Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

San Ramon councilwoman announces campaign for State Senate

Thursday, August 17th, 2023
Marisol Rubio. Source: Facebook

District includes Antioch; will face Assemblyman Tim Grayson in March primary election

By Allen D. Payton

In her first year on the San Ramon City Council, Marisol Rubio announced Thursday, August 17, 2023 that she has officially launched her State Senate campaign to replace State Senator Steve Glazer who cannot run for reelection due to term limits. With the recent redistricting the Senate district is now Senate District 9. This is her second run for the State Senate. According to Ballotpedia, Rubio ran in 2020 to represent District 7 but lost to Glazer in the March primary.

The current district includes portions of Contra Costa County, including the cities of Antioch, Clayton, Concord, Lafayette, Martinez, Orinda, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, the towns of Danville and Moraga, and portions of Alameda County including San Leandro and the unincorporated communities of Ashland, Castro Valley, and San Lorenzo.

State Senate District 9 map. Source: Rubio campaign

A press release issued by her campaign reads as follows:

In November of 2022, Marisol was elected to the San Ramon City Council District 4 with over 64% of the vote. She previously served as Director and Vice President of the Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD). Marisol is a 100% Pro-Choice Democrat with a strong record of fighting to protect our environment.

 She is also a Founding Advisory Board Member of a nonprofit that advocates for women’s reproductive health education and treatment, as well as a fund that advances policies to protect individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“I am a results-oriented, proven leader that will bring to the California Senate a strong, much-needed progressive voice with knowledge and lived experience in public health, social justice, the environment, and education,” said Marisol.

Marisol is the proud parent of a childhood brain cancer survivor who has lived with lifelong disabilities. She worked closely with her daughter for over two decades to ensure that she had quality health care and a strong education.  As a result, her daughter is a long-term survivor and student in college double majoring in Psychology and Spanish.

More on Marisol

Rubio received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley with a major in Molecular and Cell Biology, Neurobiology emphasis, where she was the recipient of the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) Women’s Leadership Scholarship Award, and a member of the Biology Scholars Programs. She is a former bilingual science teacher and original research mentor.

She has applied her science background and personal experience to work for the benefit of our
community, including:

  • Protecting our water quality and supply at DSRSD as Vice Chair, then Chair of
    DSRSD-EBMUD Recycled Water Authority (DERWA) and as a liaison for Zone 7, Central Contra Costa Sanitary District, and the City of San Ramon.
  • Supporting the health and fair employment practices, benefits, and wages for home care providers.
    Championing environmental efforts as an Executive Committee Board Member at Sierra Club California and the San Francisco Bay Chapter.
  • Implementing Just Transition as the Environmental Co-Chair of a joint pilot
    Labor-Climate Task Force


According to her Facebook page, Rubio is also Co-Chair of the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the California Democratic Party.

According to her responses to questions by San Ramon Patch during last year’s campaign, Rubio shared more information about herself.

12. What is your day job, and how will that prepare you to serve on the council?

I am a Home Care Provider, Translator, and Learning Coach. COVID impacted the latter position. I have also worked in a variety of positions as a K-5 Bilingual Science Teacher, Original Research Mentor, Health Promotion Officer, and Student Disability Advisor. Collectively, I have in-depth understanding of the needs of our children and our most often overlooked members within our community – people with disabilities and the elderly. I also have a deep understanding about human health, psychology, and the environment based
on my academic, volunteer, and professional background.

13. What experience do you have serving the community?


• Vice President, Elected Division 1 Director, Dublin San Ramon Services District

• Chair, DSRSD-EBMUD Recycled Water Authority (DERWA)

• San Ramon Government 101 Academy

• President, Diablo Valley Democratic Club

• Elected San Francisco Bay Chapter Executive Committee At-Large Member, Sierra Club

• National and State Leadership Council Member, Elected Officials to Protect America

o EOPA connects elected officials to bring about strong environmental policy.

• Co-Chair, Contra Costa Labor Council Labor – Climate Task Force

o A collaboration between the Contra Costa Labor Council and various Bay Area environmental organizations to identify points of intersectionality in order to lay the groundwork for Just Transition.

• Director of Government Relations, San Francisco Bay Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

o Bringing government, community, and commerce together across the Bay Area.

• Founding Executive Board Member, The Natalie Project

o Fund advocacy group for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

• Founding Executive Board Member, FemTruth YouthTM

o Nonprofit based in Danville that advocates for reproductive health education.

• Co-Chair, Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Committee, California Democratic Party

• Co-Chair, Rules Committee, Contra Costa County Central Committee

• Elected Assembly District 16 Delegate

• SEIU 2015 Delegate, Contra Costa Labor Council


• Elected Tri-Valley Group Executive Committee Member, Sierra Club

• Organizational and Operations Manager & Government Outreach, United Latino Voices

• Issues Committee Co-Chair, Contra Costa County Central Committee

• Ad Hoc Educational Committee Co-Chair, Contra Costa County Central Committee

• Educational Committee, California Democratic Party Disability Caucus

• Patient- & Family-Centered Care, Guest Lecturer, Samuel Merritt University FACES Summer Medical Academy
• Pediatric Oncology Clinic Volunteer, Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

14. Of which accomplishments are you most proud?

Getting my education in Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis in Neurobiology and, in turn, using that knowledge to help my daughter overcome her learning disabilities and, ultimately, attend college and pursue her dreams.

15. What is your education?

• A.A., German, French, Italian at Diablo Valley College (4.0 GPA)

• Recipient of the President’s Scholar Award, American Mathematical Association of Two- Year Colleges (AMATYC) Honorable Mention Award (Top 10% Nationally), and Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society at Oakton Community College.


According to her LinkedIn page, she currently serves as the Council Liaison to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD), Arts Advisory Committee, Economic Development Advisory Committee, Teen Council, Arts Foundation, Housing Advisory Committee, Tri-Valley Water and East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) & Water Issues.

Since her election last November, Rubio’s role with the Sierra Club expanded as a member of the Sierra Club’s California Executive Board and since January a member of the organization’s Summit Committee. Also, since January Rubio has been a member of the Council of Club Leaders for the Sierra Club, San Francisco Bay Chapter.

Her campaign website provides more details about the two foundations she helped start, including Founding Executive Advisory Board Member for The Natalie Project: Fund advocacy group for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. In addition, it shows she is a Founding Executive Board Member for FemTruth Youth™: Nonprofit based in Danville that advocates for reproductive health education. According to, the organization’s mission is “Representing an inclusive, grassroots coalition of youth, patient advocates and supporters at the intersection of womxn’s health, mental health, adverse childhood experiences and education; and reimagining inclusive new policy and standards for wellness.”

Rubio will face Assemblyman Tim Grayson who announced his campaign for the State Senate seat earlier this month in the primary election next March.

