education Savings Account that they can use to enroll their child in any accredited school of their choice and save anything left over for college or vocational training.  It is both simple and revolutionary.

Q5. Why does it need to happen through a voter referendum instead of the state legislature?

  1. This is simple. The politicians, special interests and the teachers’ unions have a monopoly on what millions of Californians say, think and do.  They also control for their own benefit 40% — over $100 billion – of the California budget.  They will not give up this power willingly.  We anticipate that the enemies of educational freedom will spend $100 – 200 million to defeat parents’ rights.

Q6. What is most important for people to know?

  1. The most important thing for people to know is that help is on the way. For the first time:
  2. Parents, not politicians, bureaucrats or zip codes, will determine how and where their children will be education.
  3. Because all schools, both public and private, will have to compete for students, ALL schools will get better.
  4. Because of competition, all schools will have to deal respectfully with parents who will be customers with a choice.
  5. Parents, including homeschoolers, will be able to shape their children’s education in a way best suited to their needs and talents, not the government’s.
  6. Because educational funding will now follow the student and empower parents, California will experience unprecedented innovation in education. California will once again lead the nation in educational innovation and excellence.

For more information visit www.CaliforniaSchoolChoice.org or our Facebook page.

Michael Alexander is President and Chairman of the Board and Stephen Smith is Vice President of Californians for School Choice.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch Mayor Thorpe served with recall notice, refuses to receive

Friday, September 24th, 2021

Video screenshot of Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe tossing the recall notice out of his car after being served by resident Kathy Cabrera. Thorpe with framed petition posted on his official Facebook page on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021.

Tosses it onto City Hall parking lot, twice; later picks it up, has it framed and posts photo with it on Facebook

“We believe that the citizens of Antioch deserve better,” – Kathy Cabrera, recall proponent

9,400 signatures of registered Antioch voters needed within 160 days to qualify for the ballot

By Allen Payton

Recall petition on ground in the Antioch City Hall parking lot after Mayor Lamar Thorpe tossed it there. Photo by Kathy Cabrera.

Less than a year into his four-year term, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe was served with recall papers in the parking lot of City Hall, Friday afternoon, Sept. 24, 2021, by one of the 20 residents who signed them, including several community leaders. Antioch resident Kathy Cabrera served Thorpe, but he refused to receive the required, legal recall notice, going so far as to toss it out of his car onto the ground, video shows. (Download and watch the video, here: Thorpe served recall vid1  or see the video on the Herald Facebook page)

“Today, at 12:30 p.m. at the City Hall parking lot I served Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe with a notice of intention to circulate recall petitions,” Cabrera said when reached for comment. “He said he didn’t know who I was and wouldn’t accept service.”

Thorpe can be heard in the video saying, “I don’t know who you are. Get away from my car.”

She then tossed the paperwork into his car and Thorpe tossed it back out. Cabrera then picked it up and placed it under his windshield wiper repeating, “you’ve been served.  You’ve been served.” He got out of his car, took the recall notice off his windshield and tossed it on the ground, again and drove off.

According to Cabrera, after driving off Thorpe circled back and picked up the notice off the ground. Later, he took a photo with the document in a frame, which Thorpe posted on his official Facebook page.

When reached for comment, Cabrera offered some of the group’s reasons for recalling the mayor.

“We believe that the citizens of Antioch deserve better,” she said. “We’ve seen a variety of good city employees, businesses and residents leave during his tenure at mayor. The people of Antioch are frustrated with the political games, constant self-promotion, and his lack of leadership and in the wrong direction.”

“We are moving forward with the recall process and will soon be out gathering signatures to let the citizens’ voices be heard,” Cabrera added.

Top part of Notice of Intent. Photo by Kathy Cabrera.

The Notice

More and the official reasons for recalling Thorpe are included in the notice which will be part of the petitions that Antioch voters will be asked to sign. Following is the text of the notice Thorpe was served, Friday:

NOTICE OF INTENTION TO CIRCULATE RECALL PETITION

TO THE HONORABLE Lamar Thorpe: Pursuant to Section 11020, California Elections Code, the undersigned registered qualified voters of Antioch, in the State of California, hereby give notice that we are the proponents of a recall petition and that we intend to seek your recall and removal from the office of Mayor, in Antioch, California, and to demand election of a successor in that office.

The grounds for the recall are as follows:

Disrespect for Council Members and the Public who disagree with you during City Council meetings. Blocking constituents and not allowing them to comment on your social media. You have failed to provide full support to the great men and women of the Antioch Police which is impeding their ability to keep our residents safe. As a result of your failed leadership it has led to the resignation of Police Chief Tammany Brooks who will be taking up a new post in Boise, Idaho; and the announced retirement of City Manager Ron Bernal. You put on the Council agenda to rescind the School Resource Officer Grant without any public input from the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) Board or Administration after the Officers had been interviewed and selected. You misled the Public about when you were informed about the death of Angelo Quintos, when you had earlier received an email from Chief Brooks. You blamed business owners on Sycamore Drive for the crimes that are being committed by others that live nearby which does not reflect Antioch’s theme: “Opportunity Lives Here”.

