Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Redistricting maps created by public again not included in Antioch Council agenda for Tuesday night’s public hearing

Monday, January 10th, 2022

New publicly submitted redistricting maps for the Antioch City Council split the north side of Highway 4 among three districts (left – now known as Map 95) and all four districts (right – now known as Map 99) but are two of three maps submitted by members of the public that are not included with Tuesday night’s public hearing agenda item.

By Allen Payton

Three maps drawn and submitted by the public for the Antioch City Council’s redistricting process in December, since their last meeting on the 14th, are not included with the public hearing agenda item for Tuesday night’s meeting. Copies of two of the maps and statistics obtained by the Herald were sent Friday afternoon, to all five council members, city staff and staff of Q2 Data and Research, the consultant hired to assist in the process.

In addition, they were asked if they had received the maps, if there were any other maps submitted since the last council meeting on Dec. 14. They were also asked, if there were additional maps submitted, why they aren’t included for tomorrow night’s discussion, why they aren’t on the City’s redistricting webpage, and what is the process for a map created by a member of the public to be included in the council’s public hearings and on posted on the webpage.

It’s not clear when the maps were submitted by the public. Because the map labeled #58, was created and submitted by this reporter in November, but it’s dated Dec. 13 and map #87 is dated Dec. 17 but it one of the five publicly submitted maps included in the discussion during the public hearing on Dec 14. (See Draft Maps)

This is the second time maps submitted by the public – long before the council agenda was issued – were not included in the meeting agenda packet. The five maps submitted by the public before the Dec. 14 meeting weren’t included for the public hearing that night. However, by that afternoon, Q2 staff had included the publicly submitted maps on the City’s redistricting webpage and Mayor Lamar Thorpe included them in the discussion during the public hearing, that night. (See related articles here and here)

Attempts on Monday to reach Jane Hood of Q2 asking her the same questions sent on Friday, were unsuccessful prior to publication time. 4:40 P.M. UPDATE: “All maps are posted on the website – the new ones are 91, 95 and 99,” Hood shared. However, they’re located under Public Map Submissions.

Antioch Redistricting Public Submission Map #91.

User Comments on Three New Publicly Submitted Maps

For Map 91 the online mapping tool’s user didn’t offer any comments. It is just slightly different than map 87. For Map 95, the one on the left at the top of this article, the User Comments are: “It results in three council members representing the waterfront instead of just one. It also serves to more unify the city between older parts and newer parts instead of dividing it like the current districts do with just one district north of Highway 4. It also combines the Mira Vista Hills area south of James Donlon Blvd. with the older areas north of James Donlon Blvd. and the newer area west of Somersville Road which is more of a Community of Interest.” For Map 99, the User Comments are: “This map gives each council member a portion of both sides of Highway 4
and a share of the waterfront using major city streets as boundary lines.”

Antioch Redistricting Public Submission Map #95.

Ogorchock Responds to Questions

District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock was the only council member to respond to the Herald’s questions. She wrote, “I’ve not seen these maps until now. I’m not sure as to why there not part of the presentation. Good question. I can tell you I’m not for either one of them. Thank you for sharing.”

Antioch Redistricting Public Map #99.

Attend or View Council Meeting

The redistricting public hearing is item 1 on Tuesday night’s council meeting agenda, which begins at 7:05 p.m.

The meeting will be held in-person in the Council Chambers at 200 H Street and are televised live on Comcast channel 24, AT&T U-verse channel 99, or live stream at

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:
  2. Provide oral public comments during the meeting by clicking the following link to register in advance to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar:

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

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

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Rep. DeSaulnier announces re-election campaign for California’s new 10th Congressional District

Sunday, January 9th, 2022

The newly drawn California 10th Congressional District. Source: Rep. Mark DeSaulnier. Official photo.

Pledges to continue work in Congress for Contra Costa; if re-elected will continue to represent portions of Antioch; lists his endorsements

CONTRA COSTA, CA – The DeSaulnier for Congress Campaign announced the launch of the congressman’s re-election effort for California’s newly drawn 10th Congressional district, as approved by the California Citizens’ Redistricting Commission (CCRC) on Monday, Dec. 20th. Mark DeSaulnier has represented Concord and Contra Costa County in Congress since 2015 and vows to continue to work hard for his constituents, fighting for working families.

Th 10th District encompasses most of Contra Costa County, including Lamorinda, the San Ramon Valley, Concord, Clayton, Clyde, Pacheco, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, and portions of Martinez in Central County, and in East County, Brentwood, Oakley, Bethel Island, Knightsen and portions of Antioch, plus portions of Dublin in Alameda County. DeSaulnier currently represents portions of Antioch and will continue to do so if re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Throughout my time in Congress, my guiding principle has always been this: I work for you,” said Congressman DeSaulnier. “It’s been my honor to represent this area for nearly three decades, on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, in the California State Legislature, and for the past six years as a Member of Congress. My priority has always been serving the people of Contra Costa and making our voices heard during the tough fights, when it matters most.”

DeSaulnier lives in Concord where he raised his two sons, Tristan and Tucker, and opened and operated a small business, TR’s restaurant.

He’s also spent three decades as a public servant: representing his community on the Concord City Council, as Mayor of Concord, as a three-term Contra Costa County Supervisor, in the California State Legislature, and currently as a Member of Congress.

As Supervisor, he served on the California Air Resources Board, the Association of Bay Area Governments, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. He was elected to the State Assembly in 2006 where he served one term and received the distinction of being the first freshman in history to chair the Assembly Transportation Committee. DeSaulnier was elected to two terms in the California State Senate in 2008 and 2012 where he served as Chair of the California State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. During his time in Congress, DeSaulnier has been honored to represent California’s 11th Congressional District including Richmond, El Cerrito, Kensington, and Pittsburg, now in the new 8th District, and looks forward to continuing to serve them in 2022.

