Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Incumbent Rocha has fundraising lead over King in Antioch School Board Area 5 race

Sunday, November 6th, 2022

Incumbent trustee Mary Rocha faces newcomer Dominique King is this year’s Antioch School Board Area 5 race.

Challenger gets over half her contributions with maximum $4,900 boost from Thorpe’s anti-recall committee

Rocha mainly backed by teachers, other unions

By Tamara L Seward & Allen D. Payton

In the race for Antioch School Board Area 5, Trustee Mary Rocha leads in fundraising with $19,159 in contributions over challenger Dominique King whose reports show a total of $11,095.02 raised including loans from herself of $2,759. Those figures are according to their Form 460’s as of close of reporting on Oct. 22 and Form 497 late contribution reports as of Nov. 2. King raised most of her funds inside Antioch. While Rocha spent almost twice as much as King during the reporting period, the challenger shopped local with most of her expenditures made inside the city.

While individuals and other political committees can contribute a maximum of $4,900 political action committees can contribute more. Campaigns must report the details for any amount of $100 more in contributions or expenditures.

Rocha Mainly Backed by Teachers, Other Unions

For her re-election campaign Rocha started with $119.74 from her previous run in 2018 which gave her a total of $19,278.74 to spend. MRocha ASB 2018 460 0701-092422   MRocha ASB 2022 460 0925-102222   MRocha ASB 2022 497 102622   MRocha ASB 2022 497 110222

Several unions contributed to Rocha’s campaign with $6,000 from the Antioch Education Association Political Action Committee, the local teacher’s union PAC, $4,900 from Dignity CA SEIU Local 2015, $1,500 from the I.B.E.W Local Union 302, $1,000 each from Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association Local #104 Political Action Committee and the Operating Engineers Local Union #3 Alameda, Ca. Code: OTH and $500 each from the Laborers International Union of North America Local #324-AFL-CIO and Plumbing Industry Consumer Protection Fund United Association Local #159.

Rocha’s latest Form 460 report includes two mistakes showing the $1,500 from I.B.E.W. listed three times resulting in an overstatement of her contributions received by $3,000. Her grandson, Ruben Rocha serves as her treasurer and son, Louie is assisting on her campaign. Louie said Ruben corrected the report as of Sunday evening, Nov. 6.

In addition, the incumbent received $1,000 each from LE03-Awin Management Inc. of Phoenix, Arizona which is a subsidiary of Republic Services, the garbage company that serves Antioch.

Her only reportable individual contributions from outside Antioch totaling $1,100 were $1,000 from former Antioch Police Chief Allan Cantando of Brentwood and $100 from Deputy D.A. Mary Knox of Walnut Creek.

Rocha received $425 in contributions of $100 or more from Antioch sources including $325 from her son Louie and $100 from former Antioch Councilman Ralph Hernandez. The incumbent also received a total of $1,134.00 in contributions of less than $100.

Rocha’s expenditures which total $11,471.91 were mostly spent outside of Antioch. They include $5,625 to Mesa Outdoor of Danville for Highway 4 digital billboard ads, $4,521.92 paid to JB Services of Martinez for mailers and $485.34 to My Legacy Matters, Inc. of Vallejo for lawn signs.

She only spent $615 inside Antioch with $500 paid to the Antioch Historical Society for a fundraising event and $115 to the Antioch Herald for advertising.

Rocha’s latest Form 460 report shows an ending cash balance of $4,906.83 which was overstated by $3,000 and she had an outstanding debt of $1,875 owed to Mesa Outdoor. With the additional $5,900 in additional contributions reported on two Form 497’s on Oct. 26 and Nov. 2, that leaves her with $5,931.82 to spend during the final week of the campaign.

King Mainly Backed by Thorpe, Antioch Residents

King raised $8,336.02 in contributions with over half from Mayor Lamar Thorpe and the majority from three Antioch politicians. The mayor contributed the maximum of $4,900 from his Stop the #Karen Recall of Mayor Thorpe 2022 campaign committee.  DKing ASB 2022 460 0101-092422   DKing ASB 2022 460 0925-102222   DKing ASB 2022 497 101822

King received the majority of her individual contributions of over $100 from Antioch totaling $1,778.79. They include $515.88 from Daniel Hernandez, $309.43 from Beatriz Hernandez, $300 from David Asfall, $250 from Antioch School Board Area 1 Trustee Antonio Hernandez and $100 each from four individuals including District 1 Antioch City Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker.

Her individual contributions of over $100 from outside of Antioch totaled $1,203.48. The largest was $500 received from political campaign consultant Melody Weintraub of Lafayette, followed by $300 from Larhonda Crosby-Johnson of San Leandro, plus $303.48 from three individuals in Pittsburg, Berkeley and Vallejo.

She also received a total of $353.75 in contributions of less than $100.

King had only spent $5,099.27 as of Oct. 22. She shopped local with the majority of her expenditures over $100 inside Antioch totaling $3,024.13. They include $819.29 at La Plazuela restaurant for a fundraiser, $795.95 with Crystal Clear Logos, $756.79 with FastSigns and $506 paid to Vincent Cecilio for professional services.

The challenger also spent a total of $1,874 outside of Antioch including $1,059 at Copyworld Inc. in Berkeley and $715 on slate mailers.

King ended the period with $5,995.75 cash on hand and $2,759 in outstanding debt for the loans, giving her campaign a net $3,236.75 left to spend during the remainder of the campaign, unless she doesn’t repay herself. If not, whatever amount King doesn’t repay becomes a contribution.

The election is Tuesday.

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To increase safety, end cronyism and corruption in city hall, attract businesses Antioch voters must reject the council incumbents

Saturday, November 5th, 2022

End anti-police attitudes, policies, statements; stop the embarrassment; keep out-of-town special interests from influencing city policy and buying two council seats

By Allen D. Payton

After enduring two years of bad decisions, cronyism, corruption, unnecessary and unwanted police reform policies, bad attitudes toward police – both resulting in a serious decrease in sworn police officer staffing – wasteful spending, racially charged comments and being repeatedly embarrassed by one of the councilwomen, Antioch voters must reject both incumbents Monica Wilson and Tamisha Torres-Walker and choose new representatives for our city council. I liken it to renewing someone’s contract in business. Have they done the job we wanted them to do? I say a flat “no” and should therefore not have their contracts renewed.

I tried to warn voters two years ago when I wrote about Torres-Walker’s radical agenda that fits better in Berkeley, than in Antioch. But with a split vote she was able to get elected in District 1 with just a little over 36% of ballots cast. Yet, she governed and acted as if she had a mandate. Needless to say, it’s doubtful if the first term (and hopefully only term) councilwoman expanded her base.

But Wilson is just as radical, voting for almost all of the same policies and they’re both backed by the Bernie Sanders’ democratic socialist organization, Our Revolution East Bay, other out-of-town, left-wing liberals and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Everywhere their candidates are elected, and policies are implemented, things get worse, as they have in Antioch. They’re also both backed by Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe which says a lot. He needs them both to get re-elected because Thorpe knows with a new council majority he and his agenda will be marginalized and he’ll be a lame duck mayor for the remainder of his term – however long that lasts.

Torres-Wilson has been able to drum up support from her network of outside, left-wing special interests who have shown up or called in to speak during council meetings and to get Wilson and Thorpe to go along and implement policies pleasing them, but not the majority of Antioch residents. Now those radical, left-wing interests and big money donors are trying to buy her and Wilson’s seats with over $44,000 of an independent expenditure campaign and thousands more dollars in direct contributions to their two re-election campaign committees. That’s because neither of them can get support from within Antioch – with Wilson only raising $2,050 in contributions over $100 and Torres-Walker raising $350 in contributions of that amount, and less than $1,000 at the most from Antioch residents. That should be an indicator of how popular they and their policies are. (See related articles here, here and here)

Torres-Walker Dangerous Policies

While in the past two years Torres-Walker has been more successful in getting her agenda implemented than Wilson has in the 10 years she’s been on the council, her policies and proposals, supported by both Wilson and Thorpe, have led the city in the wrong, dangerous direction and toward self-destruction. Thanks to those three, the Antioch Police Department based on the latest report is down 31 sworn police officers, to 84 of the 115 budgeted. No, that doesn’t include the eight officers who are under investigation to the delight of Torres-Walker, Wilson and Thorpe – as if their reforms had anything to do with it. They didn’t.

Plus, the three didn’t have public support for any of the so-called reform policies except for body and dash cameras – that no one opposed – which they learned from their own Bridging the Gap forums. But they ignored that input, implemented their “reforms” anyway and without offering any data to prove that they were necessary, mainly to please the out-of-town interests. During the council meeting on Feb. 26, 2021, Torres-Walker literally said, “I would not support putting any youth in the room with a department that is currently in reform” and “We should not be at war with our community. We don’t want to see storm troopers on the streets of our communities.”

It took months before Torres-Walker, Wilson and Thorpe before voted in favor of police body and dash cams. Then even longer before they approved the body and dash cam policies. The ladies went along with his delays waiting for March 2021 to have the vote during his “Police Reform Month”. Torres-Walker voted against funding the software for the new system needed to operate the cameras and store the videos because it was from the city’s General Fund and she didn’t want to give the police department any additional money. Yet now the two incumbents tout their vote for the police cameras on their campaign websites.

