Archive for the ‘Rivertown’ Category

Antioch to lock boat ramp parking lot gate at night to prevent sideshows

Monday, August 7th, 2023
A car can be seen doing donuts in the Antioch boat launch parking lot in late July 2023. Herald file photos

Plus, barrier between parking lots

“Maybe we can sleep, again at night” – Rivertown resident Joy Motts

Council members, Rivertown residents meet with city staff to find solutions; Barbanica proposes ordinance to fine spectators

By Allen D. Payton

A meeting was held last Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023 among council members, Rivertown residents, business owner and city staff to develop solutions to the problems with sideshows in and near the Antioch Boat Ramp and Marina parking lots. Residents have been complaining about the noisy, late-night activity waking and keeping them up at night. (See related article) (See related videos here and here)

The meeting and this last weekend’s activities resulted in the first solutions. Acting City Manager Kwame Reed announced in an email to councilmembers on Monday, that the City will be locking the gate to the boat ramp parking lot from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. In addition, a barrier will be placed between that parking lot and the one that serves the Antioch Marina and the restaurant.

In the meeting was District 3 Councilman Mike Barbanica who requested it, Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker whom he invited because she represents District 1, Reed, Acting Public Works Director Scott Buenting, Antioch Police Sgt. Rob Green, Joy Motts and other Rivertown residents, and the owner and manager of Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill.

“We discussed all the issues that were occurring in the boat launch parking lot and how it’s affecting the surrounding areas, downtown neighborhoods and residents,” Barbanica stated. “Second, we discussed increased enforcement in areas where people congregate for sideshows.”

“Scott Buenting had done some research prior to the meeting and found some raised delineators that allow cars to drive through the parking lot but prevent the sideshow activity,” the councilman shared. “He will research the cost and availability as well as the distance they need to be placed to prevent cars from spinning donuts. Depending on the cost, it may have to be brought back to the council for a vote.

“Third, while in the meeting, I sent an email requesting an ordinance to be brought to the council as an agenda item to fine onlookers at sideshows,” Barbanica said. “Lamar (Mayor Thorpe) responded that this was something the chief was supposed to be working on, but it got sidetracked.”

After the reports of Sunday morning’s sideshows Motts said, “It is so out of control down here, every night. We met with city staff, last week. They have some plans, but it it not enough. We need action and help, now!”

When reached for comment on Monday about closing the boat ramp parking lot gate announced today, she said, “That’s something we spoke about in the meeting. I think this absolutely had to be done. The sideshows were going on, again last night. They were right back at it.”

“Also, just last night someone drove down Second Street going 100 MPH, it was estimated by a witness,” she continued. “Plus, a neighbor told me a driver was drifting his car on the wrong side of L Street, while someone was filming to show the police station in the background. Sgt. Green told me they share it on social media, so more people come.”

About closing the boat ramp parking lot gates Motts added, “I’m praying. Maybe we can sleep again, at night.”

Three Antioch sideshows: one injured, another arrested, two car crashes with one into river at boat launch

Monday, August 7th, 2023
A car is removed from the river at the Antioch Boat Launch where it crashed during one of three simultaneous sideshows early Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023. Photo courtesy of Mike Burkholder.

Driver wanted for same in Santa Clara County; two other drivers flee scenes; water main broken at marina parking lot

By Sgt. Price Kendall, PI Liaison, Community Engagement Unit, Antioch Police Department

On Sunday, August 6, 2023, at approximately 2:51 AM, the Antioch Police Department dispatch center began receiving calls that a sideshow was developing at the Antioch Marina and boat ramp parking lots. As officers were setting up to disperse the sideshow, a vehicle fled from the marina at a high rate of speed with no lights on. An officer initially began to follow the vehicle, but terminated the pursuit because the officer saw the fleeing vehicle’s hood was blocking the windshield.

The vehicle ultimately crashed at W. 9th and G Streets causing major injury to an unrelated Antioch citizen and damaging a city water hydrant. The victim was in her 50’s and she was transported to the hospital in critical condition. After the collision, the driver fled from the vehicle, but he was apprehended after a short foot pursuit. The 21-year-old male suspect was arrested for felony reckless driving, and felony hit and run. He also had a no bail warrant out of Santa Clara County for side show activity.

While officers were on scene at W. 9th and G Streets, the sideshow activity at the boat launch continued until a vehicle spun into the water and another vehicle collided with a water hydrant and a water main at the marina parking lot. Neither driver was identified as each fled from the scene prior to police arrival. All three incidents were simultaneous, and they all were related to the sideshow activity.

Antioch mail carrier robbed of postal keys Friday

Sunday, August 6th, 2023

Up to $50,000 reward offered

By Allen D. Payton

Postal Inspector Matthew Norfleet, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, San Francisco Division Mail Fraud Team reports an armed robbery of a mail carrier around 2:27 p.m. Friday afternoon, August 4, 2023 in the 3000 block of G Street, Antioch CA. The robber stole postal keys. The carrier was not injured.