Congressman DeSaulnier is running for re-election to fight against the reckless Republican agenda and move our nation forward by:

  • Ensuring every American has access to quality, affordable health insurance and care;
  • Confronting racial injustice;
  • Creating national common sense gun violence reforms;
  • Helping America’s students receive a quality education without being shackled by debt;
  • Protecting Medicare and Social Security;
  • Safeguarding the environment;
  • Overseeing the largest investment in our nation’s infrastructure in modern history, and
  • Ensuring government is accountable to the public.

The campaign is proud to announce the following endorsements:

  • Alex Padilla, United States Senator for California
  • Karen Bass, United States Representative (CA)
  • Jared Huffman, United States Representative (CA)
  • Barbara Lee, United States Representative (CA)
  • Doris Matsui, United States Representative (CA)
  • Eric Swalwell, United States Representative (CA)
  • Mike Thompson, United States Representative (CA)
  • George Miller, Former United States Representative (CA)
  • Rosa DeLauro, United States Representative (CT)
  • Betty T. Yee, California State Controller
  • Ricardo Lara, California Insurance Commissioner
  • Rob Bonta, Attorney General of California
  • Tony Thurmond, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Tom Torlakson, Former California State Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Steve Glazer, California State Senator
  • Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, California State Assemblymember
  • Tim Grayson, California State Assemblymember
  • Diane Burgis, Supervisor, Contra Costa County
  • Federal Glover, Supervisor, Contra Costa County
  • John Gioia, Supervisor, Contra Costa County
  • Karen Mitchoff, Supervisor, Contra Costa County
  • Diana Becton, District Attorney, Contra Costa County
  • Lynn Mackey, Superintendent of Schools, Contra Costa County
  • Holly Tillman, Vice Mayor, City of Clayton
  • Julie Pierce, Former Mayor, City of Clayton
  • Dominic Aliano, Mayor, City of Concord
  • Carlyn Obringer, Council Member, City of Concord
  • Edi E. Birsan, Council Member, City of Concord
  • Tim McGallian, Council Member, City of Concord
  • Newell Arnerich, Mayor, Town of Danville
  • Teresa Gerringer, Mayor, City of Lafayette
  • Susan Candell, Council Member, City of Lafayette
  • Cameron Burks, Former Council Member, City of Lafayette
  • Rob Shroder, Mayor of the City of Martinez
  • Lara DeLaney, Council Member, City of Martinez
  • Mark Ross, Council Member, City of Martinez
  • Dennis Fay, Mayor, City of Orinda
  • Amy R. Worth, Council Member, City of Orinda
  • Inga Miller, Council Member, City of Orinda
  • Kevin Wilk, Council Member, City of Walnut Creek
  • Cindy Darling, Council Member, City of Walnut Creek
  • Michael Harris, Mayor, City of Pleasant Hill
  • Sue Noack, Council Member, City of Pleasant Hill
  • Matthew Rinn, Council Member, City of Pleasant Hill
  • Ken Carlson, Councilmember, City of Pleasant Hill
  • Merl Craft, Council Member, City of Pittsburg
  • Tom Butt, Mayor, City of Richmond
  • Gabriel Quinto, Mayor, City of El Cerrito
  • Lisa Motoyama, Mayor Pro Tem, City of El Cerrito
  • Janet Abelson, Council Member, City of El Cerrito
  • Paul Fadelli, Council Member, City of El Cerrito
  • Rita Xavier, Mayor, City of San Pablo
  • Abel Pineda, Council Member, City of San Pablo
  • Linda Mayo, Trustee, Mt. Diablo Unified School District
  • Mae Torlakson, Vice Chair, Ambrose Recreation and Park District in Bay Point
  • Judy Walters, Ph.D., President, Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board
  • Fernando Sandoval, Vice President, Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board
  • Rebecca Barrett, Board Trustee, Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board
  • Andy Li, Board Trustee, Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board
  • John E. Marquez, Board Trustee, Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board


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So, you want to run for office? Contra Costa Elections to hold Candidate Workshops in Jan. and Feb.

Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

Have you ever considered running for office? Then consider checking out one of Contra Costa Elections Division’s Candidate Workshops.

This engaging workshop is designed to remove the mystery from running for office. Experts will cover what’s involved in running for office, including how to file and appear on the ballot, campaign finance disclosure requirements, strategies for spreading your message (including social media), and what happens when you’re in the public eye.

The first of three workshops will be held on January 18th at the Lafayette Library from 6 pm until 9 pm. Please reserve a free ticket here:

The second of three workshops will be held on January 29th at the Richmond Civic Auditorium from 9 am until 12 pm. Please reserve a free ticket here:

The last of three workshops will be held on February 2nd at the Antioch Community Center at Prewett Park from 6 pm until 9 pm. Please reserve a free ticket here:

If you have any questions, please contact Karen Tedford at 925-335-7863 or by email at


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Analysis: with redistricting Martinez has it best, Brentwood is a close second

Thursday, December 30th, 2021

Source: City of Martinez

Both offer a citizen-driven, transparent process; Martinez council has no say, Brentwood council will only make final choice; Antioch and Richmond get honorable mentions for offering online mapping tools

By Allen Payton

Comparing the redistricting process used by the county supervisors, cities, education boards and special districts in Contra Costa County whose members are elected by district, ward or area, it’s clear that just like the slogan they’ve been using for the past few years, it really is better in Brentwood – than most. But Martinez offers the best process in the county. Both have independent redistricting commissions and offer the same, easy-to-use online mapping tool for the public to draw and submit their own maps. While Brentwood’s process ends with the council only choosing from already completed maps, the Martinez council has no say and takes what their commission gives them.