All three of them voted against providing the police department with new, high-tech tasers that were part of the package deal with the body and dash cams, that when deployed immediately turn on the officer’s body camera. The result will be when the new tasers are eventually purchased it will cost the city more money.

Wilson’s Few Accomplishments in 10 Years

In 10 years, Wilson has only been able to get three of her proposals approved, two of which are laudable but none of them have had much or any impact. One was to ban hourly rates at local motels to reduce prostitution and the other was to implement a mental health crisis response team to assist police on 5150 calls. But that hasn’t even been implemented, yet.

Plus, she’s been siding with the Quinto family who has been falsely accusing the police of “killing Angelo”, even after the officers were completely cleared by both the Antioch Police Department and the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office (surprisingly enough). That’s even though the officers rescued the family members from him attacking them, and he died in the hospital three days later while not in police custody due to the drugs that were in his system.

To make things worse, Wilson along with Thorpe wore “Justice for Angelo Quinto” T-shirts to the Oct. 25th council meeting when she pushed for and was able to get council approval to name the response team after him, further sending a negative message to our police force. That’s why cops don’t want to work, here, so many have left and during their exit interviews have cited the council majority as the reason, and the department can’t recruit officers fast enough to fill the vacancies – no matter how big of a signing bonus they offer. Wilson’s third accomplishment is mentioned, below about the ban on oil and gas drilling.

Torres-Walker Apologized for Wanting Four More Cops in Her District

Torres-Walker had one good proposal in the last two years, and that was to call for hiring four more police officers for the Sycamore neighborhood, still the city’s highest crime area. But she then posted another one of her videos and apologized to her supporters for advocating for more police – heaven forbid – to help make part of her district safer. After Thorpe opposed it and refused to place the hiring of more police on a council meeting agenda, and only offered to support more overtime for officers to work in that area of the city, Torres-Walker quickly backed off her idea and we never heard about it, again. So, she wasn’t that serious about it. Because when she is serious about an issue, Torres-Walker has proven to be relentless.

Ironically, her first major vote, along with Wilson and Thorpe, was to reject the $750,000 federal grant for six School Resource Officers placing police on four middle and two high school campuses in Antioch. Then, she later complained about police interaction with students causing problems on campus and even posted a video of one incident on her official Facebook page.

Bad Decisions, Wasteful Spending

Both of them voted for multiple cannabis businesses, further damaging our city’s reputation in the business community and ability to attract employers with well-paying jobs; both voted along with Thorpe to fly the intersex progress “pride” flag over city hall for eight months this year at the exclusion of flags by any other groups; following the lead of the Brentwood City Council, they voted to deny the renewal of the franchise agreement for the low-pressure, natural gas pipeline that goes through Antioch which did nothing but result in a loss of the annual fee from and a lawsuit by the pipeline owner – they were rewarded with campaign contributions from special interests; then they both voted to create an unnecessary, new city department which now handles five of seven areas that were already being handled by other city departments, and created a new department head position costing the city more money; that resulted in the eviction of 16 non-profit organizations that had to find new office space and only three of them have, so far; they also voted to form a committee of the whole council for police oversight which is just silly – and made Torres-Walker the chair, from which she was later forced to resign – and held meetings during late afternoons when most people weren’t home from work, yet and couldn’t give their input; even their biggest, latest claim to fame, the rent stabilization ordinance really will have little affect and impact very few residents and was done as an overreaction to claims of people being evicted or harassed during COVID, and done for show, because there are already state laws in place to protect most renters. Now, Wilson and Torres-Walker are being rewarded with $22,202 each spent on their campaigns by the very out-of-town organizations that advocated for the policy.

Wilson’s a Follower

Also, following the lead of her allies on the Brentwood City Council, Wilson pushed for an unnecessary moratorium on oil and gas drilling in Antioch, without ever once reaching out or having city staff contact the only person who owns permits and rights to drill, and still can – even after the ban. When you’re going to do something that affects someone’s property and or business, the least a council member and city staff should do is inform and give them an opportunity to speak on the matter before the city council. Besides he could have told them that he had no plans to exercise his rights, anyway because the last two attempts proved to be dry holes. Although it resulted in having no impact the effort gave Wilson an issue to use to run on for re-election.

Then, after agreeing to hold a special meeting to consider voting to censure Thorpe for his behavior toward the two former female employees who sued him for sexual harassment, Wilson wimped out and backed out, the next day. She was one of the three council members to agree to the special meeting which is what is required without the mayor’s consent.

Both Are Weak on Economic Development & Bad for Business

Both incumbents laughably tout their support for economic development because they voted to give out federal government COVID money to local businesses. Yet, that’s what it’s designed for, to help the businesses the government policies negatively impacted and were forced to close. Torres-Walker is rarely seen at the stores in the downtown Rivertown in her district and Wilson, who serves on the council’s Rivertown subcommittee hasn’t held a meeting for the past year. The only economic development they can point to is the previously mentioned approvals of all the cannabis businesses. Oh, and both of them voted in favor of having a huge, marijuana smoking event at the county fairgrounds! That’s their idea of economic development but it’s not the kind of event we need or want to attract people to our city.

Wilson was also one of the three council members who in 2020 foolishly voted against a commercial and multi-family housing project on Delta Fair Blvd. to help revitalize that area. So, the former Food Maxx store still sits empty, and the shopping center gathers litter and very few shoppers for the other businesses with the anchor tenant gone. But hey, she voted for another cannabis business nearby on Somersville Road.

I personally know of some potential, major business interests that would like to locate in Antioch but won’t if changes aren’t made on the council and with city staff.

Cronyism & Corruption in City Hall

They manipulated the redistricting process, this year, gerrymandering the council districts, by intentionally drawing the line around the neighborhood where District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock lives, moving her into District 4. And they did it live on camera during a televised council meeting. Then, Torres-Walker had the audacity to claim she didn’t know where Ogorchock lived. Yeah, right.

The worst decision they made was voting with Thorpe to hire their crony, Con Johnson as interim city manager, after he lied to their face on his resume. Then after multiple, major failures by him this past year, and with only two weeks left before the election jammed through hiring him as permanent city manager for two more years – without opening up the process for other applicants to apply so Antioch could find the best nor leaving it up to a possibly new council majority to decide. If there is one, I guarantee you Con will be the first city employee to get the axe which, if it’s done without cause, he’ll be paid a severance, wasting more of our tax dollars. But frankly, it will be worth it.

Then, Torres-Walker, Thorpe and Johnson played games with the annual Juneteenth Celebration, forced city staff to withdraw the permit from the African-American, young woman, Claryssa Wilson who led the committee of 11 other Africa-American Antioch residents that organized the event, because her parents were supporters of Thorpe’s recall. So, she and the Celebrate Antioch Foundation which served as the fiscal agent for the annual event, took it and held it in Brentwood, instead. Then, for some reason, an Oakland-based motorcycle club, led by an Antioch resident, was hired to put on the city’s event and relocated it from downtown, in Torres-Walker’s district, and held it at Williamson Ranch Park, in Wilson’s district, instead – where it cost the city between $30,000 and $50,000. The worst part was Wilson is a member of the foundation’s board of directors, remained silent and did nothing to intervene or stop the game playing.

Then, Torres-Walker got the interim police chief to spend $20,000 from his department’s budget for a community event she proposed in her district, during election season. A Concord-based company was paid to organize it and only had one Antioch organization included. Other local businesses and organizations weren’t invited and didn’t know about it. UPDATE: It’s since been learned that the interim chief was forced by Johnson to spend the funds from his department, and it wasn’t Ford’s choice.

Wilson’s Corrupt Conflict of Interest

Even worse, Wilson violated state conflict of interest laws by voting as a councilmember for the city to contract with the foundation and spend $145,000 of city money on this year’s Sesquicentennial events. According to Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Steve Bolen, who handles public corruption cases, shared California Government Code Sections 87100 and 1090 and said, “the FPPC is the agency that does those initial investigations.”

Section 87100 reads, “No public official at any level of state or local government shall make, participate in making or in any way attempt to use his official position to influence a governmental decision in which he knows or has reason to know he has a financial interest.”

In addition, according to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) which enforces “Government Code Section 1090 prohibits an officer, employee, or agency from participating in making government contracts in which the official or employee within the agency has a financial interest. Section 1090 applies to virtually all state and local officers, employees, and multimember bodies, whether elected or appointed, at both the state and local level. ‘Making’ a contract includes final approval of the agreement, as well as involvement in preliminary discussion, planning, negation, and solicitation of bids.” Finally, according to the League of California Cities, “Section 1090 is a conflict of interest prohibition which has historically been subject to criminal penalties (if the violation is willful). As of January 1, 2014, Assembly Bill 1090 authorized the Fair Political Practices Commission (the “Commission”) to seek and impose Administrative and Civil penalties against a public official who violates this prohibition against being financially interested in a contract.”

The foundation also serves as the fiscal agent for Wilson’s organization, the East Contra Costa Women’s Leadership Initiative.

Wilson was warned to step down from the board or the city council but didn’t and she should be investigated by the FPPC and Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office.