Her campaign website shows a slogan of “Putting Families and Communities First” but does not provide what her platform is, explaining the issues she will focus on if elected. Rubio and her campaign consultant were asked what those are.

“There will be more to add. This is just the announcement,” Andrew Acosta of Acosta Consulting responded. But she did not.

To learn more about Rubio’s campaign visit

Assemblyman Tim Grayson announces run for State Senate

Friday, August 11th, 2023
Assemblyman Tim Grayson and in his role as pastor on Sunday, July 23, 2023. Sources: Official photo and Lifepoint Church of Concord.

The bi-vocational pastor touts his “strong legislative record in consumer protection, affordable housing and public safety”; can only serve one term

Grayson’s current district and the Senate District include Antioch

Walnut Creek, CA – Today, Friday, August 11, 2023, Assemblyman Tim Grayson announced his run for the California State Senate. Grayson has served in the Assembly since his election in 2016 and was previously the Mayor of Concord. He currently represents the 15th Assembly District and is seeking to represent District 9 in the State Senate, encompassing Contra Costa and Alameda counties. The district is currently State Senate District 7 and is represented by State Senator Steve Glazer who is termed out. Grayson’s current district and the Senate District include Antioch.

“Californians are struggling to keep pace with rising inflation and skyrocketing housing costs. I’ll stand up for them in the State Senate and expand on the work I did to stand up for middle-class Californians – expanding statewide protections for renters, standing up to Big Banks and pharmaceutical companies, providing affordable housing, and improving our roads, bridges, and infrastructure,” said Grayson. 

He made his announcement with a video posted on social media for his supporters.

Grayson, a registered Democrat, was the first in his family to earn a college degree. His father was a Teamster, and his mother was a public transit worker. Starting in 1997, Tim operated a business as a general building contractor and still holds a license today. In 2010, he was elected to the Concord City Council, winning reelection in 2014 and eventually serving as the city’s mayor. As mayor, Tim worked to balance Concord’s $90 million budget and built up the city’s rainy-day fund. 

Grayson co-founded the Contra Costa Family Justice Center, a nonprofit that helps victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. He fought for funding for survivors of abuse during the coronavirus pandemic and wrote a law making it tougher for sexual predators to avoid justice.

Since being elected to the Assembly, Tim has authored and passed historic legislation to build more affordable housing for middle and working-class families, establish statewide rent protections to help more Californians stay in their homes, increase access to effective mental health services for our California firefighters and first responders, and put an end to predatory lending and rein in the payday loan industry.

Grayson’s major legislative accomplishments include: 

  • Serving as Chair of the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee. Assemblymember Grayson has championed innovative solutions that will benefit all Californians and lead to economic growth. 
  • Securing $30 million in state funding for Family Justice Centers throughout California to streamline services for victims of interpersonal violence.
  • Securing $34M to improve the Interstate 680/State Route 4 interchange in Concord.
  • Passed laws (AB 1482 and AB 1481) to protect California renters from unfair evictions and significant rent increases.
  • Authored legislation, AB 1116 (Grayson, 2019), to increase access to effective mental health services for firefighters.
  • Supported legislation and funding to help law enforcement recover stolen merchandise to protect local businesses.
  • Supported funding a permanent Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit to fight organized retail theft.
  • Supported a state budget that included $30 Million to support the National Guard’s drug eradication efforts, targeting transnational criminal organizations.
  • Supported $156 Million for gun violence prevention programs, and $25 Million for gun buyback programs.
  • Supported $30 Million investment for fentanyl & other drug trafficking prevention programs.
  • Supported legislation to ensure officers receive strong use-of-force training in order to protect them in the field and help keep our communities safe. 
  • Passed AB 539 to stop the predatory payday lending industry by capping the interest rates on small loans between $2,500-$10,000.

According to Grayson’s bio on his official Assemblymember website, “Grayson serves as Chair of the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee and as a member of the Business and Professions Committee, the Insurance Committee, and Revenue and Taxation Committee. Grayson also chairs the Select Committee on Streamlining Services for Victims of Interpersonal Violence.

Grayson continues to serve as the Concord Police Department’s Critical Response Chaplain, a position he has held since 2007, providing emotional support and counseling to first responders, victims, and their families during and after traumatic events. Grayson also has maintained a license as a general building contractor since 1997.”

He “is eligible to serve up to twelve years in the Legislature through 2028,” allowing him one, four-year term in the State Senate if he’s elected.

According to Grayson’s Wikipedia page, “Although once a Republican, he switched parties upon making a bid for Assembly.” 

His run for State Senate triggers the campaign by Antioch City Councilwoman Monica Wilson’s campaign for Assembly, which she announced in June and was conditional upon Grayson not running for re-election. (See related article)

Grayson is also pastor of Lifepoint Church formerly, Calvary Apostolic Church, in Concord. He lives in Concord where he raised his two children with his wife of more than 35 years, Tammy who is the principal of Calvary Christian School which is operated by the church along with Calvary Christian Preschool. According to, Grayson is currently president of Calvary Apostolic Church of Concord, and formerly affiliated with United Pentacostal Lighthouse of Rodeo, for which, according to, Tammy served as Chief Financial Officer, and Grace for Grace Ministries, which, according to, was located in Stockton.

Additional details are available at

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

Pittsburg mayor announces campaign for District 5 Supervisor if incumbent Glover doesn’t run for re-election

Monday, August 7th, 2023
Shanelle Scales-Preston. Source: Facebook

Shanelle Scales-Preston says her priorities will include investing in youth services, transportation, promoting economic growth, strengthening public safety, and protecting our environment.

By Allen D. Payton

In a Facebook post on Friday, August 4, 2023, Pittsburg Mayor Shanelle Scales-Preston announced she will run for Contra Costa County Supervisor in District 5 if current, six-term incumbent Federal Glover doesn’t run for re-election in the 2024 Primary next March.

She currently works as District Director for Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, serving in the position since 2016.

In her post, Scales-Preston wrote:

“Hello Facebook Family and Friends,

I’m excited to announce I’m running for Contra Costa County Supervisor, District V if Federal Glover decides not to seek re-election.

It has been an honor to represent Pittsburg residents as mayor and serve on the city council since 2018. Together, we have strengthened our community and improved services. I firmly believe that a strong and vibrant community is the foundation for a prosperous and fulfilling life. It is this belief that drives me to step forward and offer my dedication, experience, and passion to serve as your County Supervisor.

Pittsburg is my home and has shaped who I am today. I understand the day-to-day struggles we all face. Throughout my life, I have witnessed the power of unity and the strong ties of community built from our relationships with our neighbors, churches, and organizations where we volunteer, and the incredible potential that lies within each individual. That’s why I believe in fostering an inclusive and diverse community that celebrates our differences and embraces our shared goals and aspirations. I am devoted to working tirelessly to ensure that our county is a place where everyone feels valued, supported, and empowered.