At least Brentwood’s doing it right, this time. That’s because when the initial districts were drawn and approved in 2019 for the 2020 election and based on the 2010 Census, the Brentwood city council map for Districts 2 and 4 was obviously gerrymandered to benefit one if not more incumbents. Just look at the section of District 2 on the southwest side of the BNSF railroad tracks and you’ll see, that’s surrounded on three sides by District 4. But it really had no effect since those two seats aren’t up for election until next November.

Section of current Brentwood City Council Districts 2 and 4.

Besides Martinez and Brentwood, the following cities and school districts elect their members by district and are undergoing a redistricting process:

Antioch City CouncilDistrict Elections – City of Antioch, California ( online mapping tool

Antioch School Board – Post Census Redistricting / 2020 Census Redistricting ( – No online mapping tool.

Concord City CouncilRedistricting | Concord, CA ( – No online mapping tool, yet. Process started Nov. 2.

Richmond City CouncilRedistricting 2020 Census | Richmond, CA – Official Website – For online mapping tools click on “Draw Map”.

San Ramon City CouncilRedistricting 2022 – City of San Ramon (  – No online mapping tool.  The council will consider final redistricting maps on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Contra Costa Water District – No redistricting page nor online mapping tool. The board was given a redistricting presentation during their Oct. 15 meeting. The next meeting will be held on Jan. 5 with expected completion by March 16.

Contra Costa Community College District – No online mapping tool. See below for process information.

In 2010, both the college board and the Contra Costa County Board of Education adopted the same exact map. But their website doesn’t offer a very detailed map for the public to see in which district they live and which trustee is their representative.

Source: City of Oakley

Oakley Council Converts to District Elections

The Oakley City Council just completed the process of converting to district elections and adopted a five-member map during their meeting on Nov. 9.

Most Gerrymandered Current District Map

So far, the current map in the county with the worst, gerrymandered districts I’ve seen is for the Contra Costa Community College District, and as a result of the above, the county Board of Education, too. It combines Lamorinda with Hercules, Rodeo and Crockett in one ward and all of the San Ramon Valley, sans Alamo, in the same ward as Byron and Discovery Bay. Plus, it splits six cities, as well.  Those trustee ward lines were clearly drawn in 2011 to protect the incumbents, at that time.

This year, the college district staff tried to present their board with only one map to consider – drawn by staff and an attorney, with minor changes to the current map, continuing to protect incumbents. Where the current council or board members live is not a required consideration for redistricting. However, it’s understandable why that it would happen since staff members have a conflict of interest and inherent bias in wanting to please their bosses, instead of drawing maps to serve we the people.  (See related article)

Fortunately, the college board wisely directed staff to open up the process for more public input and offer two more proposed maps and an online survey about those choices, although they aren’t offering an online mapping tool.

Current Contra Costa Community College District ward boundaries map approved in 2011. Source: 4CD

Different Deadlines

While school boards have a deadline of March 1, 2022, to complete the process and submit an approved map, city councils have until April 17. The supervisors had to complete their process sooner, because filing for the June Primary election for Districts 1 and 4 opens mid-February and closes mid-March.

While some cities, like Antioch were trying to complete their process by the end of January – which the council just extended by a month – Brentwood’s process, which began Oct. 14 won’t be completed until March 3 and possibly not until March 10.

While congressional redistricting is the most difficult because it requires no more than a one person difference between districts, all other districts can have a maximum of a five percent population deviation from average, referred to as ideal, to be legally acceptable.

Process in Martinez Started First, Includes Independent Commission

Martinez, which began their redistricting process way back in January, has a seven-member independent redistricting commission, not chosen by the council. In August four commissioners were randomly drawn by the Deputy City Clerk from different quadrants in the city. Then those commissioners selected three additional commissioners from a designated pool of applicants. Finally, another random draw was undertaken to determine the two alternates from the remaining pool of qualified applicants.

The commissioners are responsible for drawing council districts in Martinez and held their first meeting on Sept. 22. So, the council has no say. They get what the people give them.

Martinez offers residents an online mapping tool to draw and submit alternative maps, just like the county supervisors’ did, and Brentwood and Antioch offer. While the supervisors’ online tool was easy to use, the tool offered by Martinez and Brentwood is easier. Each of the proposed maps and even the draft maps drawn by members of the public are on the site and can be viewed by anyone.

City of Brentwood 2021-22 redistricting schedule.

Redistricting in Brentwood Better Than Most

Brentwood’s redistricting process also offers residents an online mapping tool. Like Martinez, each of the proposed maps and even the draft maps drawn by members of the public are included on the City’s redistricting website for all to see and review to maximize public input.

The Brentwood city council established an independent, citizens redistricting commission, whose five members and four alternates volunteered and were selected by retired Judge Thelton Henderson – not the mayor and council members – following an application process. All but the last step of the redistricting process was transferred to them. The commission is leading the redistricting process by holding public hearings, reviewing all maps submitted by the public and gathering “community input to ensure everyone’s voice is heard”.

When the commission’s part of the process is complete, it will submit two or more potential boundary maps to the City Council and – here’s the best part – the Council must then select one of the submitted maps – wait for it – without modifying!