Torres-Walker Worst Council Member in Recent Memory

Torres-Walker has simply been the worst city council member that I can remember since I first moved here in 1991. She’s been an embarrassment since her first month in office, defending the illegal actions of her two sons riding dirt bikes on city streets, and blasting the Antioch Police officers – who are now suing her – and the entire department with a nine-minute, profanity filled video rant. Torres-Walker never apologized to the police for her comments, but only posted another video, earlier this year apologizing to her supporters for saying she didn’t give a blankety blank blank about being a council member and literally shared a portion of the first video, repeating her vulgarities.

Torres-Walker has had 11 calls to the police who had to respond to her home for noise complaints, dirt bikes being ridden up and down the street, and last year’s incident at the beginning of October when police responded to gunshots in front of her home. Six bullet casings were found in the street, she reportedly was drunk, and ended up getting arrested for interfering with a police officer who was talking to another person at the scene. Taking a page from the playbook of her council ally, Thorpe, she literally tried to deny it occurred. Of course, our county’s woke, soft-on-crime D.A. Becton dropped the charges against Torres-Walker, as she did previously the charges against the councilwoman’s older son for fleeing from the police during the Dec. 2020 dirt bike incident.

Instead of taking responsibility for her and her sons’ actions, Torres-Walker blames the Antioch Police Department, claims they have targeted her and her family. But as the president of the Antioch Police Officers Association said, recently, they don’t have time to be going after her. Yet if they didn’t respond to the calls for service at her house, guess who would be the first person to complain and call them racist for not doing their job?

Then, get this, she foolishly attended, promoted and made excuses online for one of the dangerous sideshows where drivers spin donuts in their cars in the middle of intersections, undermining police efforts to stop them. Torres-Walker literally wrote on her official Facebook page, “I was simply saying it was this or the alternative which was more violence.”

Plus, several times, the councilwoman refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of council meetings and remained seated with her back to the flag.

Torres-Walker’s Transparency Hypocrisy on Police Body Cams

The worst part is Torres-Walker is a hypocrite. She calls for transparency by the police department and literally touts voting for police body cameras on her campaign website but won’t have the video footage from the incident at her own house released for the public to see. True leaders lead by example. The councilwoman needs to be transparent, herself and release the video.

Torres-Walker’s Criminal History

Let’s not forget, that in a 2021 San Francisco Chronicle article she admitted to being arrested 22 times as a youth. Then as an adult while on probation from a May 2008 drunken driving conviction and with a pending case in which she was charged with drunken driving and three counts of child endangerment in June 2009, Torres-Walker, was arrested, again for attempting to burn down the San Pablo apartment building from where she had been evicted the previous week. According to an East Bay Times article about the incident, she was charged “with burglary and arson of an inhabited dwelling…that displaced about 10 residents”. In addition, that report reads, “Police said Walker was spotted breaking a window and kicking down the front door of her former apartment at about 1 a.m. Sunday. She is accused of lighting two fires in the residence, one in the kitchen that was extinguished quickly and another in a bedroom mattress, a fire that spread”. Torres-Walker was convicted and spent a year in the West County jail, then entered a treatment program for alcoholism.

While I believe anyone can change, especially with the help of God, it would be one thing if she had truly turned her life around. But her continued bad behavior and defending that of her sons, and her negative attitude toward the police, shows Torres-Walker hasn’t really changed and isn’t fit for public office. She’s negatively affecting the safety of all Antioch residents and businesses as a result. Words matter. Words of people in positions of power and authority matter more because they can have a greater impact. Torres-Walker hasn’t seemed to learn that, yet.

Repeated Racially-Charged Comments

Then there’s all of her racially charged, vitriolic diatribes during council meetings. Like Thorpe, she likes throwing out that horrible accusation. Torres-Walker even literally, once told a council meeting audience that calling the council a circus was racist because the people saying it are referring to the Black council members as monkeys. That left those in attendance, including this writer, dumbfounded and laughing. Ridiculous. She’s always trying to find a way to be offended and baselessly lectures residents how racist she thinks they are – just like the mayor. Tamisha needs to get out of her little bubble and learn people don’t care about her skin color or ethnicity. They care about her bad policies, behavior and things you say.

Plus, she’s disrespectful and grown arrogant in office in such a very short time, not answering phone calls, texts and rarely responding to emails and questions challenging what she does, says and writes. She doesn’t like to be held accountable which is not a good character trait for an elected official.

And she can’t even properly oversee the reporting of just $25,000 in campaign funds she received. If Torres-Walker can’t handle that, how can she be trusted to help oversee millions of taxpayer dollars? (See related article)

Wilson Also Plays Race Card

First, Wilson falsely played the race card against former Planning Commission Chairman Kenny Turnage in 2020 who she expected to run against him, twisting his comments on Facebook about COVID and seniors – that had nothing to do with race, skin color or ethnicity. Then, just recently, she baselessly labeled as, “racially divisive grandstanding” the calls by Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica and one of her opponents, Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, for Thorpe to resign following his DUI arrest, earlier this year and then the $350,000 settlement in the sexual harassment lawsuit against him in September.

One More Rare Good Thing

To give credit where credit is due, one other rare, positive vote both incumbent councilwomen took was in favor of the new Rivertown sign over W. 2nd Street in Antioch’s historic downtown.

Time for Torres-Walker to Take a Walk

While I was hoping she would grow and develop into her new elected position, the fact is Torres-Walker hasn’t. She is divisive, her decisions have been detrimental to our city, and we can’t afford another four years of her on the council trying to lead us in the wrong direction.

Similar to what I wrote in 2020, I applaud Torres-Walker’s work as co-founder and now, former executive director of the Safe Return Project in Richmond, where she worked to help those returning from prison to get jobs, etc., and now, executive director of the Richmond-based Social Good Fund. She should remain focused on that, instead and leave the governing of Antioch to people with more common-sense views and values, who will improve our city’s public safety, and won’t be so divisive and embarrassing.

Perhaps, when she’s grown up and has learned how to behave, talk properly and treat people with respect, especially those she was elected to represent and serve – all of us in Antioch – then maybe she can run for and serve in office, again. But not now. Torres-Walker needs to take a walk and it’s up to the voters in District 1 to issue her walking papers.

We’ve Grown Weary of Wilson

As for Wilson, she like her colleagues, including Thorpe, has become arrogant in office, rarely if ever responds to phone calls, texts or emails, and refuses to answer questions unless in a press conference, which they shut down quickly to avoid having to answer any tough ones. Her 10 years on the council has been more than enough. If she hasn’t been able to accomplish what she set out to – which really has been to get elected to higher office – she’s not going to. What Wilson really has been for most of her time on the council is a reliable third or unnecessary fourth or fifth vote. As political commentator, George Will once wrote, there are two types of people who run for office. Those who want to do something and those who want to be something. Wilson falls into the latter category. It’s time she became someone somehow else. If you’re like me, you’ve grown weary of Monica Wilson and she needs to be replaced on the council.

For a Better City Vote for Better Candidates

All of the challengers in both races are far superior to the two incumbents.

In District 1, whichever candidate you vote for just, please make sure to choose one of the challengers, either Joy Motts or Diane Gibson-Gray. I haven’t always agreed with either of them, but they would clearly do a better job, make better decisions, and represent our community in a better, much more mature, responsible manner.

In District 4, if you want a better, current council member, vote for Lori Ogorchock. If you want a better woman to join her on the council and who won’t just go along with the “woke” agenda and poor leadership of Thorpe and Torres-Walker, vote for Sandra White. (By the way, she’s not the former Antioch School Board trustee. That’s Crystal Sawyer-White who lost her re-election bid in 2020 and no longer lives here). If you want another and better man than our mayor, like Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica, then vote for Shawn Pickett.

This city council election is the most important one I can think of in 26 years when the second worst council member in recent memory unfortunately, got elected. (There’s a prize for the person who guesses who I’m referring to). Seriously, for the sake of all of our safety, to end the cronyism and corruption at city hall, and if you want things to improve with our local economy and attract more businesses with well-paying jobs to town, please reject the two city council incumbents and vote for one of their challengers. Antioch’s future depends on it.

UPDATE REGARDING REDISTRICTING: To clear up any confusion surrounding the belief that a new council majority can redraw the district lines and move Ogorchock back into District 3, following is the information I’ve been able to obtain on the subject:

According to redistricting consultant Karin Mac Donald of Q2 Data and Research who is also the Director of California’s Statewide Database & Election Administration Research Center at U.C. Berkeley, and consultant for both the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission and the City of Antioch’s redistricting process, California prohibits redrawing district lines mid-decade, with few exceptions. Those includes the city increasing in population by at least 25%.

According to a presentation by the Nielsen Merksamer law firm and National Demographics Corporation, as of 2021 mid-decade redistricting is never allowed, “unless in conjunction with judicial proceedings, or jurisdictional boundary changes, and then with qualifications.”

So, since the city’s population is not going to increase by 25% and unless someone sues the city over the gerrymandered redistricting maps created by the current council majority, and a judge rejects the current map and requires the council to redraw the district boundaries, a new council majority cannot redraw them before the next Census in 2030.