My campaign is centered around the idea that community and people mean everything. I am committed to being an accessible representative for all residents in District V. My priorities include investing in youth services, transportation, promoting economic growth, strengthening public safety, and protecting our environment.

My community service started in the federal government more than twenty years ago and has equipped me with the tools I need to effectively advocate for residents and fix problems. District V is sprawling and diverse, covering the northern waterfront. I have worked in these communities for my whole career in public service and have built lasting relationships with residents here.

I look forward to engaging with people across District V to learn what matters most to you and all residents. I am excited for the campaign and hope I can earn your support.

Your involvement, ideas, and support are invaluable in shaping the future of our community. Together we can build a stronger, more inclusive, and prosperous community.

Shanelle Scales-Preston





According to her campaign website, Scales-Preston is Chair of the Board for MCE, the local electricity provider, Chair of TransPlan which coordinates regional transportation projects in East County and is President of the League of California Cities East Bay Division. She is married and a mother of two boys.

According to her LinkedIn page she has worked for the U.S. House of Representatives for the past 22 years, first as a Field Representative from 2001 to 2015 for Congressman George Miller.

According to her page on during the 2022 campaign in which she was re-elected as the top vote-getter, Scales-Preston wrote, “Growing up in Pittsburg, I benefited from youth programs. Now, I have led efforts to expand activities for young people by investing $3 million dollars in Youth Services.” She has been mayor since last December, a position rotated annually among council members in Pittsburg.

If Scales-Preston runs, she will join fellow Pittsburg Councilmember Jelani Killings in the race.

The filing deadline in the race is December 8. If no one wins a majority of the vote in March, the top two candidates will face off in a run-off election in the November General Election.

Efforts to reach her for comment and to reach Glover to determine if he has made a decision about the 2024 election yet, were unsuccessful prior to publication. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

Pittsburg councilman announces campaign for District 5 County Supervisor

Saturday, August 5th, 2023
Jelani Killings. Source: Facebook.

District includes northern and western portions of Antioch

Jelani Killings will focus on government accountability, public safety, economic development and homelessness

May challenge six-term incumbent Glover

“The county has to do a better job of partnering with cities.” – Jelani Killings

By Allen D. Payton

In a post on his personal Facebook page on July 20, two-term Pittsburg Councilman and former mayor, Jelani Killings announced his campaign for Contra Costa County Supervisor in District 5 in the March 2024 Primary. He wrote, “I am thrilled to announce that I am running for Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors District 5! I look forward to sharing my vision for the County and earning the vote of District 5 residents. See press release for the official announcement and stay tuned for more details about the campaign and how you can get involved! Thank you in advance for the support, prayers, and contributions that will make this campaign a success!”

District 5 includes the northern and western portions of Antioch, the cities of Pittsburg, Hercules, Martinez, Pittsburg and portions of Pinole, and the unincorporated communities of Bay Point, Rodeo, Pacheco, Crockett, Clyde, Port Costa, Alhambra Valley, Briones, Tormey, Mt. View, Vine Hill and Reliez Valley.

Six-term incumbent Federal Glover has not yet announced if he is going to run again in 2024. But that isn’t stopping Killings from jumping in the race.

A July 20th press release about his campaign reads, “A visionary leader for Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors District 5: Jelani Killings

Jelani Killings, a dynamic and experienced public servant, announces his candidacy for Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors District 5. With a fresh perspective and a passion for addressing the community’s needs, Killings brings the energy and leadership necessary to ignite positive change. With an impressive track record serving on the Pittsburg City Council, Killings is poised to bring his experience, integrity, and forward-thinking approach to the next level.

During his two-term tenure on the Pittsburg City Council, Jelani Killings has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to his community and has proven himself as a leader who thinks critically and acts independently. His passion for serving the people and dedication to government accountability has earned him the trust and respect of his constituents as well as leaders throughout the region.

“District 5 has the potential to be the economic and cultural backbone of Contra Costa County,” said Killings. “I envision a future where our community thrives, and its potential is fully realized. Together, we will build a brighter and more prosperous future for all.”

Killings’ platform is centered around three core pillars: government accountability, public safety and economic development. As a tireless advocate for transparency and responsible governance, he aims to foster an environment of trust and cooperation between the County and its residents.

Regarding public safety, Killings understands that a safe community is the bedrock upon which all other progress is built. He is committed to working collaboratively with law enforcement agencies and community leaders to ensure a safer environment for all District 5 residents. 

Furthermore, Killings recognizes the immense potential for economic growth in District 5. With his passion for economic development and a clear vision, he plans to increase support for small businesses, champion additional investments for workforce development, and revitalize local industries, ultimately boosting the county’s economy.

His campaign’s motto, “Vision, Integrity, Accountability,” reflects Killings’ unwavering dedication to serving the people and bringing positive change to Contra Costa County. With his proven leadership qualities and experience, Jelani Killings is undoubtedly the candidate to lead District 5 into a prosperous future.

About Jelani Killings

Jelani Killings is a well-respected public servant, having served on the Pittsburg City Council for the past seven years. He brings a wealth of experience, determination, and fresh ideas to his campaign for the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors District 5. Jelani is a champion of government accountability, public safety, and economic development, and he envisions a brighter future for the community he loves.


Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors District 5 map. Source: Contra Costa County

When reached for comment Killings said, “I’m excited. I’m already feeling the heat a little bit. My campaign is not predicated on whether Glover runs for re-election or not. For the past two elections he said it would be his last.”

Killings has worked for the City of Oakland for the past 10 years and currently works for the City’s Public Ethics Commission dealing with campaign finance, government ethics, transparency and lobbyist laws in Oakland. Previously he worked as an Office Manager for H&R Block and a Youth Program Coordinator, STS Academy.

He was first elected to the Pittsburg City Council in 2016 then re-elected in 2020 the year he served has mayor.

His bio on during the 2020 campaign reads, “A Pittsburg native and Pittsburg High School graduate, Mayor Killings has dedicated his life to serving others and giving back to the community that inspired him growing up. He is a proud husband, father, minister, and mentor. He currently serves on the City Council’s Finance, Economic Development, and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) committees. Mayor Killings also serves as a city representative to the East Bay League of California Cities, Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), and the 2×2 School District committees.”

On the issues and his major concerns in the supervisor’s race, he shared, “The county has to make some tough decisions in the next few years. There’s going to have to be some cutbacks. Finance has shared that there are issues that will have to be addressed with the budget. Economic development is going to be a focus and public safety is definitely a strong focus.”

“When I talk about accountability, I’m talking about efficiencies and sustainability of the programs the county runs,” Killings continued. “They’re looking at what to do about homelessness. We’ve seen exorbitant amounts of money spent on homelessness over the past decade but statewide, countywide and even in East County the outcomes haven’t been addressing the problems surrounding it.”