Interestingly enough, many of the publicly submitted maps in Brentwood look similar in how best to create new, common-sense districts – drawn based on the principals of compactness, Communities of Interest, using natural and man-made barriers for boundary lines and one-person-one-vote, with the smallest population percentage deviation from average as possible. Unfortunately, some of the maps submitted for the Brentwood City Council process don’t follow the aforementioned principles and can’t be considered because they don’t comply with the maximum population deviation percent requirement.

Honorable Mentions

Both Antioch and Richmond also offer online mapping tools and while Antioch’s has had glitches, it appears those have been worked out. Richmond was using the same tool as Martinez and Brentwood, known as DistrictR. But it has been replaced with Dave’s Redistricting App (DRA) because DistrictR uses population estimates while Dave’s Redistricting App uses the official population. Dave’s is difficult to use.

Richmond also offers Maptitude, which is the same software app used by the consultant to the state Citizens Redistricting Commission. But both require someone to sign up in order to use them. People can use Antioch’s online mapping tool as a guest, which requires the map be drawn all in one setting because it can’t be saved without signing up and logging in.

Other Councils and Boards Should Follow Example of Martinez and Brentwood

I can often be pretty tough on candidates and elected officials in my media role and responsibility of holding them accountable. But I also believe it’s good to praise those who are doing it right.

Neither the council members in Martinez nor Brentwood can make any changes to the final maps, thus, they won’t have any ability to gerrymander their districts to benefit themselves. They’ve empowered the people to have control over choosing who they will have represent them instead of the other way around. Representative government in our republic. Hey, what a concept!

Why don’t all the other boards of government agencies in our county do the same? Martinez and Brentwood are the example for the Board of Supervisors, other city councils, school and college boards to follow for the best way to handle the redistricting process.

The Brentwood City Council should be congratulated for doing it right and the best, when it comes to redistricting, this year.

Hopefully, all the other cities and districts, and the supervisors in Contra Costa will duplicate what Brentwood is doing, 10 years from now, the next time they will redistrict. Actually, they don’t have to wait. Once the current process is completed for the 2022 elections, the other councils and districts will have plenty of time for a redo by the 2024 elections.

Unless that happens, then remember, folks, the district lines approved this time will be in place for the next 10 years. So, while the redistricting process may be technical and dry, the decisions made now can and will affect who we have representing us during that time, and making decisions affecting our lives, homes, schools, businesses, and communities. So, stay informed, engaged and give your input on redistricting.


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Signature gathering for recall of Householder as Antioch City Clerk can begin

Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

Petition approved by deputy city clerk on Monday; second recall Householder faces including possible removal as school board trustee, third in city with Thorpe also facing possible removal as mayor

Antioch City Clerk Ellie Householder.

By Allen Payton

Ellie Householder made local history, last year by becoming the first person to be elected as both an Antioch School Board trustee and a City of Antioch official, when she was elected city clerk. This year, she’s made history, again – as the first person in Antioch to face recall from both positions. On Monday, Deputy City Clerk Christina Garcia, a Certified Municipal Clerk, informed recall proponent, and former Antioch School Board Trustee Diane Gibson-Gray that the petition submitted 10 days ago was approved – on the last legal day required, because Garcia was on vacation, last week. Householder City Clerk Recall Petition Certification Letter -122721 – redacted

The organizers can now begin gathering the necessary 9,521 valid signatures of registered voters in the city to place Householder’s second recall on the ballot. They have 160 days collect them, which gives them until June 6, 2022. However, if enough signatures are gathered sooner, the recall election could be placed on the June Primary Election ballot.

This is the third recall being faced by an Antioch elected official, with signatures already being gathered to remove and replace Mayor Lamar Thorpe, who is Householder’s political ally. The organizers for his recall must have the same 9,521 signatures to place his name on the ballot.

In their message to Householder, the recall proponents included their reasons for the recall on the petition. SUBMITTED-PETITION FOR HOUSEHOLDER CITY CLERK RECALL

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

In addition, the recall supporters provided a timeline of the process for obtaining approval for Thorpe’s recall petition. It took Householder almost two months, from October 11 until Dec. 2nd to approve the petition, on the organizer’s fourth attempt. (See related article).

Timeline of steps taken by organizers in the process for the recall of Antioch Mayar Lamar Thorpe. Source: Lindsey Amezcua

Householder was served with the notice to recall her on Nov. 30 while awaiting Thorpe to arrive for one of his press conferences. She had the opportunity, within 10 days, to provide a written answer in response to the allegations against her on the petition, but like the mayor, she chose not to. (See related article)

Some supporters of the mayor’s recall have speculated that the California Secretary of State’s Office communicated with and directed Householder, in response to the third submittal of the petition by the organizers of the mayor’s recall, to provide more details of what the city clerk’s office was requiring them to do in order to comply.

Householder and Garcia were asked via email Monday night, if that is true and, if so, to provide a copy of the communication between the Secretary of State’s Office and their office. Householder was specifically asked, if not, why did she finally decide to provide those details that she didn’t provide in her first two response letters.

In addition, Householder was asked via email and phone message, Monday night, “now that the petition for your recall as City Clerk has been approved for signature gathering, since you didn’t provide a written ‘Answer’ in response to the recall notice that would have been printed on the petition, as you were allowed, would you like to respond now? What do you want to say to the voters about the multiple allegations against you, written in the petition?”

As of Tuesday morning, at 10:50 a.m., neither of them had responded. An additional attempt to reach Garcia Tuesday morning was also unsuccessful.

A Public Records Act request was made by the Herald to Deputy City Clerk Garcia, for copies of any and all communication between Householder and the California Secretary of State’s Office regarding the recall of Mayor Lamar Thorpe. Garcia has 10 days to provide any document(s) or a reason why they can’t be provided.