Our reward stands, up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who did this robbery or any other assault or robbery of a postal worker. Please contact postal inspectors 24 hours a day at 877-876-2455.

Groove Ride to end Antioch’s Free Summer Concert Series Saturday evening in Rivertown

Friday, August 4th, 2023
Source: City of Antioch

The City of Antioch’s Summer Concert Series ends with Groove Ride performing in historic Rivertown’s Waldie Plaza this Saturday evening, August 5 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Groove Ride is an 8- to 11-piece band from the San Francisco Bay Area formed on April 5, 2012, by Doc Robinson and David “Kidd Funk” McAllister.  We have 2 simple goals; make people dance; and let them see a show!  We deliver the sound of the top party/dance bands from the 70’s to the present, along with a high-powered show filled with fun and energy!  You don’t want to miss our tributes to some of the greatest party bands of all time such as Earth, Wind & Fire, The Gap Band, Chic and Huey Lewis & The News.

Downtown “donuts”, speeding cycles rile Rivertown residents

Saturday, July 29th, 2023
Cars can be seen doing donuts in the Antioch boat launch parking lot and at W. 2nd and L Streets next to the Antioch Police station in front of officers late nights in July, 2023. Screenshots from videos by a resident who chose to remain anonymous.

“It’s happening at 11 p.m., 1 a.m., 3 a.m. No one sleeps in downtown anymore.” – Joy Motts, former Councilwoman and Rivertown resident

Says Torres-Walker ignoring complaints although pledged to work with Motts on downtown issues; Torres-Walker claims she has been in contact with chief and Rivertown residents

Barbanica setting up meeting with chief, proposes hiring retired cops to supplement APD

By Allen D. Payton

Rivertown residents are fed up with the donut-spinning cars in downtown Antioch intersections and at the boat launch parking lot at the end of L Street near the police station, almost every night. They want something done about it and are considering taking things into their own hands. (See videos here and here)

Former Councilwoman Joy Motts said their complaints have fallen on deaf ears as Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker in whose District 1 the illegal activities are occurring because “she never responds”. So, Motts reached out to District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica who is working to set up a meeting with residents and APD.

“This goes on every night, sometimes for hours… 11pm, 1am, 3am. No one sleeps in downtown anymore. It’s waking people up. And it happens during the day,” Motts said on Wednesday, July 26, 2023. “When they take off, they run through every stop sign. They are going to kill somebody, maybe one of my family or my neighbors.  We are at our wits end.”

“Then yesterday, three motorcycles raced down W. 2nd Street by the (old lumber company) lot going 80,” she continued. “They’re in our neighborhoods during the day. Almost every intersection is covered with tire marks. It’s just lawlessness.”

“Because we’re a grid they just stream though the intersections running stop signs,” Motts stated. “Two of my daughter’s friends have been hit in their cars by people running stop signs. They got broadsided.”
“They come down here nightly and it’s just terrorizing the whole downtown neighborhood,” she shared. “They spin around in the boat launch parking lot, and we can hear them blocks away. We’ve called the police and they say we’ll let the others on patrol know about it.”

Multiple tire marks can be seen in the boat launch parking lot at the end of L Street and in the intersection of W. 2nd & L Street next to the Antioch Police station on Wednesday, July 26, 2023. Photos by Allen D. Payton

Motts Suggests Closing Access to Marina Area Parking Lots at Night

“I think they need to shut down the Marina and Smith’s Landing and boat launch parking lots at night. Ultimately, it’s a quality-of-life issue.

Asked if she’d contacted Torres-Walker who represents the area, Motts said, “she never responds to emails from any of us down here.”

“People are talking about hiring an attorney. People are talking about taking matters into their own hands which is a no-win situation and bad things could happen,” the former councilwoman shared. “They do this because they know they can with the reduced police force and there’s little to no enforcement.”

She believes the reduced police staffing level is a major contributor to the problem with currently 99 sworn officers on the force. That’s due to 16 vacancies of the 115 sworn approved in the budget. Plus, there are still 35 officers on paid leave due to the two investigations, including the one by the FBI and DA that began last year, and this year’s with the racist text scandal.

Motts said she contacted Barbanica who has suggested hiring retired police officers and a private security company.

“I’ve requested a meeting with the chief. Barbanica is working to get a meeting together to find solutions,” she added. “We need help.”

“My family has been here for over 100 years. and this is the first time we’re asking, ‘can we stay here?’” Motts exclaimed. “We’re afraid. When we slow down at a stop sign, we’re scared someone is going to fly through. We also hear gunfire a lot.”