“The county has to do a better job of partnering with cities,” he stated. “In Pittsburg we had the county working with the state to take over Motel 6. The City really had no say in the process. Our consolation prize was them giving us two years of a dedicated CORE team in our community.”

“The larger conversation must be about housing itself,” Killings explained. “I’m more of a supply and demand person, when the government is holding the purse for new, affordable housing, then you have local regulations and litigation that’s slowing down the approval process and production overall of new housing.”

The councilman and candidate for supervisor, earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Clark Atlanta University in 2009 and a Master’s in Public Administration – Public Management and Policy from Cal State East Bay in 2015. He is married with two children, a daughter age 8 and a son, age 5.

Killings said he is in the process of forming a campaign committee and developing a website. For now, for more information or to contact the candidate email or visit his official city council Facebook page.

The filing deadline in the race is December 8. If no one wins a majority of the vote in March, the top two candidates will face off in a run-off election in the November General Election.

An effort to reach Glover to determine if he has made a decision about the 2024 election yet, was unsuccessful prior to publication. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

Antioch Councilwoman Wilson running for State Assembly

Thursday, June 29th, 2023
Source: Wilson for Assembly campaign.

Second attempt at higher office; seeks to succeed Tim Grayson as part of effort to elect an equal number of women to the state legislature

By Allen D. Payton

On June 1st, Antioch District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson announced her campaign for State Assembly in District 15 which includes all of Antioch, and other portions of Central and Eastern Contra Costa County. Current incumbent, Tim Grayson (D-Concord), is expected to run for the State Senate seat currently held by Steve Glazer who is termed out at the end of 2024. Although California state legislators can now serve a total of 12 years with a combination of time in each house, Glazer won a special election in 2011 to replace Mark DeSaulnier who was elected to Congress in 2015, midway through his term. If Glazer were re-elected for a third term, he would end up serving over 13 years.

First elected to the city council in 2012 then re-elected in 2016 for four-year terms, following the formation of council districts Wilson was re-elected again in 2020 for a two-year term garnering over 55% of the vote against two other candidates. This past year she was re-elected for another four-year term, but the support in her district had dropped to less than 37% in a field of four candidates, including fellow Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock. (See related article)

This is Democrat Wilson’s second run for higher office which included a failed attempt for District 3 County Supervisor in 2016 in which she placed fifth out of six candidates in the primary. (See related article)

The following press release was issued by her campaign:

Four-term Councilmember Monica Wilson announces her candidacy for State Assembly (AD15). Current Assemblymember Tim Grayson is widely expected to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Steve Glazer.

For the past two decades, Monica has served the people of Contra Costa County as a community organizer, high-profile advocate to end human trafficking, and leader in the fight for safe neighborhoods and healthy families.

“I am ready to take my results-oriented leadership to Sacramento – where I can do even more to maintain and improve the quality of life for our Contra Costa County communities and all Californians,” said Wilson. “Too many families are getting priced out due to skyrocketing cost of living and expensive housing. And creating effective solutions to homelessness is not only a regional, but statewide crisis. I have a proven track record of tackling today’s tough problems to provide the leadership every Californian needs.”

“These are all issues I have experienced myself,” she continued. “As your Assemblymember, I’ll fight to address pocketbook issues for the well-being of every Contra Costa County family and residents throughout the Golden State.”

Wilson announced her Assembly candidacy with endorsements from State Board of Equalization Member Sally Lieber, women and human rights advocate Christine Pelosi (Former Speaker of the House and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s daughter) and local leaders including Concord Vice Mayor Edi Birsan and Brentwood Councilmember Jovita Mendoza.

“Monica has led efforts to protect our clean air and water for future generations,” said Board of Equalization Member Lieber. “Monica will lead the fight in Sacramento to make real progress toward the governor’s goal of dramatically cutting carbon pollution to reduce the risk of drought and wildfire.”

“It is more important than ever to elect women with proven track records of results to be our state policymakers. I am thrilled Councilmember Monica Wilson has answered the calls to run,” said Susannah Delano, Executive Director of Close the Gap California, (which is working for “gender parity in the state legislature by 2028”).

15th Assembly District map. Source: Wilson for Assembly campaign.

Assembly District 15 includes the cities of Antioch, Brentwood, Clayton, Concord, Martinez, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, a portion of Walnut Creek and the unincorporated communities of Bay Point and Pacheco.

ABOUT MONICA: Antioch Councilmember Monica Wilson champions police reform and safe neighborhoods; solutions to homelessness; expansion of mental health response teams; and bans on new liquor stores. Monica is a regional and statewide leader in the fight against human trafficking, serving as a program manager for a Bay Area nonprofit battling exploitation – and also worked closely with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office to create the County’s Human Trafficking Task Force.


• Serving 4th term on Antioch City Council; first African American woman elected

• Vice Chair, Northern California Democratic Party Women’s Caucus; former Vice Chair, Democratic Party of Contra Costa County

• Board Member, Tri Delta Transit

• Staff Advisor, FemDems; Outreach Coordinator, Grateful Garment Project

• Program Manager, Human Trafficking nonprofit Love Never Fails

• Staff Member, Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County

• San José – Evergreen Community College District and Mills College professional positions in Workforce Institute and Student Life divisions


Wilson is also one of five board members for the Celebrate Antioch Foundation which serves as the fiscal agent for her East Contra Costa Women’s Leadership Initiative.


According to the Priorities page on her campaign website, Wilson’s platform includes the issues of Cost of Living, Affordable Housing and Homelessness, Safe Neighborhoods and Schools and Climate Change.


Wilson’s main accomplishment as a member of the Antioch City Council was last year’s approval of the pilot program for a mental health response team to assist the police department, which is expected to begin operating this year. In addition, she championed a moratorium on gas and oil drilling in the city, and rejection of the franchise agreement renewal for the natural gas pipeline that runs through the city. That has resulted in an ongoing lawsuit by the operator of the pipeline. The councilwoman is now pushing for a moratorium on new gas stations in the city.

For the past two-and-a-half years Wilson has been the least controversial member of the council majority that has approved rental housing protections, a homeless motel for transitional housing, reversal of a $750,000 grant for six police officers to serve as School Resource Officers on Antioch middle and high school campuses, multiple cannabis dispensaries and businesses, a ban on the sale of certain tobacco products and the sale or transfer of tobacco retail businesses including to other family members, a gerrymandered council district map, hiring their own part-time secretaries, as well as the hiring of the current city manager, who she later voted to place on paid administrative leave pending at least two investigations.

According to her LinkedIn page, Wilson has held a total of six jobs since 2009. She is unmarried and has no children.