Organizers have set up a Facebook page to support their efforts to recall Householder as city clerk.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Congressman Garamendi announces re-election in California’s newly redrawn 8th District which includes northern Contra Costa

Thursday, December 23rd, 2021

The new 8th Congressional District with the portion of Antioch inside the district in red and showing the location of Walnut Grove (right) where Garamendi lives. Source:

Former California State Assemblyman, State Senator, two-time Insurance Commissioner, and Lt. Governor

District includes northern half of Antioch

Rep. John Garamendi. Official photo.

Contra Costa and Solano Counties – Following the release of the final district maps by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission on Monday, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) announced, that day, he is running for re-election in the newly redrawn 8th Congressional District of California. The district now includes most of Solano County and the northern, waterfront portions of Contra Costa County from Antioch to Richmond.

Garamendi has served in Congress since 2009 and represented Contra Costa and Solano Counties during his tenure, which are included in CA-08. Prior to his election to Congress, Garamendi served in the California Assembly and Senate, twice as California’s elected Insurance Commissioner, as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior under President Bill Clinton, and as California’s Lieutenant Governor. Garamendi also served in the Peace Corps with his wife, Patti Garamendi. The two have raised six children who share their commitment to public service. They also have 13 grandchildren.

“The 760,000 residents of the 8th Congressional District want a proven progressive who will fight for them every single day. That’s exactly what I’ve done my entire tenure in Congress, and that’s what I’ll continue to do. That’s why, today, I’m kicking off my re-election campaign for Congress,” Garamendi said.

Although he lives in Walnut Grove, in the newly redrawn 7th Congressional District, where both Representatives Doris Matsui and Ami Bera also live, members of the House of Representatives aren’t required to live in the district they represent. They’re only required to live in the same state. The 76-year-old Garamendi currently represents most of Solano County in the 3rd Congressional District and previously represented Antioch and other portions of Contra Costa County in the then-10th District, from 2009 to 2013.

“When our economy is strong, America is strong. In Congress, I fight every day for a fairer economy that works for middle class families, not just those at the very top,” the congressman stated.

“We know the economy can’t move if people can’t move. That’s why I helped champion the Infrastructure and Jobs Act—the largest investment in our infrastructure ever—and secured an $86 million grant to expand lanes on I-80 and reduce traffic,” Garamendi continued. “We know that a strong middle class is the bedrock of our nation. That’s why I fought for the American Rescue Plan, which combatted the COVID-19 pandemic, created the largest tax cut for the middle class ever, put students safely back in school, and helped create over 6 million new jobs for hardworking families.”

The new 8th Congressional District map. Source:

First elected to public office in 1974 as a member of the State Assembly, then the State Senate in 1976, Garamendi was elected California Insurance Commissioner in 1990. From 1995 to 2003 he served as the Deputy Secretary of the Interior during the Clinton Administration. In 2002 he was elected, again as Insurance Commissioner, then Lieutenant Governor in 2006. Garamendi was first elected to Congress in a special election in 2009.

“We know that Americans deserve universal paid family leave, affordable housing, cheaper prescription drugs, universal healthcare, cleaner air and water, affordable education, and a free and just society. That’s why I’ve helped champion these efforts in Congress and voted to make this attainable for every American,” he shared.

“All of this and more is what we achieved in 2021 alone, and we are just getting started. I have devoted my life to public service, and I will continue fighting for you every day. That’s why I’m announcing my re-election campaign for Congress in the 8th district. I want to continue fighting for a bold, progressive, and transformative vision of America—and I would be honored to have your support,” Garamendi concluded.

According to his Wikipedia page, Garamendi was born in 1945 in Camp Blanding, Florida, and was raised in Mokelumne Hill, California. His paternal grandparents were Basque immigrants from Spain and his mother was of half Irish and half Italian ancestry. Garamendi received a degree in business from U.C. Berkeley, where he was a football player and wrestler, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School. He served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia from 1966 to 1968. Garamendi is an Eagle Scout and a member of Sigma Chi, as a brother of the Alpha Beta Chapter at Berkeley.

Below is an overview of Garamendi’s priorities and recent achievements in Congress. More information is available at

A Champion for Working Families

Congressman Garamendi believes that every American has a right to a good-paying job, and he fights every day in Congress to build a strong middle class. In 2021 alone, Garamendi fought for:

  • The Largest Middle Class Tax Cut in History: Congressman Garamendi secured an Expanded Child Tax Credit that cuts taxes for middle class familiesin our region by $3,000 per year on average and lifts half of all children out of poverty. This helps families put food on the table, purchase school supplies, cover rent, pay down debts, support the local economy, and make ends meet.
  • Universal Pre-K & Affordable College: Garamendi voted to establish a universal pre-K program for all children. He also successfully led the effort in Congress to expand the Pell Grant to help millions of students attend community college of a four-year university without significant student loan debt.
  • Paid Family Leave: America is the only major nation without a national paid family leave program, and Garamendi thinks this is unconscionable. That’s why Congressman Garamendi voted to create America’s first ever universal paid family leave program to ensure no family must choose between caring for their newborn or receiving their paycheck.
  • New Affordable Housing: We know that California’s housing prices are out of control and working families are losing more of their paychecks to rent or mortgage payments. Garamendi knows that this forces middle class families to make the impossible choice between paying their rent or supporting their healthcare and education. That’s why Garamendi voted to create 1 million new affordable rental homes and cut taxes for the middle class to help cover rent and mortgage payments.
  • A Fighter for Stronger, Climate-Resilient Infrastructure

Congressman Garamendi knows that the economy can’t move if people can’t move. As he works to represent us, he sees that traffic on I-80 is bumper-to-bumper, Highway 4 has too many potholes, and public transportation needs to be improved and expanded.