————-

Signature Gathering Expected to Begin in October

“The petitions won’t be available until about three weeks,” said former Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen. He is one of the 20 recall proponents and was with Cabrera to submit the notice and the proof of personal service to the city clerk’s office, following the interaction with the mayor.

The Proponents

Besides Cabrera, who is the director of a non-profit organization for cats in the city, and Simonsen, the other 18 proponents represent a cross-section of residents in Antioch, including Antioch School Board Trustee Mary Rocha, former Antioch Planning Commission Chair, Ken Turnage II, who was removed by the council, last year, after posting controversial remarks about seniors and COVID on his Facebook page; former Councilwoman and current Planning Commissioner, Martha Parsons; Velma Wilson, the county’s 2021 Humanitarian of the Year; former Mello-Roos Board President, Terry Ramus; plus Tom Hartrick, Lindsey and David Amezcua, Ricardo Cabrera, Nicole Silva, Kathy Vasquez, James Davis (not the former Mayor of Antioch), Mary and Roy Ledford, Katherine J. Belleci, Truman Davis Jr., Clark Wilson, James Wilson, and Thomas McNell, the co-author, with Ramus, of Antioch’s growth-metering ballot initiative Measure U that was passed by 69% of the vote in 1998.

Recall proponents Kathy Cabrera and Arne Simonsen with a copy of the proof of service form date stamped by the Antioch City Clerk’s office. Photo by Kathy Cabrera

The Process

The mayor has seven days to provide a response of no more than 200 words, which will be include on the recall petition for circulation for gathering signatures. But he’s not required to provide one.

The notice includes additional details about the process.

“Elections Code section 11023. (a) Within seven days after the filing of the notice of intention, the officer sought to be recalled may file with the elections official, or in the case of a state officer, the Secretary of State, an answer, in not more than 200 words, to the statement of the proponents.

(b) If an answer is filed, the officer shall, within seven days after the filing of the notice of intention, also serve a copy of it, by personal delivery or by certified mail, on one of the proponents named in the notice of intention.

(c) The answer shall be signed and shall be accompanied by the printed name and business or residence address of the officer sought to be recalled.”

UPDATE: According to the Procedure for Recalling State and Local Officials on the California Secretary of State’s website, and the Guide for Recalls on the Contra Costa County Elections website, organizers must gather the signatures of at least 15% of registered voters in Antioch, if the registration is between 50,000 and 100,000, to qualify the recall for the ballot. As of the November 2020 election, there were 62,394 registered voters in the city which requires they gather approximately 9,400 signatures within 160 days or about 59 per day on average.

Thorpe received 19,792 votes to win the election for mayor, last November out of 44,539 votes cast, for 44.44% of the vote. Should the recall make it to the ballot, just like in the recent gubernatorial recall election, he will face an up or down vote. In addition, a separate vote for the replacement candidates will decide who will be the city’s next mayor for the remainder of the term through Dec. 2024. If a majority of those voting, vote yes to recall Thorpe, the candidate with the most votes in the replacement election wins.

Past Antioch Recalls

Thorpe is the second Antioch mayor to be served with recall papers in the past 35 years, including Wade Harper in 2014 and 2015, and Joel Keller in 1986. But the attempts against Harper, by the same organizers, were unsuccessful, first due to improperly publishing the notice in the paper, and the revived effort failed to gather enough signatures. Organizers for the effort against Keller thought they had collected enough signatures and submitted them. But it didn’t make it to the ballot as it was tossed out by the county elections office after too many signatures were disqualified.

The last time a successful recall of an Antioch councilmember occurred was in 1995 when Councilwoman Elizabeth Rimbault was recalled. (This reporter also faced recall on the same ballot but beat it by 52-48%).

An effort to reach Thorpe for comment and asking him why he threw the notice on the ground, was unsuccessful prior to publication time.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Gubernatorial Recall Election results available Tuesday night

Monday, September 13th, 2021

Initial unofficial results for the Recall Election will be available shortly after 8:00 pm

By Dawn Kruger, Civic Outreach/Engagement Specialist, Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder-Elections Department

The first unofficial results report for the Gubernatorial Recall Election will be released shortly after at 8:00 pm on election night, September 14 and posted to the Elections Division website www.cocovote.us immediately afterward. The initial posted results will be Vote by Mail ballots that are returned through Monday, September 13 and in person early votes from prior to election day.

The second report, with results from the polls, will be issued at approximately 9:30 pm with subsequent updates approximately every half hour until all poll precincts have reported. The final unofficial election night report is expected to be issued by 1:00 am.

The first interim report will be posted by 5:00 pm on Friday, September 17 and will contain results from timely Vote by Mail ballots received on and after Election Day. The second interim report will be posted by 5:00 pm on Friday, September 24. Additional results will be posted each Friday afternoon up to certification which is expected to be October 8. All results remain unofficial until certification.

The availability of updated reports will be communicated via Twitter and Facebook. Changes to the reporting schedule, if any, will also be communicated on these social media sites.

The Contra Costa Elections Division social media pages are:
https://www.Twitter.com/CoCoElections
https://www.facebook.com/ContraCostaElections/

 

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