For more information about Wilson’s campaign visit

Antioch Council to change how meeting agendas are set, changing to rotated mayor may have to wait until 2032

Wednesday, May 31st, 2023
In Mayor Thorpe’s absence, Mayor Pro Tem Torres-Walker (center) leads the Antioch Council meeting Tuesday, May 30, 2023. Video screenshot

Elections attorney says if it’s possible it would require a citizens’ initiative but no case law; one resident calls switching to rotated mayor is “coup d’état”, part of “right extreme agenda”; Torres-Walker refutes

By Allen D. Payton

During the special Antioch City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, with Mayor Lamar Thorpe absent while on a trip to Mexico, the council moved forward on several changes to how their meeting agendas would be set. They also heard from an elections attorney that changing to an annually rotated mayor among council members instead of directly elected may not be possible mid-decade. If it’s possible, the council couldn’t place the matter on the ballot but would require a citizens’ initiative.

During public comments on the first item regarding the agenda setting process several residents spoke on both sides of the matter. Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker who ran the meeting reduced the public speaking time from three to two minutes.

The first resident to speak, Erica Ralston said she wants police reform and rent control on the agenda.

“I do not want this to sidestep the biggest issue in Antioch at this time,” said resident Leslie May. “This is a game changer…a historic move with the police changes. I don’t want anything that happens tonight from the focus on the Antioch Police Department…to rid our police department of undesirables.”

Dr. Geoffrey Klingler said, “I salute you. This is an important topic. You have people in your districts whose concerns you’re supposed to represent. The process needs to be fair and equitable for all in this city. Hopefully, this is just the beginning for council members to take the personal biases out of running this city. Good luck.”

Resident Julia Aymachoque spoke in favor of a four-year term for the mayor saying, “We need unified leadership. This right extreme agenda calling for the mayor to serve only a one-year term must be stopped. We don’t welcome this covert coup d’état. If possible, we should only have one election district. We need…five representatives working together.”

Resident Andrew Becker said, “This is a long time coming to our community. What the council majority has asked for is a fair process for getting things on the agenda. It’s been difficult as a community member to watch those items get to the agenda from council members, I’ve requested them of. It’s not fair. It’s time we have a new process. I support the power of two…with one council member to get another council member to support bringing something forward to the council agenda.”

Frank Sterling spoke next saying, “I do wish we could have started off with your discussion so we could hear what you all are thinking. If you can’t do it, then it’s really tough to see our items get on the agenda.  However, it turns out, I’m kind of glad it’s happening. So, good luck.”

Devin Williams said, “This puts us all in an awkward position. The fact that we have a special meeting on bringing items on the agenda before the mayor…we have a system that is working. We have a process, and we have to wait whether it’s six months, nine months or a year. I don’t think you’re being misrepresented if you have to wait. If you want something to come up and the only person to bring it is the mayor, then organize. So be it. Come to these meetings. Go knock on doors. Come talk to your people. Mayor Thorpe is not going to work in bad faith against it.”

Resident Francisco Torres then said, “We can’t forget the accountability of the police. It’s going to be quite a while. Probably two years. Thank you for bringing this to the community. The way I view it is Government 101. Sometimes there comes a time when you need to look at things. In the end it’s what’s best for the community. I think it’s important the community knows what’s going on. People are starting to get involved more and more and that’s a good thing.”

Ralph Hernandez said, “Tonight’s meeting is another perfect example that you’re not listening to the public. You reduced it down to two minutes for tonight. Do you not have time for the public? When I was on the council public comments were five minutes. We worked until after midnight. Sometimes you reduce the public that shows up here…you cut it down to one minute. By the time they get their words together…times up. What more important things are there than listening to the public to come to you?”

“Yes, you shouldn’t have items that take six months to a year to come before you,” he added.

Resident Nichole Gardner said, “I just have to say on this agenda item, one, I think, I wish it didn’t even have to come to this. The voters that voted for the mayor knowing the authority he had. I don’t think it’s fair for you to take away his authority. Ya’ll staff is low. Staff is quitting left and right. That’s one of the reason Rosanna left. It’s just too much pressure on the staff. I think you all need to take that into consideration. Outside of the council he only has one vote. It undermines the voters. This is really, to me, this meeting is nonsense. I’m really surprised by the folks that wanted this to happen.”

Another resident, Tanita Travis said, “This just shows…more of a division instead of working on the things that should really come to the forefront like what is happening with the police. Number one is not that important to do in the middle of a term. It shows Antioch government is not a community of a whole as a council. It shouldn’t be. It’s not a good look. If you can’t get an item on an agenda…if there is a whole group of you. It doesn’t seem fathomable. There are other things that we could be meeting about. There are so many other issues we have. I just don’t understand it.”

Lucas Stewart-Chilcote then said, “I want to echo pretty much what the previous person said. It was puzzling to see when the agenda was posted. It is very odd to see the items on a special meeting. For agendas is it a lack of staffing? Can we have the agendas publicized a minimum of two weeks before? Can we bring back the virtual participation for public comments?”

Ronald Muhammad spoke next saying, “I moved to this city because I saw the opportunity, the potential.  I did not know the city is so…divisive. I would have never bought into this corporation called Antioch because I’m a shareholder. You guys are representatives of the people. But far too often you seem to be inputting your own things. You represent a base, a constituency base. People are waking up and they’re seeing the divisiveness. It shouldn’t be three-two votes every time. Can’t you agree on anything?”

Former Mayor Don Freitas said, “I’ve had the honor of being both council member and mayor. This item, and it has disturbed me for the past two years to see items not getting on the agenda. When I was mayor…I never, ever denied a council member from placing an item on the agenda. I would suggest anybody on the council, when you ask for something on the agenda, you have an action calendar…and you publish it as part of your agenda so people can see how long it’s taking. I have been greatly disturbed when you, all of you, have requested an item on the agenda and they don’t come for a month, several months.”

Resident Dorothy Ellis said, “I was disturbed, too by a special, called meeting. Is it distraction politics? Because what we should be focusing on is the police and healing. That is something that should be rectified among you. If we lose the police department because we can’t rectify this my property value takes a hit. I want to see us heal. I want to see us come together and not be divided by color. I want to see the community empowered by the people. If ya’ll can’t do that don’t run.”

Council Discussion on Setting Future Meeting Agendas

During council discussion of the item District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica said, “I want to give you a bit of history of how this came about, tonight. It surprises some people when this comes about. Mayor Pro Tem Torres-Walker and I have kept in regular contact. We don’t always agree. We talk after council meetings sometimes, on the weekends. She asked me to call her. We talked for several hours about our frustrations over the past two years.”

“This has nothing to do with one person. This has to do with the governance of this community,” he continued. “Can all of us get items on the agenda? This is for future councils to come so council members don’t feel they can’t get things on the agenda. We both agreed, good luck getting this on a future agenda to talk about.”

“Once two of us speak, we’re done, we can’t talk with anyone else on the council about a specific item,” Barbanica explained. “So, we agreed that yes, we will call for a special meeting and if there’s support amongst the council we will proceed with a special meeting We brainstormed about problems we’ve had over the past two years.”