Many elected officials simply talk about rebuilding our infrastructure, but John Garamendi acts. In 2021, Congressman Garamendi helped design the new Infrastructure and Jobs Act and enact it into law. Through that, Garamendi helped secure:

  • $25 billion to rebuild California’s roads and bridges. This will create 1.5 million new jobs every year, which will go to middle class families and include strong wages and benefits.
  • $9.45 billion to improve California’s public transportation.
  • $86 million to expand lanes on I-80 and reduce traffic.
  • $65 billion to build a new power grid and provide affordable electricity and increase fire safety.
  • $50 billion for drought relief.
  • $55 billion to replace every lead water pipe in America.
  • Expand Make it in America and Buy America requirements to ensure we rebuild our infrastructure using American Materials and workers.

Additionally, Garamendi helped expand BART services into Contra Costa County. He also authored and passed the “Ocean Shipping Reform Act” in the U.S. House of Representatives to fight inflation, address the supply chain crisis, and support American businesses and jobs.

All the infrastructure improvements Garamendi helped secure will be built to withstand the impacts of climate change. They will also help reduce pollution to ensure the air we breathe and the water we drink is clean for all.

A Supporter of Medicare for All and a Green New Deal

Congressman Garamendi served as California’s first ever elected Insurance Commissioner. There, he

  • Introduced and passed the first universal healthcare plan anywhere in America. His plan was adopted by President Bill Clinton and used as a national.
  • Fought against redlining and other unfair insurance practices to protect consumers.
  • Now, in Congress Garamendi is a champion for Medicare for All. Congressman Garamendi believes healthcare is a basic human right, and he won’t stop fighting until every American has universal healthcare coverage.

Congressman Garamendi also believes that climate change is the defining issue of our time. We know that California’s fire season is now 12-months, droughts are more frequent and severe, and our coats are threatened by sea level rise. Garamendi has shown a lifelong commitment to saving our planet from the climate crisis and ensuring clean water and air is available for our children. In Congress he’s fighting for:

  • A Green New Deal that provides historic relief to combat the climate crisis, create millions of good-paying union jobs, and establish a renewable energy economy for the future.
  • $555 billion in clean energy and climate investments—the largest single investment in climate resiliency in American history.
  • Clean energy tax credits to promote wind and solar energy. Garamendi authored the first ever California renewable energy tax credit as a member of the California Assembly.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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College board trustees ask for more public input on ward redistricting, staff offers workshop, two more gerrymandered maps, online survey

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021

Proposed Contra Costa Community College District Ward Realignment Map 3 balances populations using the county Supervisor’s newly adopted map as a guide and includes the locations of the high schools (the name of Deer Valley High in Antioch added by the Herald). But Trustee Ward 3 in this proposed map is significantly different than the new Supervisorial District 5. See the other two proposed maps at Source: 4CD

Sandoval pushes for more community input, transparency; he and Barrett ask for more maps; Walters asks for informal, round table meeting; one new proposed map similar to Board of Supervisors’ new map; Community Roundtable on Ward Redistricting during special Zoom meeting Jan. 6 for community input; second public hearing on redistricting during regular board meeting Jan 12.

By Allen Payton

In response to public pressure, the Contra Costa Community College District (4CD) Governing Board is seeking additional community input to adjust trustee ward boundaries and ensure population balance based on county demographic changes identified in the 2020 Census. During the Dec. 8 board meeting, (see 36-minute mark) Ward 5 Trustee Fernando Sandoval and Ward 2 Trustee Rebecca Barrett pressed for more public input, and wanted to review more than just the one map provided by the district’s staff and attorney David Saldani. They only provided slight changes to the current, gerrymandered map. (See related article)

Board Calls for More Public Input

At their December 8, 2021, meeting, (see item 10.A.) the Board reviewed only one staff-recommended map that highlighted how trustee area boundaries could change and received community input on the proposed map before determining the need for additional community input. In 2010, both the college board and the Contra Costa County Board of Education adopted the same exact maps, according to Saldani. The 4CD staff is expected to collaborate with the board of education, again, this year.

Only two members of the public offered comments during the hearing, including former college board trustee Greg Enholm who said “I hope the trustees agree that voters should choose their representatives not the reverse.  He also said he agreed with this reporter “regarding his concerns about the proposed ward map,” referring to the current map being drawn based on political considerations to protect incumbents at the time it was adopted.

“I also hope that Board Vice President Walters and Board Secretary Sandoval will explain why they are not advocating for an independent redistricting body to redraw the wards as they pledged to do,” Enholm stated.

“The map must be the best one possible meeting all requirements,” he concluded and said he provided to the trustees a copy of the 1990 map.

“We support a good governance model which includes community meetings. We are a little surprised that…the college district did not engage in a community participation process,” said Maria Alegria, representing Latinx for Inclusion. “It looks like you’ve done this in-house for the past three decades.”

Barrett had questions about the process, including the FAIR Maps Act.

“Certainly, this year, more than ever, the politics surrounding redistricting is greater,” said Executive Vice Chancellor, Education and Technology Mojdeh Mehdizadeh. “This is the first year that the Census data was released six months later than usual.”

“Can you explain the California FAIR Maps Act of 2017 and how it impacts the way cities and counties conduct their post-Census redistricting?” Barrett asked.

“We don’t have to comply with the provisions. It gives more direction with the criteria,” Saldani responded. “The FAIR Maps Act requires cities and counties have…two pre-map hearings then two post-map hearings. It doesn’t apply to the college district.”