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In Antioch District 1 Council race Torres-Walker leads in fundraising followed closely by Gibson-Gray, Motts

Saturday, November 5th, 2022

Incumbent District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker faces challengers former Antioch School Board President Diane Gibson-Gray and former Antioch City Councilwoman Joy Motts in the November election.

Gibson-Gray self-funds campaign; Motts raises most and spends more money within Antioch than the others

Incumbent councilwoman reports filled with mistakes, show she spent more than she raised, but missing over $11,000 in contributions; less than $1,000 raised within and almost all of her funds spent outside Antioch

By Tamara L Seward & Allen D. Payton

According to their latest campaign finance reports, known as Forms 460 and 497, as of October 28, 2022, of the three candidates for the Antioch City Council in District 1, incumbent Tamisha Torres-Walker was in the lead having raised about $25,200. But her mistake-riddled reports show only about $13,500 of that amount. Challenger Diane Gibson-Gray had raised $20,800 followed by fellow challenger Joy Motts with about $19,500 with almost half of it received from within Antioch.

By law financial reports must be filed by candidates running for any office, local, state and federal. Known as Form 460’s these reports show the details of who contributed, how much and how much they paid for expenses for any amount $100 or more. Plus, a Form 497 is required to report any large contribution within 24 hours of receipt. The reports can be enlightening and revealing. Several unions and special interest groups from out of the area contributed to the candidates, some over $1,000 and three in the maximum amount of $4,900 with the incumbent winning the crown.

Torres-Walker’s latest Form 460 only shows she had raised $8,626 and had spent $12,374 leaving her campaign almost $3,300 in debt. But she and her treasurer made several mistakes by not including about $2,500 from a previous committee and $8,900 in large contributions, which if included would have shown her campaign had a little over $8,000 cash on hand, rather than in debt.

Gibson-Gray Self Funds Campaign

Former Antioch School Board President Diane Gibson-Gray said she would self-fund her campaign and did just that by loaning it $20,000 and only raising an additional $800 from four Antioch residents for a total of $20,800. That included $500 from Gloria Martin and three $100 contributions.  Diane Gibson-Gray ACCD1 2022 460 0701-092422   Diane Gibson-Gray ACCD1 2022 460 0925-102222

Her campaign, which began in August, only spent $6,775.69 as of Oct. 22 leaving her with 14,024.31 cash on hand to spend over the final two weeks.

Gibson-Gray spent a little over half of that amount, $3,969.49 on printing with VistaPrint in Waltham, Massachusetts, plus $900 for advertising with East County Today but only $110 with the Antioch Herald (what’s up with that? We’re not charging enough!); and $524.40 with Belleci Signs & Apparel in Pittsburg for signs. She, like Motts, re-used signs from her previous campaigns. Gibson-Gray also spent $400 with Meta, the name for Facebook’s parent company for advertising.

Motts Backed by Unions, Antioch Police Officers, Antioch Residents

Former Councilwoman Joy Motts, who announced her campaign last fall, reported receiving a total of $17,354.98 for her campaign through Oct. 22 of which about $1,500 was in-kind contributions. But a Form 497 filed on Oct. 28 shows she received an additional $2,200 bringing her total to $19,554.98. Of that amount at least $9,194 was from within Antioch. So, Motts wins the prize for raising the most local money of all city council candidates, this year. Joy Motts ACCD1 2022 460 0101-063022   Joy Motts ACCD1 2022 460 0701-092422   Joy Motts ACCD1 2022 460 0925-102222   Joy Motts ACCD1 2022 497 102822

Her contributions from four unions and two political action committees totaled $7,800. Those include $2,500 from the Antioch Police Officers Association PAC, $1,500 each from IBEW Local 302 and the California Real Estate PAC, $1,000 from Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 104, $500 each from Operating Engineers and Laborers International Union of N.A Local 324, and $300 from Brick & Allied Craftworkers Local No.3 PAC.

In addition, Motts received $2,000 contributions each from Antioch resident and business owner Michael Gabrielson and San Ramon resident Betty Cho who is listed as a Senior Director for Kaiser, $500 each from Antioch residents Jennifer Hughes and Earlene Lanter, and $400 each from former Antioch Mayor Don Freitas and Antioch resident L.M. Terranova.

She also received in-kind contributions of $799 from Jennifer Hughes for office administration and $695 from Selina Button of Antioch for fundraiser drawing prizes.

Of individual contributions of $100 or more, Motts received $5,200 in cash and the $1,494 in-kind from Antioch residents and a total of $2,600 from outside the city including $600 from two Oakley residents. She also received $2,004.56 in contributions of less than $100 for which no details are required to be reported.

Motts spent a total of $13,262.20 on her campaign and wins the Shop Local prize for spending about one-third of that in Antioch. Her largest expenditures were $3,388.14 paid to Antioch’s Print Club, $2,753.44 with Pacific Printing in San Francisco, $1,400 with StackAdapt in Toronto, Ontario, Canada for printing, $895.50 to Cedric Cheng Design in Concord, $635 with Memories Man of Fremont for the campaign website, $570 paid to Carla Baker Marymee of Antioch, also for the website and $226.49 at Lowe’s in Antioch.

Motts’ Oct. 22 report showed an ending cash balance of $4,092.78 with no outstanding balances. Adding the $2,200 reported on Oct. 28 gave her about $6,300 remaining to spend on her campaign for the final week and a half.

Torres-Walker’s Reports Missing Over $11,000 in Contributions, Include Multiple Mistakes

Over the past two years Torres-Walker has reported her campaign finances under three different committees, made multiple mistakes and some corrections, making her Form 460 reports difficult to decipher. Her Tamisha Walker for Antioch City Council District 1 2020 committee report shows she ended 2021 with $557.25 cash on hand. That committee was terminated on June 16, 2022.  Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2020 460 0101-063021   Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2020 460 0701-123121 #1   Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2020 460 0701-123121 #2    Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2020 410 082522 Termination 061622   Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2020 497 082022

A Form 410 filed on August 25 shows she also terminated her first 2022 campaign committee on June 16. Yet, Torres-Walker’s Form 460 report for that committee shows she received $1,150 on June 30.  Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2022 460 0101-063022  Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2022 410 082522 Termination 061622    Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2022 497 080122   Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2022 497 080722   Tamisha Walker ACCD1 2022 497 093022

As of Oct. 22, Torres-Walker received $20,294.63 with the majority of contributors from outside Antioch and includes $1,300 in loans from herself. She listed her new position as the Executive Director of the Social Good Fund in Richmond. But her latest reports do not include $11,367.20 in contributions and cash on hand from her previous 2022 committee.  Reelect Tamisha Torres-Walker ACCD1 2022 460 0701-092422    Reelect Tamisha Torres-Walker ACCD1 2022 460 0925-102222  Reelect Tamisha Torres-Walker for ACC D1 497 092422

Plus, her most recent Form 497 report (required within 24 hours of receiving large contributions) showing $4,900 from Contra Costa United Working Families (CCUWF) in Pleasanton was received two days after the reporting period ended. That brings her total contributions and loans to $25,194.63 for the campaign.  Reelect Tamisha Torres-Walker for ACC D1 497 102422

Torres-Walker only shows $351 contributed by Antioch residents of $100 or more. Even assuming all the contributions of less than $100 are also from individuals in Antioch the most Torres-Walker could have received from within the city is a maximum of $983.77.

Her latest Form 460 shows she ended the reporting period with a negative $3,279.57 balance. But adding in the unreported contributions and cash on hand from her previous committee, and assuming no other expenditures went unreported, Torres-Walker actually had $8,087.63 to spend. Add to that the $4,900 contributions and that gave Torres-Walker a total of $12,987.63 to spend for the remaining two weeks until Election Day.

Support from Unions and Out-of-Town Left-Wing Groups, Individuals

Of Torres-Walker’s almost $19,000 in contributions almost all of it came from various contributors outside of Antioch who live in places such as Lafayette, Pleasanton Stockton, Oakland, Atherton and Santa Cruz. She wins the prize for the contribution from furthest away with $100 from a woman in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Several special interest groups from out of the area also contributed large amounts to Torres-Walker’s re-election. She received the maximum of $4,900 from Lift Up Contra Costa PAC of Oakland. As previously reported the group also spent $22,202 on an independent expenditure effort to support Torres-Walker’s campaign.

Filings show two contributions for the maximum amount of $4,900 were made to Torres-Walker’s two separate re-election campaign committees by Lift Up Contra Costa. Source: NetFile

However, she shows two contributions from them for that same amount on her Form 497 reports which, if true, would be a violation of state campaign finance law. For the purposes of this report only one contribution has been included in the calculations, as it is expected that the duplicate reporting was a mistake. See questions below about the matter.

Plus, Torres-Walker received an additional $4,900 on October 24, 2022, two days after the close of the latest reporting period, from Pleasanton-based Contra Costa United Working Families. Like District 4 incumbent Councilwoman Monica Wilson, she also received $1,000 from Bay Rising Action Committee sponsored by Empowered Politics in Oakland. According to their website, “Bay Rising Action is a grassroots political network that champions strong leaders representing our racial, economic, and environmental justice movements and builds the political power of working-class, immigrant, Black, Latinx, and Asian communities.”