“You’re right. We have a staffing problem,” he continued. “But what we’re seeing is extensive, extensive agendas for the meetings. We talked about that very thing, what is this doing to staff…and how this is bogging down the system. Good luck getting your item on the agenda. So, we talked about the amount of items and the time we spent here, with the public. We bounced ideas back and forth…with the number of agenda items, the number of hours…in a meeting. Council can vote during that meeting to extend those hours. We also spoke about the possibility of 90 days…instead of six months to come back. In addition to that, we talked about limiting the number of agenda items from council members.”

“We’re not looking to take the entire thing away from the mayor’s office. We’re looking for a way to make sure that everyone’s item gets on an agenda,” Barbanica shared. “If we run out of time, instead of saying it will be on some future agenda, that item will be number one on the next agenda. These are some of the things we talked about. Reserving the spaces for council members’ items to come back.”

“Public hearings and presentations take on a large portion of the meeting. So, we’re talking about discussing limiting the number of public hearings on an agenda. Hopefully, we can come to a consensus tonight. Nobody’s looking to take total authority away from the mayor’s office…on the agenda and in a timely fashion,” the District 2 Councilman concluded.

District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock spoke next saying, “I didn’t know these were the list of items. When I got on council in 2014, Councilwoman Wilson was already on the council and we couldn’t get items on the agenda. So, we set up a six-month timeframe. These are things that come up…these are people calling us, emailing us. I’ve recently found out we really don’t have a policy for the mayor setting an agenda. It used to be the mayor and the city manager would set the agenda. But that’s not happening, either.”

“It’s been very frustrating as a District 3 representative,” she continued. “If I can’t get anything on the agenda for the constituents in that area, it’s not fair. It’s not to take something away from anybody. It’s to be fair across the board.”

District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson said, “I’m sorry for all the confusion of this non-emergency emergency meeting. I definitely agree this process needs to be transparent. I, too, see that the staff is overworked. Yes, I do agree that there needs to be a process. I do wish this was a meeting we were all here for. I’m not a fan of an agenda item that doesn’t have a report attached to it. Whoever calls it needs to explain it. I think there should be a little more time. Again, I apologize for this very vague…meeting.”

Torres-Walker then offered her reasons for the special meeting and agenda item saying, “Myself and Councilmember Barbanica have been talking about how the agenda is set. I asked (former city manager) Ron Bernal…why do we have a list of like 20, 30 things that haven’t been brought back. And then it could take up to six months before they’re even brought back and when they’re brought back it’s simply as a discussion and then we decide to move foward. That is a clear absence of voice and diversity when the person you elected to council can literally in their term not get anything done because it could take up to six months or more for items to come back to the agenda. I know, there were definitely things when I came on this council were more than a year old and the council members who asked for them were no longer on council by the they came back.”

“When we’re talking about a right-wing or left wing agenda I’m not a bird. So, I don’t know what a left wing or right wing is. Since the diversity in this community…the system isn’t working. This isn’t about…who eventually ends up in the mayor’s position. This is simply about good governance. We operate in bad faith in democracy when people don’t see themselves in public policy. I also want to say this council majority absolutely has the authority to do this. But for two-and-a-half years we have tried to say, ‘OK, let’s wait’. But it hasn’t been working. This is within our authority. I didn’t run for office to sell all my values to get something on the agenda. When you say ‘oh, the council is divided’… that didn’t just start. Day one there has been division. Not necessarily in personal relationships because some residents are surprised Councilman Barbanica have figured out to have an open dialogue and relationship. This is about how things can come back in a timely manner.”

“Fortunately, for me, I’m not looking to climb a political ladder so, I’m not afraid,” she continued. “I do think it’s reasonable to have a time to have things come back to the agenda. I do think it’s absolutely reasonable to look at the agenda and make sure that it’s not so packed.”

“When you have 10, 20 things on an agenda and we have to get through all of them in one night, you are going to get one minute to speak,” Torres-Walker stated. “This is probably the most diverse discussion this council has ever had. Why hasn’t this discussion never happened a long time ago. I’ve been able to move things through the agenda. I had to step back, my peers up here on the council should also be able to move some things on the agenda whether they have the votes or not.”

She then asked City Attorney Thomas L. Smith his thoughts “on how we can move forward in making some changes.”

“There is a municipal code that states these processes can be codified in a resolution,” he responded. “You seem to have several items…on those things you can reach consensus…that resolution could come back at a subsequent meeting.”

Ogorchock then said, “There have been several times and several meetings when things come up for discussion and there hasn’t been a staff report. We do this on a regular basis.”

“I have also seen some items come to this agenda with no background…for discussion,” Torres-Walker said. “Everything is urgent except better government. We are not dismissing that we have 18 incidents of firearms in our community. This isn’t overshadowing policing…housing and tenants’ rights. None of that. This is happening so we can have items come back on the agenda.”

Members of the audience yelled out from their seats attempting to disrupt the meeting.

“Calm down, calm down. This is just a discussion. We’re about to have a round robin to see what’s coming back. This isn’t going away,” Torres-Walker said trying to control the meeting but didn’t use the gavel. “This city has been understaffed and staff has been underpaid since 2017. Look if you want to fight for the mayor that’s another discussion.”

“We have not violated the Brown Act,” the mayor pro tem said in response to an accusation by a member of the public.

Barbanica then began reading through the seven points he and Torres-Walker developed.

He and Ogorchock agreed on 11 p.m. to be the meeting limit.

“That’s already in place,” Wilson said. “I didn’t say yes or no.”

People continued to yell out from the audience.

“I agree, as long as we start adhering to it,” Barbanica said.

“Anything not handled at a council meeting, those items will be on the next agenda and those items will be the first ones on the next agenda,” he added.

“I agree with that,” Ogorchock said.

Gardner continued to yell out from the audience.

“Placing a maximum of seven items on the agenda, three reserved for council members,” Barbanica said.

“I don’t know about this one, yet,” Ogorchock said. “I don’t know if I want to do a number of items. I just want to go back to the timeframe.”

“So, I say we stick to the timeframe,” Torres-Walker said.

“I’m fine with that,” Barbanica stated.

“Three items reserved for council members,” he than offered.

“The mayor and the city manager already set the agenda,” Torres-Walker said. “There be at least three of those that come back.”

Those in the audience continued to yell out.

“Wait. Just a second. So, I’m wondering. My thing is like, we done already heard the voices of people who agree and don’t agree,” Torres-Walker said, again trying to control those yelling out. “You can keep disrupting the meeting but it’s not going to disrupt the vote. This is just direction. I’m not going to say what I’m thinking because it won’t look good for your mayor.”

People continued to yell out.

Ogorchock then said, “If there were some really important things that need to come forward, like the budget…I’d like to have one or two things on there.”

“I’m OK with two,” Barbanica said.

Wilson said, “I prefer three. But, yeah. Whatever. I can deal with three.”