“We used traditional redistricting criteria,” he added.

Sandoval said “you spoke about population balance. You guys really didn’t talk about communities of interest. What Mr. Enholm stated…there was some work that was done for political boundary changes in the past and I’m concerned those still haven’t been addressed.”

“It’s not just population balance, it’s communities,” Sandoval continued. “We’re here to make sure the maps represent the communities of interest as they go forward.”

“The other thing I’m concerned about is, the map itself that we have in there, is not an interactive map. You should be able to show that,” he stated. “The fact that we only have one map says that we only have one option. I’m all about transparency. When I talked about the independent commission it’s really about transparency and making sure that the public has an opportunity to weigh in and put a comment…so the board can go ahead and try to understand what the concerns of the community are. We don’t know what they are, right now. I think we need to do more.”

“From my perspective there’s not have enough transparency and we need to ensure we go ahead and take care of the public interest,” he concluded.

“In fact, we heard public feedback, tonight,” said Saldani.

“I think we haven’t done enough,” Sandoval responded. “Give them more of an opportunity. Publicizing it and just having it on our website is not enough. We should have more than one map.”

Barrett then said, “I do have some concerns. I would like to have a more detailed map. Are the politicians giving feedback? Because it’s self-serving. The staff and demographer have worked to keep this away from board input. In some respects, I would hope the board and public could get a more detailed map with geographic markers…things to help identify. I would appreciate a little more detail and understanding. I think the board could give you more input that communities of interest don’t fit nicely…in your statistical analysis. I do think multiple maps would have been helpful. It would give the public a sense that there are choices.”

“I think most of us won’t be here, in 10 years on this board,” she continued. “So, one of the things we can do as a board is to codify our expectations around the redistricting process. Do we want to look at an independent redistricting commission or some kind of hybrid? But that’s a more long-term project.”

“Your free of the accusation that you’re trying to benefit yourself,” Barrett added.

“Would it be possible to have, I’ll use the word workshop, or gathering?” asked Board Vice President Judy Walters.

“Certainly. I thought that’s what we were doing, here, tonight,” responded Mehdizadeh.

Walters suggested a meeting that is “less formal…more of a roundtable kind of thing.”

“On a personal level, I’m happy with the work done, tonight,” she said. “I’m concerned that we have to meet our deadline and we don’t spend a jillion dollars doing stuff.”

“We’re happy to answer any additional questions and do a deeper dive from an interactive perspective,” Mehdizadeh responded. “While we would love to do that, we’re not resourced to do that.”

“We tried to keep it in-house. Let them do their independent work,” Board President Andy Li said. “I’m supportive of some open, community input.”

“The document…that’s…showing racial demographics is wonderful,” Walters added. But she didn’t call for an independent citizen redistricting commission as she committed to do during her campaign, last year.

“I heard some requests to follow the county in drawing our districts,” Li said. “But I found that there are three trustees in the same ward.”

However, where incumbents live is not a requirement that must be considered when redrawing ward boundaries.

“I appreciate the work done by the county. But they have different communities of interest than we do,” Barrett said. “We could be drawing our maps off of the school district boundaries.”

“We tried to keep as many as communities together as possible,” Mehdizadeh said.

Staff agreed to consider offering more public meetings and has since offered two more maps and post all three on the district’s website.

January 6 Community Roundtable on Ward Redistricting

The public can review three mapping options of how trustee boundaries could be balanced on the 4CD website located at . Community members can use a new interactive mapping feature that will help identify how each mapping option could change your trustee representation. The website also gives the public the opportunity to provide online comments and feedback that will be considered by the Board. In addition, 4CD will conduct a Community Roundtable on Ward Redistricting during a special Governing Board meeting via Zoom on Thursday, January 6, 2022, beginning at 5:00 p.m. to conduct a community roundtable to review the different mapping options and receive additional community input. Zoom details can be found in the official Governing Board meeting agenda for this community roundtable.

January 12 Second Redistricting Public Hearing

The Board will review the additional community input and hold a second redistricting public hearing at their regularly scheduled public meeting on January 12, 2022, beginning at 6:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend this meeting in-person at 500 Court Street, 2nd Floor Board Room, in Martinez or via Zoom. Zoom details for this meeting are contained in the official Board meeting agenda located on the 4CD website.

“Based on the community input we received so far, the Board decided it was prudent to expand the redistricting choices available and provide more opportunity for the public to weigh in on this important decision,” said Walters. “The additional steps we are taking, which are beyond what is legally required, are appropriate and convey to our community we are rebalancing our trustee wards in a transparent way, and is being completed in a fair, objective, and non-partisan manner.”

Special districts like 4CD are legally obligated to follow Education Code Section 5019.5, which highlights the process to follow, ensuring the population of trustee wards is balanced based on the changing demographics of the community. Legally, the population can be as great as 10% between districts. Despite receiving the 2020 Census data six months late, 4CD is still required to complete this process by February 28, 2022.

After receiving the 2020 Census data in September 2021, staff began working with legal counsel to analyze and prepare its ward redistricting recommendation. The Board received a report outlining the plan to rebalance the ward boundaries at their November 10, 2021, meeting, including a review of the population changes throughout Contra Costa County.

Public Participation

Should you wish to make public comment in person, please fill out the yellow public comment card (sample attached) that will be available at the meeting and give it to the Executive Coordinator.  For those attending remotely, the Governing Board President will ask for general comments or those specific to a certain agenda item.

  • Please note that submissions of public comments will be considered a public record under the Public Records Act and are therefore subject to public disclosure; submissions must either address an item on the agenda or be within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Governing Board.
  • If a translator for the speaker is needed, please contact the Executive Coordinator at or leave a message at 925.229.6821, the Friday prior to the meeting so appropriate accommodations may be made.