According to the Center for Empowered Politics website, “In 2017, Chinese Progressive Association Action Fund and San Francisco Rising Action Fund merged to form the Center for Empowered Politics.” According to Influence Watch, “The Chinese Progressive Association is a left-wing community organizing group focusing on the Chinese-American communities that grew out of radical-left and pro-People’s Republic of China cadres. [7] CPA has faced accusations of aligning with the People’s Republic of China government and has received favorable coverage from the Chinese Communist Party-affiliated news outlet China Daily.” [8] [9]

Flier promoting Torres-Walker’s fundraiser in Stockton on Aug. 13, 2022. Source: FB

Of the contributions Torres-Walker’s campaign received from individuals, almost all of it was from outside Antioch, as well, and even held a fundraiser in Stockton during the summer, sponsored by a Vallejo-based company. Her largest contributions include $4,900 from Elizabeth Simons of Atherton and $1,500 each from Patty Quillin of Santa Cruz and Quinn Delaney of Oakland, 1,000 from political campaign consultant Melody Weintraub of Lafayette and $250 from El Cerrito-based Sun Flower Alliance, an anti-fossil fuel organization whose representative spoke at council meetings in favor of the oil and gas drilling ban in Antioch.

As previously reported, according to Influence Watch, Elizabeth “Liz” Simons “is the daughter of billionaire retired hedge fund manager and Democratic political donor James Simons and the wife of Mark Heising, chair of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Simons has promoted a number of left-of-center education policies and is the chair of the Heising-Simons Foundation, an organization she formed with her husband in 2007 that supports a variety of left-of-center environmentalist, education, and social policy causes.”

According to the Heising-Simons Foundation website, Liz Simons currently serves on the boards of the left-of-center Smart Justice California and the Learning Policy Institute. According to Influence Watch, the “Learning Policy Institute (LPI) is an education research and policy advocacy group that focuses on diversity and equity outcomes. IDuring the push to reopen in-person schooling following the COVID-19 pandemic, LPI was a vocal proponent of mask mandates, contact tracing, and vaccination of children aged 12 and older.”

Quillin is the wife of billionaire NetFlix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings. According to a People magazine report, in 2020 they donated $30 million to COVID-19 vaccine development and global immunization programs. According to Influence Watch, “During the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign, Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, raised over $100,000 on behalf of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton[1] In 2020, Hastings and Quillin spent over $5.3 million in support of federal Democratic candidates and committees, including $1.4 million in support of President Joe Biden[2] The couple also spent over $4.5 million to support left-of-center ballot initiatives in California and over $2 million on high-profile local elections in 2020 alone.”

According to the organization’s website, Delany is “the Founder and Board Chair of Akonadi Foundation, which supports the development of powerful social change movements to eliminate structural racism and create a racially just society.”

Torres-Walker was asked via text on August 10 how she knows Simons and Quillin, why they would contribute that much to her re-election campaign and what interests do they have in Antioch. But as of this writing she had not responded.

Spends Most of Her Campaign Cash Outside Antioch

Torres-Walker’s expenditures for her campaign are reported totaling $12,374. Of that amount $4,532.53 was paid to Careful Design of Pittsburg for campaign literature, and $3,500 to Critical Impact Consulting in San Pablo. But on a Form 460 report dated 01/01/20-06/30/21 it shows $1,500 was paid to Ratha Lai the Founder and Executive Director of Critical Impact Consulting, with an address in Antioch. Asked if he lives in the city, Lai responded, “I am not an Antioch resident, and my company is listed in San Pablo. I am no longer affiliated with Tamisha’s campaign since June 2021.”

She also spent $468 with NationBuilder in Los Angeles for her campaign website, and last year contributed $500 to D.A. Diana Becton’s re-election campaign. But that was returned in November, following Torres-Walker’s incident with police at her home in early October for which she was arrested. The charges were later dropped.

Filings show a $500 contribution in 2021 from Tamisha Torres-Walker’s campaign committee to Diana Becton’s re-election committee and Becton later returning it. Source: NetFile

She did send some money in Antioch paying $500 to Antioch-based Bay Biz for video production and $232.17 at Lowe’s.

Most Questions for Torres-Walker, Treasurer Go Unanswered

Questions were emailed to Torres-Walker Friday afternoon asking if the $2,467.20 was transferred from the previous campaign committee to the new one and the treasurer merely forget to include that amount. The reports don’t show any accrued expenses so, they were asked how the campaign could have spent more than brought it and were one or more contributions not included in the latest report.

The following information and questions were also emailed to Torres-Walker who forwarded them to her campaign treasurer, Chala Bonner.

“It appears you’re either missing a 460 report for your Tamisha Walker for Antioch City Council District 1 2022 campaign committee for 07/01 – 09/24/22 or you failed to report three large contributions on your Form 460 report for your new Reelect Tamisha Torres-Walker committee. Did you submit a 460 for that previous committee for that time period and the city clerk’s office just forgot to upload it?

Plus, you have two different Form 497 reports showing $4,900 each from Lift Up Contra Costa PAC. Is that the same contribution and you changed the report to reflect it was received by your new committee, instead? Or did both committees receive those same amounts?”

Torres-Walker was also asked if she was operating both committees. When reached Friday evening about 6:00 PM, Bonner said the first committee was closed down and they’re only operating the new campaign committee and that she was responding to the emailed questions. However, as of 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Bonner had not responded.

An additional email was sent to Torres-Walker Friday night pointing out an additional $1,000 contribution reported on a 497 form on July 1, 2022, but not included in her Form 460 report for that time period. She was asked if there are any other contributions and expenditures that are missing from her campaign finance reports and asked to have her treasurer provide the correct information and updated 460 report(s) right away.

Torres-Walker was then asked if the information was being intentionally withheld from the public and her challengers, is it a lack of oversight or just incompetence. She was also asked, if her treasurer is an accountant, a bookkeeper or just a friend helping the councilwoman or has she paid Bonner and that expenditure is also missing from one or more of the Form 460 reports. No payments to Bonner for serving as the campaign treasurer have been reported.

Finally, Torres-Walker was asked, if she can’t handle such small dollar finance in her campaign how can the public trust her to handle the millions of dollars of taxpayer money she votes on as a council member. As of publication time at 4:35 p.m., neither she nor Bonner responded.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Torres-Walker, Wilson get big support from network of Oakland- and SF-based left-wing special interest groups, out-of-town donors

Friday, November 4th, 2022

The re-election campaigns for incumbent Antioch Councilwomen Tamisha Torres-Walker and Monica Wilson have received a huge boost in support from out-of-town special interests.

$22,202 for each candidate funded mainly by self-described unrepentant liberal from the 60’s Lafayette investment consultant and billionaire’s daughter from Atherton

By Allen D. Payton

Incumbent Antioch Councilwomen Monica Wilson and Tamisha Torres-Walker’s campaigns for re-election have been beneficiaries of major independent expenditures in the amount totaling $21,776 during this year’s elections. According to campaign finance disclosure reports, known as Forms 460 and 497, Oakland-based Lift Up Contra Costa Action, a Project of Tides Advocacy, PAC spent $20,426 for “canvassing” or door-to-door campaigning for each of the two candidates, plus another $1,776 each for “walkcards” which are fliers distributed door-to-door.

That brings the total to $44,404 that the organization has spent in Antioch as of the end of the most recent filing period on October 22, 2022. Lift Up Contra Costa Action paid $40,852 to another Oakland-based organization, ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment) Action for the canvassing and BaughmanMerrill in San Francisco was paid $3,552 for printing the walkcards. ACCE’s leaders, members and attorney spoke during council meetings advocating for the city’s rent stabilization ordinance which both councilwomen voted for and have highlighted on their campaign websites. (See related article)

According to Lift Up Contra Costa Action’s website, the organization also supported Diana Becton in her re-election campaign, earlier this year and receives major funding from Sandor Straus. This year, he contributed $66,000 to the organization, while Elizabeth Simons of Atherton contributed $20,000. She also contributed the maximum $4,900 directly to Torres-Walker’s campaign. Another $30,001 was contributed by Progressive Era PAC of San Francisco, $25,000 by the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 Candidate PAC, and $5,000 was contributed to Lift Up Contra Costa by Oakland-based Bay Rising Action Committee sponsored by Center for Empowered Politics which also contributed $1,000 directly to Wilson’s campaign (See related article)

According to TransparencyUSA.org, of the almost $700,000 raised by the Progressive Era PAC most of their funds were received by nine individuals, including $250,000 from Eva K. Grove, the wife of former Intel chairman, Andrew Grove and $200,000 from M. Quinn Delaney. According to Influence Watch, Delaney “is a philanthropist, fundraiser, and major donor to left-of-center causes and Democratic politicians. In 2000, Delaney and her husband, real estate mogul Wayne Jordan, Delaney co-founded the Akonadi Foundation, a left-of-center racial justice grantmaking group primarily.” In addition, “Starting in 2018, Delaney was part of a four-person Democratic mega donor group in California that supported prosecutor candidates who committed to increasing leniency in prosecutions, including Chesa Boudin in San Fransisco and George Gascon in Los Angeles.”