“The six-month list will be changed from a six-month to a 90-day list,” Barbanica then offered.

Wilson said she was concerned about emergency items that might come up.

“The six-month process is just not working,” Barbanica said.

“We would spend one council meeting just talking about all the items that are a year out,” Torres-Walker stated.

“It’s longer than that,” Ogorchock added who also said she was fine with the 90 days.

“I’m fine with the ninety days,” Wilson said.

Acting City Manager Forrest Ebbs said, “Speaking for staff, it always seemed strange to bring things back without a staff report…to give you some context for a discussion.”

“I know when Ron Bernal was here he said

“There are a lot of practices that have been handed down. But I think this is the right time to change things,” Ebbs said.

“Definitely within the next two meetings,” Attorney Smith said about bringing back the resolution on changing how agendas are set. “I’m very confident that it could be in the next two and if it’s possible, the next meeting. No later than June 27th and if possible, the next meeting June 13th.”

The other council members agreed to the timeline for the resolution to be brought back to the council for a vote.

Item 2 – Consider the process to transition to five council districts and switch from a directly-elected

“This came up because I was at an electoral event,” Torres-Walker said. “The next time I saw them they were the mayor. I asked them how does that work? We should discuss that in Antioch if other cities are doing it. Is it fair? Does it add diversity to the role? If it gets to rotate you get more diversity in the government. None of the other folks from Pinole and other councils seem to have a problem with it.”

“This was something that was voted on 10 years ago in Antioch and failed, miserably,” she added. “This isn’t the same community it was 10 years ago. I thought it would make sense to bring it back and discuss it, now.”

“We both know this would go to the voters. We would not make a decision up here.

It would be extremely unlikely this would affect the current mayor. This is about the future. This is not to remove a current mayor. That was never the discussion. Would it make to go to a fifth district as other councils.

Attorney Smith said he had an elections attorney available to answer questions during the meeting as a panelist on Zoom.

“It was voted down in 1994,” Ogorchock stated.

Also in 2012, someone added.

During Public Comments on the item resident Ramesh Shuman said, “This has been tried in so many cities and it has been very successful. I think this would be a good time to try it…to give each person a chance to bring new ideas that we have not heard in the past. But this would not be for this term.”

“This is a dictatorship in content. I do not want any of you mayor, ever,” said Julia Aymachoque. “But you are forcing yourself to that position, no matter what. Reducing the term of the mayor to one year…is a terrorist threat to all of us. An attack on Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe is an attack on all Antiochians, democracy and U.S. Constitution. The right extreme agenda, a systemically racist move and we want you to stop this monstrosity. Let the mayor be the mayor for four years. Defund the police, pay for the lawsuits, create instead social safety net.” (Nichole Gardner could be seen standing, clapping and saying, “yes” in response).

Andrew Beckers spoke passionately saying, “Council worked very hard to say this is not an attack on Mayor Thorpe. I think this item would come forward on next year’s ballot which we would all vote as a community. The good majority of cities in this state follow this practice. This city does not have a strong mayor. But our mayor has acted strongly for a long time. This mayor is a city council member who chairs a board. This same mayor that everybody is supporting is not here. Everybody deserves to have a voice, all of our elected officials and I applaud this.”

Frank Sterling said, “I understand we get to vote on it. I look forward to hearing…about how it works.”

Former councilman Ralph Hernandez said, “This is a item that I think really needs to be thought out. I’m not opposed to it. That depends. All of you represent a part of the community under this district voting, I call it B.S. I think we should eliminate district voting and go back to electing all council people. I don’t think we can really address this particular item, yet…until hearing from the public. When you have elected officials we want them to represent all of us.”

Resident Lucas Stewart-Chilcote said, “The previous agenda item I felt some equity. This is different. What are the advantages to this? Should we do the United States of America president as a one-year rotation? What other advantages is there to be the mayor to keep it fair? Are there other roles…what would you all get out of it?”

Francisco Torres said, “I also noticed most cities are going for five rotated mayors. I think that’s a good idea. That way each one of you gets the chance to be the mayor and run the agenda and run the meetings. Every district has a voice, and those voices need to be heard. We’ve only been doing it for 200 years. I do believe in district council people because you have to answer to 25,000 constituents. They have someone to go to. Good luck and see where it lands.”

Ronald Muhammad spoke next saying, “This is not about a person we’re talking about processes. That’s why I keep talking about the Brown Act. The people are being taken out of the process. ‘The people shall not give up their sovereignty’,” he quoted. “What constituency base brought this to you or did you bring this up? Whose stuff are you bringing forward or is it your stuff? That’s why I keep yelling Brown Act, Brown Act. It seems like other things are going on. If you want to beat Thorpe run against him. Beat him at the polls. Brown Act violation.”

Dorothy Ellis then said, “I totally disagree having four to five districts…it should not be a shared responsibility. If he’s not doing his job then it should be us voting him out. You haven’t provided us anything. You want us to take you at your word. We don’t want you to circumvent the process. This is called a special meeting and it’s only a discussion. You done took my time and you’re not voting on anything.”

Susannah Williams said, “I’m in support of districts. Mayor Pro Tem Torres-Walker’s district has a voice for the first time, ever. We voted to elect a mayor. I don’t think a rotated mayor works as good with districts. I see this as a little premature and distracting. If you have to go through that redistricting process it could be nowhere as fair as the districts are, today.”

Kimberly Kidd-Bailey spoke next saying said, “I’ve been an Antioch resident for 23 years and I just started coming to the council meetings. What’s going to happen with all the police stuff…with all the other items I heard? What all are you doing for the public? About the mayor thing…you guys are bickering amongst each other calling each other names. Why would I want you to be mayor for one year?

“I heard someone all you racist or white privileged last time,” she said looking at Ogorchock. “I don’t want you representing me if you’re like that.”

Resident Devin Williams said, “I believe in the democratic process. I believe we deserve to elect somebody and let them lead. Not everybody who is going to rotate into this chair will represent everyone. We need to have consensus when we go to the voting booths when we’re voting for the mayor. It was voted against I 2012. There are other issues we need to be worried about than this foolishness, tonight. I respect those wanting to do this but we shouldn’t have the discussion without the mayor here.”

Don Freitas spoke next saying, “The issue before us is not about Lamar Thorpe. The issue is do you want five districts or an elected mayor. The reason cities go to an elected mayor is when they get large and the issues are complex. Frankly, I would just strongly suggest you to not have a rotating mayor. You want someone who represents the entire community and is answerable to all the people. I’ve seen the squabbles with rotating mayors. There are just some people on council who should not be mayor. It’s a whole new level. It’s more complex. I really hope you don’t put this on the agenda next year.”

Allison Norris was the last from the public to speak saying, “I was the person that messaged you, Tamisha, and you got back to me. I’m in District 3, but first and foremost I’m an Antioch citizen. One of the reasons we’re divided, we’re divided on race. Just because I’m white doesn’t mean I don’t care about Tamisha’s districts. And comments like what was said about Lori, last week is not right.”