According to Government Code Section 54954.2(a), when responding to public comment, Governing Board members and staff may respond as summarized below.

  • Briefly respond to statements made or questions posed by persons making public comment;
  • ask questions for clarification or make a brief announcement;
  • provide a reference to staff or other resources for factual information;
  • request staff to report back to the body at a later meeting; or
  • direct staff to place the matter on a future agenda.

Timothy Leong, 4CD Public Information Officer, contributed to this report.

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Two more days to offer input on California Citizens Redistricting Commission’s final maps for state districts

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

The commission’s final map shows Antioch (in red) divided into Congressional Districts 8 and 10. Source:

Antioch still split into two congressional districts; shares State Senate district with San Leandro; shares State Assembly district with Concord and Crockett

Divides Contra Costa County in multiple ways, combining portions with communities in other counties as far away as Sonoma and Yolo Counties over 90 miles away

By Allen Payton

On Monday, the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission completed and approved final maps for the state’s Congressional, Senate, Assembly, and Board of Equalization districts that are significantly different than the draft maps presented last month. The new maps, which will be in place and affect elections for the next 10 years, split up Contra Costa County in multiple ways and combine portions with other counties and communities as much as 93 miles away.

The California Constitution states that public comment shall be taken for at least three days from the date of public display of any final statewide maps. Additionally, the Commission shall not display any other map for public comment during that period. (To offer additional public comment click here)

“We have reached the finish line for the people’s redistricting process in California. When voters approved the Voters FIRST Act, it created a monumental shift in this decennial process,” stated Commission Chair Alicia Fernandez. “As Californians, my colleagues on this Commission and I answered the call to serve for this great state we honor and love. We conclude our map drawing responsibilities with pride in our final product. We started this process leaving politics out of the equation in hopes of achieving fairer and more equitable maps. I think I speak for my colleagues when I say mission accomplished! Thank you to all that participated in this process.”

The Commission drew 4 Board of Equalization districts, 52 Congressional districts, 40 Senatorial districts, and 80 Assembly districts. All districts were drawn within the permissible population deviation.

The commission’s final map shows all of Antioch (in red) in State Senate Districts 9. Source:

Maps Split Up Contra Costa County More

While the current maps approved in 2011 divide the county amongst four Congressional, two State Senate and three State Assembly districts, what the Commission did to Contra Costa, this time, was split it up even more into three Congressional, three State Senate, and four Assembly districts.

For the State Senate map, the majority of the county, from Crockett in West County to Antioch in East County is combined with San Leandro, Castro Valley and San Lorenzo in southwest Alameda County. Like the draft maps issued by the Commission in November, the new Senate map includes the Far East County cities of Brentwood and Oakley and communities of Discovery Bay, Byron, Bethel Island and Knightsen in the same district as Vallejo, Napa, Rohnert Park in Sonoma County, over 90 miles away.  In addition, the map combines all of West County with the cities of Berkeley, Oakland and Alameda.

For the State Assembly map, the Commission keeps the county split in four districts keeping Far East County except for Brentwood, in the same district as most of Solano County including Vallejo, Fairfield, Vacaville and Dixon. It keeps most of West County in the same district, except for Crockett, which is included in the same district as Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Clayton, Bay Point, Pittsburg, Antioch and Brentwood.

The commission, only split the county amongst three districts for the Congressional map. But it splits up East County into those three, new separate districts by carving out Discovery Bay and Byron and leaving them in the same district as most of San Joaquin County. The proposed final map also combines the southern portion of Antioch, plus Brentwood, Oakley, Bethel Island and Knightsen with Central County, including most of Concord, plus Lamorinda, the San Ramon Valley and a portion of Dublin in the same congressional district. Finally, it splits off the northern portion of Antioch, plus Pittsburg and Bay Point, and includes it in a district with the other part of Concord, plus Martinez, West County cities of Richmond, El Cerrito, San Pablo, Pinole, Hercules and Crockett with most of Solano County.

Independent Commission Creates Maps That Benefit Democrats

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.

However, according to a news report by the left-leaning Politico, “California’s new congressional map boosts Democrats” in their “uphill quest to maintain their minuscule House majority”. The new lines “create more challenging districts for Republican incumbents without substantially undermining the prospects of vulnerable Democrats.” The “map could point to Democrats holding ground or picking up seats.”

The commission’s final map shows all of Antioch (in red) in Assembly Senate Districts 15. Source:

See Shape Files/Equivalency Files/Stats and Map Viewer:

In accordance with the California Constitution, the Commission followed these criteria, in this order, to draw district maps:

  1. Districts must be of equal population to comply with the U.S. 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.

The last of the criteria makes sense, as there are twice as many Assembly districts as Senatorial districts, and the Commission could have simply divided each Senatorial district into two. But they chose not to follow it when drawing the new maps.

Additional Commission Meetings

The Commission is continuing to hold meetings Sunday and next Monday and accepting additional public comments on the final maps. At the start of Tuesday’s meeting, Chair Fernandez announced that the meetings scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday, as shown on the Commission’s website, have been cancelled.

December 26, 2021 CRC Business Meeting – 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission Meeting – 11:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. daily or upon conclusion of business  Public Input Form

December 27, 2021 CRC Business Meeting  – 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission Meeting – 11:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. daily or upon conclusion of business  Public Input Form

Background on Redistricting and Commission

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 To offer additional comments to the Commission about the proposed final maps visit by Thursday, Dec. 23 at 5:00 p.m.

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