Additional funding for the Progressive ERA PAC includes $85,000 from Karen Grove, chair of The Grove Foundation, founded by her father Andrew Grove. Also, according to Influence Watch, “The foundation is primarily a grantmaking organization[2] and makes millions of dollars in grants annually to many organizations, including funding many of the nation’s most notable left-leaning groups such as the ACLUPlanned Parenthood, and Everytown for Gun Safety[3] The Packard Foundation, a prominent left-leaning foundation, has provided funding to the Grove Foundation.” [4] Ms. Grove is also president of the Grove Action Fund which, according to Influence Watch, is the “lobbying and election-advocacy arm” of the foundation which “donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to various left-leaning organizations and fund at least one left-leaning political organization that supports liberal candidates in state races.” [2]

Ms. Grove is also a board member for the Groundswell Fund which, according to Influence Watch, is a “’pass through’ grantmaking organization that funds advocacy and direct-services groups working on reproductive issues—especially those that advocate for increased access to abortion for minority groups—and transgender interests.” Finally, according to the Groundswell Fund’s website, Ms. Grove “is a board member and former board chair of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. She is an advisory board member for the California Donor Table, and an active member of Voices for Progress, Way to Win, and the Women Donors Network.”

According to Influence Watch, “Tides Advocacy (formerly The Tsunami Fund, The Advocacy Fund, and the Tides Advocacy Fund) is a left-of-center advocacy organization associated with the Tides Nexus, a collection of center-left pass-through funders and fiscal sponsorship nonprofits grouped around the Tides Foundation. While Tides Advocacy has disavowed any affiliation with the Tides Foundation and Tides Center (the fiscal sponsorship arm of the Tides Nexus), it maintains close connections with the other Tides organizations through its leadership and board of directors. Tides Advocacy received $23.8 million in funding from the Tides Foundation between 2013 and 2018.

“The Tides Advocacy has been described as an organization that ‘washes’ away the paper trail between its grants and the original donor.[1] Tides Founder Drummond Pike stated, ‘Anonymity is very important to most of the people we work with.’ [2]

“Tides Advocacy is the sole 501(c)(4) social welfare organization in the Tides Nexus and focuses on the creation, financing, and consultation of various left-of-center organizations.”

Also, according to Influence Watch, Sandor Straus, of Lafayette, “is a California-based mathematician and financial investment consultant who is a major donor to Democratic Party candidates and affiliated organizations in the United States. [1] A former campaigner for the left-wing insurgent 1968 Presidential candidacy of U.S. Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-MN), Straus is also a major contributor to progressive-left immigration, social policy, and environmental organizations.”

According to the website for The Marine Mammal Center for which he serves as Board Treasurer, Straus “is President of the Firedoll Foundation, a private foundation founded by himself and his wife Faye” which, according to the non-profit’s website was “founded by two unrepentant liberals from the 60’s”.

According to Influence Watch, Elizabeth “Liz” Simons “is the daughter of billionaire retired hedge fund manager and Democratic political donor James Simons and the wife of Mark Heising, the founder of Medley Partners and chair of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Simons has promoted a number of left-of-center education policies. Simons also founded Stretch to Kindergarten, an early childhood education program. Simons is the chair of the Heising-Simons Foundation, an organization she formed with her husband in 2007 that supports a variety of left-of-center environmentalist, education, and social policy causes.”

According to the Heising-Simons Foundation website, Liz Simons currently serves on the boards of The Foundation for a Just Society – which “advances the rights of women, girls, and LGBTQI people and promotes gender and racial justice,” the left-of-center Smart Justice California, another project of Tides Advocacy, and the Learning Policy Institute. According to Influence Watch, the “Learning Policy Institute (LPI) is an education research and policy advocacy group that focuses on diversity and equity outcomes. It is a proponent of ‘deeper learning,’ an educational approach that rejects traditional methods such as rote memorization of facts in favor of ‘real-world problem-solving skills.’ The emphasis is instead placed on conflict-resolution, ‘self-management,’ and ‘a sense of community responsibility.’ [1] During the push to reopen in-person schooling following the COVID-19 pandemic, LPI was a vocal proponent of mask mandates, contact tracing, and vaccination of children aged 12 and older.”

Wilson has served 10 years and Torres-Walker has served two years on the city council. The election is next Tuesday, November 8.

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Wilson, Torres-Walker sign No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge in their fruitless, costly war on oil, gas drilling, pipeline in Antioch

Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

Antioch District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson (left) and District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker have signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge.

Tout their efforts but accomplished little to nothing, resulting in pipeline owner suing city; pledge symbolic as gas and oil companies rarely if ever contribute to Antioch candidates

By Allen D. Payton

According to the NoFossilFuelMoney.org website, both incumbent Antioch Councilwomen Monica Wilson in District 4 and Tamisha Torres-Walker in District 1 signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge, this year. None of their challengers signed the pledge which is mainly symbolic as rarely if ever do oil or gas companies contribute to Antioch City Council candidates.

The pledge reads, “I pledge not to take contributions over $200 from oil, gas, and coal industry executives, lobbyists, and PACs and instead prioritize the health of our families, climate, and democracy over fossil fuel industry profits.”

On the website it explains, “Taking the pledge means that a politician and their campaign will adopt a policy to not knowingly accept any contributions over $200 from the PACs, lobbyists, or SEC-named executives of fossil fuel companies — companies whose primary business is the extraction, processing, distribution, or sale of oil, gas, or coal.”

As part of her efforts against oil and gas, earlier this year, Wilson was able to convince a majority of councilmembers to approve a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the city, which she and Torres-Walker both tout as an accomplishment on their re-election campaign websites.

Bob Nunn is the only owner of oil and gas drilling rights inside Antioch, and whose company is drilling for oil just outside the city limits along Deer Valley Road. Yet, when Wilson, following the lead of the Brentwood City Council, was pushing for a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in Antioch, neither she nor city staff contacted or informed Nunn of the item being on the council agenda each time it was discussed and ultimately voted on. However, the vote did little to nothing as the moratorium doesn’t prevent Nunn from exercising his rights to drill in Antioch. Plus, he said there were no plans, anyway as previous efforts proved to be dry holes.

In addition, last year the councilwomen were joined by Mayor Lamar Thorpe in voting against the renewal of the franchise agreement for the low-pressure, natural gas pipeline that runs through the city. Torres-Walker flip flopped in her voting after supporting renewal of the agreement just a month prior. (See related article)

As a result, the pipeline owner, California Resources Production Corporation sued the city. CA RESOURCES PRODUCTION VS ANTIOCH | Court Records – UniCourt

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Raising most of her money outside of Antioch Wilson leads in campaign cash over Ogorchock, White in Antioch’s District 4 council race

Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

Incumbent Monica Wilson (left) is facing challengers (L-R) Lori Ogorchock, Sandra White and Shawn Pickett in this year’s Antioch City Council District 4 election.

Also spent over half her funds outside city; Pickett in distant fundraising fourth; mistakes found in Wilson’s, White’s reports

By Allen D. Payton

As of the end of the most recent campaign finance reporting period on October 22, 2022, incumbent District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson, who formed her committee and begun fundraising in 2021, led the pack of four candidates having raised over $29,400 for her re-election campaign, followed by District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock with a little over $24,500 and Sandra White with $20,400 of which $18,600 were loans from herself. Newcomer Shawn Pickett’s latest campaign finance report, known as a Form 460 shows he had raised about $4,400 including $1,500 in loans from himself. Candidates are only required to report details of contributions and expenditures of $100 or more.

Wilson Backed by Unions, Developers, Garbage Company, Radical Leftists

Wilson received most of her campaign funds and so far, has spent over half of them outside the city. Her Form 460 reports show the incumbent had raised $27,348.36 this year and $4,475 last year for a total of $31,823.36 and had spent $27,007.32 on her re-election campaign. Wilson’s largest contributions includes the maximum amount of $4,900 from Pleasanton-based Contra Costa United Working Families Political Action Committee. Her latest Form 460 shows the contribution reported twice which her treasurer, Jordan Eldridge said was a mistake and he would correct it. See her reports, here: MWilson 2020 460 0101-063021   MWilson 2022 460 0101-063022   MWilson 2022 460 0701-092422   MWilson 2022 460 0701-123121   MWilson 2022 460 0925-102222

Another oversight in Wilson’s reports is a $2,500 contribution from Republic Services of Pacheco, the garbage company that services Antioch, which was not included. According to a company representative the check was mailed on February 28, 2022 and received by the campaign sometime in March. The contribution should have been included in the report dated Jan. 1 – June 30, 2022. That increases Wilson’s contributions to $29,423.36 through Oct. 22, 2022.

She also received $4,500 from the Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 104, $2,500 from State Treasurer Fiona Ma’s re-election campaign committee, $2,250 from Plumbing Industry Consumer Protection Fund, United Association, Local 159, $2,000 from I.B.E.W. (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) 302 Community Candidates PAC, $1,500 from Irvine-based Richland Investments, developers of the 1,100-home The Ranch project in the Sand Creek area for which Wilson voted in favor; $1,000 from DeNova Homes, developer of the Aviano community in the Sand Creek area which she also voted for, $1,000 from the re-election campaign committee Contra Costa Community College Board Ward 3 Trustee and Martinez resident, Rebecca Barret, $1,000 from political campaign consultant Melody Howe Weintraub of Pleasant Hill, another $1,000 from Olivia Sears of San Francisco, $700 from Lucia Albers of Brentwood, listed as Project Manager of Albers Ranch and is land developer of The Olive Grove senior housing community in the Sand Creek area;$600 from D.A. Diana Becton, $500 each from the Laborers International Union of North American Local 342, UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers) Western States Council Candidates PAC, then-Suisun Mayor and now-State Assemblywoman Lori Wilson and Ahmos Netanel of Pacfic Palisades, Chief Executive Officer with the California Massage Therapy Council; and $400 from Sunflower Alliance of Richmond which is opposed to oil and gas drilling in the county.