Council Discussion on Rotating Mayor

Elections attorney Mel Richardson co-chair of Walnut Creek-based law firm Best Best and Krieger’s election law practices group, joined the meeting via Zoom.

In response to questions from Barbanica he said, “these issues are governed by California Elections statute in the FAIR MAPS Act,” he said. “Of four plus one or five districts. There’s actually a threshold issue that needs to be addressed…whether or not it can even go forward.”

According to the bill, AB 849 which became law in 2019, FAIR MAPS stands for Fair And Inclusive Redistricting for Municipalities And Political Subdivisions.

“The FAIR MAPS Act was significantly revised before the last redistricting process,” Richardson continued. “After redistricting…a council shall not adopt new council district elections until after the next decennial census except in three instances: settlement of a lawsuit, or if the city boundaries change. This applies here because when you change from four districts to five districts you rejigger through redistricting. This statute is not perfectly clear because it says the council is prohibited from creating new council districts. It doesn’t address the initiative process. An initiative cannot accomplish what a council cannot accomplish. So, it’s possible that it couldn’t be accomplished by initiative. But that’s not been tested.”

When the council transitioned to districts in 2018, the FAIR MAPS Act became applicable,” he added.

“This would have to be brought to a ballot. This is not our decision. Then the people would have to decide. That is the pathway, correct?” Barbanica asked.

“Yes,” the elections attorney replied. “But we’d have to do a deeper dive. There is no case law. An initiative would have to be used. But it’s even possible that may not be allowed.”

Government Code 34886 is exactly where you want to go for these different kinds of districts,” he said in response to a question from Torres-Walker. “But that section punts over to the MAPS Act and that is governed by the timing in the Elections Code.”

“We always understood this is not a council action,” Barbanica said. “We’ve received lots of feedback from members of the public over the last week.”

“Having discussions like these to understand what’s possible…I don’t change,” Torres-Walker said. “Even if we have a discussion about this, I’m not afraid to bring things up. I’m also not intimidated by this. Because the public has a right to know. Thank you, city attorney…because now we know the parameters.”

“I think the fear is very concerning to me,” she continued. “When you say we aren’t dealing with Black issues up here…I don’t remember police reform…tenant protections being brought up before.”

“Sometimes open communication is what actually opens relationships not closed minds,” Torres-Walker added.

She then moved to adjourn the meeting and the motion passed 4-0-1 at 9:01 p.m.

Tickets still available to see author and former Trump advisor George Papadopoulos speak on book “Deep State Target” in Brentwood May 19

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Anti-gerrymandering redistricting reform gaining momentum in CA Legislature

Thursday, April 27th, 2023
The original gerrymander in 1812 of a Massachusetts State Senate district approved by Gov. Elbridge Gerry. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

AB 764 and AB 1248 would help end gerrymandering in the state as was done in Antioch and bring local redistricting into alignment with statewide and congressional redistricting standards

SACRAMENTO – A package of statewide redistricting reform bills that would help end gerrymandering and the abuse of local redistricting processes in California passed out of the Assembly Local Government Committee on Wednesday. AB 764 (Bryan) and AB 1248 (Bryan and Allen) have recently gained a groundswell of support, pushing the bills past a massive legislative hurdle and inching them closer to becoming law. It would stop what happened in Antioch by the council majority with Districts 2, 3 and 4. (See related article)

“The abuse of our redistricting processes by incumbent politicians is a statewide issue that requires statewide solutions if California is to build a fully inclusive and representative democracy that works for everyone,” said Jonathan Mehta Stein, Executive Director of California Common Cause. “Informed by evaluations of over 100 of local jurisdictions’ redistricting processes and conversations with dozens of community-based organizations, AB 764 and AB 1248 make this vision a reality.”

Backed by civil rights, good government, and community organizations, these bills would empower communities in the redistricting process and would help end gerrymandering at the local level by strengthening current redistricting protections and establishing independent redistricting commissions for larger local jurisdictions. 

AB 764 amends 2019’s FAIR MAPS Act (FMA), a bill that requires cities and counties to use standardized, fair redistricting criteria that prioritize communities when drawing district lines. The bill strengthens the FMA’s redistricting criteria, public engagement requirements, and transparency measures, and would extend its protections to additional local governments, like school boards. It would also prohibit incumbent-protection gerrymandering and would give the public greater control over a process that fundamentally should belong to them. 

Under AB 1248, all counties, cities, school districts, and community college districts with a population over 300,000 would be required to establish an independent redistricting commission before the 2030 redistricting cycle that meets their own local needs. If they do not act on their own, they would be required to utilize a more detailed default commission structure outlined in state law.

“Comprehensive redistricting reform is a long-term solution for building truly representative elections and a democracy that includes everyone,” said Laurel Brodzinsky, California Common Cause’s Legislative Director. “The momentum of AB 764 and AB 1248 shows there’s a real chance that California can end the abuse of our redistricting processes and set the national standard for prioritizing people over politicians.”

AB 764 is sponsored by California Common Cause, League of Women Voters of California, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California. AB 1248 is sponsored by California Common Cause, ACLU of Southern California, Asian Law Caucus, and League of Women Voters of California.

Registered Support for AB 764:

AAPIs for Civic Empowerment Education Fund, ACLU California Action, AFSCME, Alameda County Coalition for Fair Redistricting, Alliance San Diego, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, California Environmental Voters (formerly CLCV), Catalyst California, Central Coast Alliance United for A Sustainable Economy, California Common Cause, Communities for A New California (CNC), Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), Community Health Councils, Courage California, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Indivisible CA Statestrong, Indivisible Marin, Initiate Justice, Initiate Justice Action, Inland Equity Partnership, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of The San Francisco Bay Area, League of Women Voters of California, Oakland Rising Action, OC Action, Peninsula Family Service, San Francisco Rising, Secure Justice, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, The Resistance Northridge-indivisible, The Santa Monica Democratic Club, Thrive, the Alliance of Nonprofits for San Mateo County, Voices for Progress, Young Women’s Freedom Center

Registered Support for AB 1248:

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Southern California, California Common Cause, League of Women Voters of California, AAPIs for Civic Empowerment Education Fund, ACLU California Action, AFSCME, Alameda County Coalition for Fair Redistricting, Alliance San Diego, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Southern California, California Environmental Voters (formerly CLCV), Central Coast Alliance United for A Sustainable Economy, Community Health Councils, Courage California, Dolores Huerta Foundation, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Indivisible CA Statestrong, Initiate Justice, Initiate Justice Action, Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective, Inland Empire United, Inland Equity Partnership, OC Action, San Francisco Rising, Santa Monica Democratic Club, The Resistance Northridge-Indivisible

About Common Cause

Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.