“We pay taxes. We love our community. We love our downtown. We do events through Celebrate Antioch. We’re trying to improve things. But downtown, right now, is chaos,” she added.

Barbanica Proposes Hiring Retired Cops

At the end of the city council meeting on Tuesday, July 25, 2023 (see 4:32:45 mark of video), Barbanica proposed hiring retired cops to supplement Antioch’s police force.

Regarding “hiring of police personnel. We obviously have a shortage of police personnel, right now. In my opinion there are options,” he said. “It’s going to take years to get back up to staffing levels. He asked to have “a discussion…about hiring retired police officers that left in good standing. They can come in as non-sworn personnel. It’s much cheaper. There are no benefits involved. Essentially, they’re part-time employees. They can pick up the slack in investigations…in cold calls that come in, to free up the officers that are working the street for hot details.”

The department added two officers to the force in the past six months. Filling the vacancies at that rate will take four years. Plus, depending on how many officers are terminated following conclusion of the investigations, it will be more years to get to the 115 sworn officer positions.

When reached for comment Barbanica confirmed he’s been in contact with Police Chief Steve Ford to set up a meeting with Rivertown residents to discuss and find solutions to the challenges they’re facing.

Torres-Walker Pledged to Work With Motts on Downtown Issues

After last fall’s election Torres-Walker who committed to Motts to work with her to help the Rivertown area. As previously reported, following the first-hand recount of the ballots, Torres-Walker said to Motts, “I don’t think I can do this without you. You love Antioch and I want to partner with you. I don’t know what people downtown want. You do. I want you to tell me, advise me and I want to work with you.”

The City’s mayor pro tem was asked by voicemail and email Friday evening and Saturday morning if what Motts said was true, that Torres-Walker hasn’t responded to emails from Motts and other Rivertown residents about the issues affecting them. She was also asked if she had contacted any of the residents to meet with them and the police department to address their concerns.

In response Torres-Walker wrote Saturday morning, “I have been in communication with the chief and a handful of residents who live in and near the housing development on 4th Street near the police department regarding these kind of issues and gun violence.”

Alice in Wonderland play continues this weekend in Antioch

Wednesday, July 26th, 2023
Photos provided courtesy of Louise Green.

Presented by Frank Ballesteros’ Madd Hatter Theater Company

Frank Ballesteros and his Madd Hatter Theater Company presents Alice in Wonderland play in Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown. The show continues this Friday through Saturday, July 28-30 at “The Green”(Louise Green’s) outdoor black-box theatre, 608 4th Street.

Source: Louise Green & Frank Ballesteros

Tickets available at the door: Adults $12, Seniors $10, Students and children $8.

Doors open 6:30 p.m. and the play begins at 7:00 p.m.

Adopt a kitty at Antioch’s K911 Animal Rescue in Rivertown

Tuesday, July 25th, 2023
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UPDATE: Search continued Saturday for man missing after falling off boat in river near Antioch Friday

Friday, July 21st, 2023
A Coast Guard helicopter searches river for man along Antioch waterfront Friday afternoon, July 21, 2023. Photos by Allen D. Payton

By Allen D. Payton

07/22/23 UPDATE #2: According to Jimmy Lee, Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office Director of Public Affairs, “On Friday, July 21, 2023, at about 1:51 PM, deputy sheriffs from the Marine Patrol Unit were dispatched to assist the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District and the United States Coast Guard with searching for a missing boater who was apparently trying to push his 20-foot vessel to shore near the Fulton Shipyard on the San Joaquin River. The U.S. Coast Guard and Sheriff’s Office drone team were also involved in the search. The missing boater, who is not being identified at this time, was not located. The Marine Patrol Unit will continue the search today.”

07/22/23 UPDATE #1: According to Coast Guard Public Affairs Specialist Schnabel, “We suspended the search after searching until around 7:30 pm. One man had fallen overboard from a recreational boat and the other man jumped in after him attempting to get him out of the water leaving the vessel unmanned. Neither had life jackets. One man was recovered by a Good Samaritan and taken to a local boat ramp.”


A helicopter could be seen flying over the river and Waldie Plaza along the Antioch waterfront Friday afternoon. According to Con Fire PIO Steve Hill, “We responded in the noon hour to reports of a 55-year-old man in the water. In spite of searches by us, Sheriff’s Office Marine program and the Coast Guard we were unable to locate him. We are clearing at this hour, the Coast Guard remains on scene.”

As of 4:25 PM Coast Guard 11th District Public Affairs Specialist Hunter Schnabel said, “the search is ongoing for a male. We received a report from another male who was swimming with him after he got back to shore and called in a panic.”

A Coast Guard helicopter flies over Waldie Plaza in Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown on Friday, July 21, 2023.

“We have Station Rio Vista and Air San Francisco’s MH65 Dolphins (helicopters) in the search,” he added.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.