Wilson also received $1,000 from Oakland-based Bay Rising Action Committee sponsored by Center for Empowered Politics. According to their website, “Bay Rising Action is a grassroots political network that champions strong leaders representing our racial, economic, and environmental justice movements and builds the political power of working-class, immigrant, Black, Latinx, and Asian communities.” According to the Center for Empowered Politics website, “In 2017, Chinese Progressive Association Action Fund and San Francisco Rising Action Fund merged to form the Center for Empowered Politics.” According to Influence Watch, “The Chinese Progressive Association is a left-wing community organizing group focusing on the Chinese-American communities that grew out of radical-left and pro-People’s Republic of China cadres. [7] CPA has faced accusations of aligning with the People’s Republic of China government and has received favorable coverage from the Chinese Communist Party-affiliated news outlet China Daily.” [8] [9]

Of her individual contributions, Wilson received $18,008.42 from outside of Antioch, including from Brentwood, Pittsburg, Concord, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Hercules, San Pablo, Richmond, Rio Vista, Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, Tiburon, Healdsburg, Los Altos, San Jose, Mountain View, Belmont, Pomona, Inglewood and from as far away as St. Paul, Minnesota and Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Only $2,090.16 was from Antioch residents including $600 from David McCully who is listed as retired, $300 from homeless advocate Nichole Gardner and $250 from Mayor Lamar Thorpe who has endorsed Wilson’s re-election bid.

Of the campaign funds Wilson spent, almost 75% was outside the city including $10,700 with Belleci Signs and Apparel in Pittsburg, $6,975.96 at Copyworld, Inc. in Berkeley, $864 for signs with My Campaign Store in Louisville, Kentucky, $769.27 with Honey Bucket Portable Restrooms of Pittsburg, $535 with Message Framer in Richmond for designing her literature, $500 with Tacos El Rulis in Brentwood and $500 with Eldridge Political Partners in San Jose, which provided services as her campaign treasurer. Wilson did spend some campaign funds in Antioch including $1,562.50 for a fundraiser at Monica’s Riverview, $420 with Photography by Tish, $283.62 with FastSigns, $225 with Destiny Iwouma for DJ services and $205.93 at Target and Office Depot, plus she contributed $250 to Thorpe’s Stop the Karen Recall committee. She spent an additional $800 with Agape Design but provided no address for the business.

Wilson’s reports show she had $7,951.62 cash on hand available for spending during the final two weeks of the campaign. But that amount should be $9,451.62 with the additional $2,500 contribution from Republic Services not yet reported.

Ogorchock Backed by Developers, Police Officers, Garbage Company

Ogorchock’s Form 460 reports show she had raised $10,325, this year, but had an ending cash balance from her previous campaign committee of $14,201.52 for a total of $24,526.52 available to spend and had spent $16,524.61 in her campaign. See her reports, here: L Ogorchock ACC 2020 460 0101-063021   L Ogorchock ACC 2020 460 0701-123121   L Ogorchock ACC 2022 460 0101-063022   L Ogorchock ACC 2022 460 0701-092422   L Ogorchock ACC 2022 460 0925-102222

Her largest contributions included $2,500 from the Antioch Police Officers Association, $2,500 from Republic Services of Pacheco; $2,000 from GBN Partners of Danville, land developers of the Promenade new home projects in the Sand Creek area; $1,000 from Munni Food Inc IHOP of Fairfield, $1,000 from Antioch resident Laura Garrow, $500 from Antioch business owner Michael Gabrielson, $500 from Lucia Albers of Brentwood, land developer of The Olive Grove senior housing community in the Sand Creek area; and another $500 from the California Apartment Association.

She received $3,050 from Antioch residents and $450 from individuals from outside the city.

Ogorchock’s largest expenditures include $7,375 with Antioch-based Del Rey Advertising (owned by this reporter) for Highway 4 digital billboard, cable TV and livestream advertising, $4,995 with Pacific Printing in San Jose for literature, $838.71 with the Lone Tree Golf and Event Center for a fundraiser, $600 on advertising with EastCountyToday.net, $400 with Cedric Cheng Design in Concord, $333.84 with The Print Club in Antioch for more literature, $283.62 with Fast Signs of Antioch and $264.48 with Trident Consulting in Brentwood for website work.

Ogorchock had $2,346.03 left on hand to spend for the remainder of her campaign.

White Loans Her Campaign Over $18,600

According to her Form 460 financial reports, in her second bid for city council in District 4, Sandra White had raised $1,753.48 and loaned her campaign $18,634.41 for a total of $20,387.89 available to spend and had spent $9,159.34. That left her $11,280.55 remaining on hand to spend during the final weeks of the campaign. However, those last two figures are incorrect, as a $1,500 payment to Mesa Outdoor of Danville for Highway 4 digital billboard advertising on Oct.16th is not listed on her latest Form 460. See her reports, here: Sandra G White ACC D4 2022 460 0701-092422 amended   Sandra G White ACC D4 2022 460 0925-102222 amended

Of her reportable contributions of $100 or more $1,703.48 came from within Antioch with her largest individual contribution of $1,200 from Phillip Lubina, a pharmacist in Antioch.

White’s largest expense was with Mail Stream in Concord for $3,786.65 on a mailer, $1,690.62 with Fast Signs of Antioch, then $1,500 with Mesa Outdoor of Danville, $772.91 with Katysites of Katy, Texas for her campaign website, $725 paid to her treasurer and Antioch resident, Lindsey Amezcua, $313.97 at Staples in Pleasant Hill, $289.27 with Office Depot in Antioch, $253.74 with Siclics Screen Printing and Embroidery in Antioch and $195 with Black Jewel Images, Inc. of Antioch.

Pickett Raises Least Amount

Shawn Pickett had raised $2,926.25 and loaned his campaign $1,507.64 for a total of $4,433.89 available to spend and had spent $2,274.25 leaving him with $2,159.64 remaining to spend on his campaign. See his reports, here: Pickett 4 Council 460 0701-092422   Pickett 4 Council 460 0925-102222

Pickett’s largest contributions were $1,000 from Sandra Brown of Hayward who is listed as retired, and another $1,000 from self-employed computer tech Tim Mayor of Fresno, followed by $500 from Fairfield resident and teacher, Tessa Threets, and $200 from within Antioch, including $100 each from a relative and another resident.

Pickett wins the prize for receiving the contribution from furthest away with $200 from former Antioch resident Kathleen Gunther now of Leesberg, Virginia, who is listed as retired.

Like Wilson, most of his funds were spent outside of Antioch with $1,756 on campaign signs, banner and fliers at Leftside Printing in Richmond which Pickett said is owned by a friend.

The election is next Tuesday, November 8th.

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Newcomer King faces longtime Antioch officeholder, incumbent Rocha in school board race

Saturday, October 29th, 2022

Dominique King is challenging Trustee Mary Rocha for Antioch School Board Area 5 in this year’s elections. Sources: King campaign, Rocha campaign

King backed by Garamendi, Becton, Thorpe, Wilson, Torres-Walker, Hernandez

Rocha backed by Torlakson, DeSaulnier, McNerney, district teacher, employee and other unions, APOA

By Allen D. Payton

In the only race for the Antioch School Board in this year’s elections, incumbent Trustee Mary Rocha is facing challenger Dominique King for the Area 5 seat. Rocha has served on both the Antioch School Board and Antioch City Council, including one term as mayor, for 36 out of the past 51 years, while this is King’s first run for public office in Antioch.

King’s Background

Dominique and Kenneth King with their daughters. Source: King campaign

A member of the Antioch Parks and Recreation Commission, according to her campaign website, King was homeless and dropped out of high school at age 15 but “graduated from Job Corps at 16 and immediately went to work”. She is married to Kenneth, a deputy sheriff, and they have three children including two attending Antioch Middle School where she serves on the site council. According to her LinkedIn profile, the Kings  are business owners having started Lean In With The Kings in 2019 in which their “mission is to educate couples and families on how to foster healthy relationships”. She used to own 2Spoons, LLC which was started in 2014 and since 2016 King has been a consultant with Arbonne, a natural health supplements and skin care products company. Since last October she has worked  as a columnist for the Concord Clayton Pioneer newspaper and as of April, is also as a freelance columnist for the online PR Now Magazine. In addition, King earned an Associate’s degree in International Business from Los Medanos College.

King’s Issues

King says she will “fight to make sure: (1) children have safe, supported learning environments and access to high-quality education; (2) teachers and staff have the tools to meet the growing demands of our diverse community; (3) families feel connected to our neighborhood schools; (4) we embrace technical training and education, not just college preparation; and (5) we build appropriate support systems for all at-risk youth.”

She is quoted saying, “As a community, we have the opportunity to change the narrative and conditions of our schools. Antioch Public Schools should be the first choice for families.”

King’s Endorsements

King touts the backing of Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Councilwomen Monica Wilson and Tamisha Torres-Walker, AUSD Area 1 Trustee Antonio Hernandez, Congressman John Garamendi, District Attorney Diana Becton, Contra Costa College Board Ward 4 Trustee Andy Li, Antioch Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Marie Arce, Contra Costa Water District Board Member Patt Young and the East Bay Women’s Political Alliance. She’s also endorsed by the Democratic Party of California and Contra Costa and the Contra Costa Young Democrats – interjecting partisan politics into a local, non-partisan race – and Our Revolution East Bay, the local chapter of self-avowed democratic socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sander’s Our Revolution. In addition, King was given the label of Gun Sense Candidate 2022 by Moms Demand Action.

Questions for King Go Unanswered

King was asked about her background, including “Where did you grow up and experience homelessness? When were you appointed to the Parks and Recreation Commission? Is this your first run for public office? If not, what else have you run for previously, and where?”

She was also asked, “As part of your platform that ‘children have safe, supported learning environments’ do you support having police serve as School Resource Officers (SRO’s) at Antioch’s middle and high school campuses? As part of your platform that, ‘we embrace technical training and education, not just college preparation’ and as a business owner, yourself, do you also support teaching entrepreneurship in the high schools? What specifically do you propose for improving math and English test scores, mainly for Black and Hispanic students in the district?”

Regarding her endorsements, King was asked, “why have you chosen to interject partisan politics into a race for what is supposed to be non-partisan office? Also, in light of the recent settlement of the sexual harassment lawsuit against Mayor Thorpe, why do you still tout his endorsement and the endorsement by Patt Young who claims his two former female employees were not credible? What message do you think that sends to the female students in the district’s schools and the women who work for AUSD? Regarding your endorsement by Our Revolution East Bay, which is part of self-avowed democratic socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ national organization, do you consider yourself a socialist? If so, what does that mean to you?”

Regarding concerns expressed by some Antioch residents King was asked if she supports the teaching of Critical Race Theory and/or the 1619 Project version of U.S. history in Antioch schools, and does she have any plans or made any commitments to make a change in the position of superintendent.

Finally, King was asked if she supports charter schools and school choice in general to bring competition to public education, which in the private sector results in improved products and services.

After multiple attempts to reach King by phone call, email and text for this article she did not respond.

See a video by King about herself, her family and campaign on her Facebook page.

Rocha’s Background & Accomplishments

AUSD Trustee Mary Rocha with her son, then-Antioch High Principal Louie Rocha during this year’s graduation ceremony. Herald file photo.

Rocha’s campaign touts her experience as one reason to re-elect her. Having first started out as a volunteer in the Antioch school district in the 1970’s she was first elected to the Antioch School Board in 1971. Through her efforts the Special Education Department expanded from 100 to 1,200 students. Governor Jerry Brown appointed Rocha to the Special Education Commission and served for four years. She was the founding member of the Mexican American School Board Association and the National Hispanic School Board Association serving as president for both.

Rocha was elected to the Antioch City Council in 1984 being the first elected Latina in Contra Costa County. She served as a council member for eight years and was elected Mayor of Antioch in 1996 and served for years during which Rocha was elected by the Contra Costa County Mayors Conference of as the chairperson. In 2000, She was the top Primary Election candidate in the race for District 5 Supervisor but lost to Federal Glover in the General.

Rocha was elected to the city council, again in 2012 and served one term. Rocha was then elected, again to the school board in 2018.

She has over 30 years’ experience as a community organizer and activist concerning family and children’s issues in East County. Mary was the founder of Brighter Beginnings and coordinator of the Antioch First 5 Center facility providing services to families with children 0-5 years of age.

In her biography on the school district’s website Rocha writes, “While education is my platform – it is also my passion. I’m driven by my admiration for students and their families. I’ve raised three children in Antioch. They all attended Antioch Unified District schools. And now, my grandchildren are following in their successful footsteps. I want the same for your children.”

Rocha’s Honors

Rocha was a recipient of the “Maya Citizen of the Year”, the Los Medanos College Cesar Chavez Award and the League of United Latino American Citizens (LULAC) “Eagle Award” for her hard work with the Latino community. She was recognized as one of the “Women of the Year” by the CCC Commission for Women.

In recognition of her over 30 years of services as an advocate for low-cost day care, the “Mary H. Rocha Child Development Center” was dedicated in honor. The center houses 150 children with state funds run by the YWCA.

Rocha was recently selected to be honored in a book entitled, “Mujeres de Conciencia” (Women of Conscience) about 68 Latinas who have successfully impacted the wellbeing of California Latinos.

Rocha’s Issues

In a video posted on her campaign Facebook page Rocha said, “I continue to be committed to parent engagement, your involvement, safety for our children and teachers, and social and emotional health, and academic support for our children.”

She voted in 2020 for the six School Resource Officers to work at the district’s middle and high schools, before the current council majority voted to rescind the acceptance of the federal grant. Rocha still wants them.

Rocha voted against the Rocketship charter school and the middle and high school charter schools that considered opening in Antioch and shows another video on her campaign Facebook page by a teacher and union member touting her opposition to “corporate charters”.

In yet another video Rocha claims Rocketship is costing the district $35 million because “our administration has to oversee the policies and their budget”. Besides the budget her other top issues are campus safety and parental involvement.

Rocha’s Endorsements

Rocha says she has the endorsements of former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Congressmen Mark DeSaulnier and Jerry McNerney, Antioch Teachers AEA, Antioch School Employees CSEA, Antioch Principals and Administrators AMA, Contra Costa Central Labor Council, Contra Costa Building and Construction Trades Council, SEIU Local 2015 and the Antioch Police Officers Association.

Rocha Responds to Questions

Rocha was asked for her main accomplishments as a school board member. She responded, “First of all I was elected in 2018 and in my four years we dealt as a Board with the COVID virus making sure we provided enough computers for distant learning and helping staff gear up to a different way of teaching.  My key priorities were to ensure the health and safety of our students and employees, provide social, emotional counseling and academic intervention services with the goal of improved student outcomes for all students while maintaining a fiscally responsible school district budget. I was able to support the replacements of vice principals and increase counselors.”

Rocha was also what will she specifically do to improve the math and English test scores, of mainly Black and Hispanic students in the district. She responded, “The District’s 2021-22 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) aligns resources to meet students’ needs which spells out, retain teaching staff, and attract staff in math, science and special education; expand programs for wellness and reading intervention. Their goals are put together with parents’ involvement to reduce the achievement gap for high needs students and ensure all students are accessing learning at the highest levels. The Board reviews their outcome.”

Asked if she supports teaching entrepreneurship in AUSD high schools “Yes. We have 20 academies in our district that include Career Technical Business Education. In media, they learn as a business, web-based and mobile applications, games, films and other integrated media,” Rocha shared. “Business Tech Academy curriculum is focused on a business theme that integrates standard based classes and career technical education classes.”

Finally, Rocha was asked what other plans she has for her next term if re-elected. She responded, “The extra money that we have received from the state will sunset with in the next three years I want to be there to continue to fund those programs that have made a difference for our students. I would also like to hire Reading Specialists in the middle schools. My hope is to establish community schools linking resources so the whole family can be addressed and support family engagement.”

“I have valuable knowledge and experience in developing fiscally responsible budgets for the Antioch Unified School District and City of Antioch as an elected official. I am committed to keeping students and families at the forefront of all decisions. I invite you to join me in working together for improved outcomes for all students,” Rocha added.

For more information about Dominique King and her campaign visit www.dominiquelking.com and for or more information about Mary Rocha and her campaign visit www.facebook.com/MaryRocha4Antioch. The election is November 8th.

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Voter registration deadline for the General Election is Monday

Friday, October 21st, 2022

In order to be sent an Official Ballot by mail; voters can still register in person until and on Election Day

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

Debi Cooper, County Clerk-Recorder & Registrar of Voters, reminds voters that the close of registration for the upcoming November 8, 2022 General Election is Monday, October 24th.   “This is the deadline for voters to register in order to be sent an Official Ballot by mail.  After this date, voters can still register, but they will be required to register and vote in person.”

Register to Vote:

Voters can conveniently register to vote online at https://registertovote.ca.gov or complete a voter registration card, which is available at most post offices, city halls, and libraries throughout the County.  Online registration must be completed before midnight on October 24th.  Paper registration cards must be postmarked by October 24th. 

To be eligible to vote in this election, a registered voter must be a U.S. Citizen, at least 18 years of age by Election Day, a resident of the state, and not currently serving a state or federal prison term for the conviction of a felony.  You must update your registration if you have moved, legally changed your name, or changed your party.

Be sure you are registered!  Check your voter registration status online at www.contracostavote.gov by clicking on the “My Voting Information” button.

After October 24th, there is not sufficient time to mail and return ballots, so voters will be required to register and vote in person at; the Elections Division in Martinez, one of the County’s early voting sites, or a polling place on Election Day. Cooper’s advice: “Register early so you will receive a ballot in the mail. If you choose to vote in-person, having a current registration will speed up the process at your polling place on Election Day.”

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