Vote: Your loudest voice
All votes matter, no matter how insignificant one person may think. On Nov. 6, once again, we are all up to the plate and your vote is never more important than here in your own town, Brentwood. We all want to maintain our lead in far East County for uniqueness and fiscal health, continue our great plan for preserving our agricultural roots, while guiding a growing city with rewarding jobs and retail opportunities, nurture our great education system and support community camaraderie, and by keeping our infrastructure in pace with all of the above.
In late November, and for the next 18 months, we will begin the process of updating our General Plan. Who we put at the helm, as well as the public's vital input, will once again come to the forefront in the review of our city's guiding principle -- the way we want our city to grow and succeed, independent of developers and special interests.
To this end, Steve Barr will be a great mayor and representative for Brentwood. He is already a member of the General Plan revision committee and should continue in this role. He has proven in many a public forum that he is knowledgeable, articulate and he understands the fiscal and job growth challenges facing Brentwood. He will represent the city well in committee, county and state venues, and will encourage vital liaisons to bring essential resources to Brentwood.
Erick Stonebarger, a steadfast leader in city business as well as the agricultural base he so aptly represents, should be re-elected. Erick has always fully analyzed any situation and proposition presented to him, and we all know he does his homework and is smart as a whip. Bob Brockman, an ever-present advocate of our city, is a viable candidate. In a recent meeting with him, he expressed his passion and consummate knowledge of Brentwood's development. Also, a member of the GP revision committee, he is vital for the inclusion of past history and future goals for Brentwood. For your consideration, newcomer Carissa Pillow would also be a refreshing addition to the council. She will represent all Brentwood residents, no strings attached, and has sound new ideas.
In closing, I encourage residents to review all candidates election finance reports for Sept. 30 and Oct 20 on the city's website at www.ci.brentwood.ca.us. This is a window into who your candidates are and who is bankrolling their campaign. For instance, Mayor Bob Taylor has seven developers (three from Blackhawk Group, Lee Hancock Construction, John Wong-Mission Peak Construction, New Urban Communities-Sciortino, Thomas Properties), eight labor unions (sheet metal, plumbers, building industry, bricklayers, pipe fitters, Iron Workers, IBEW 302, Teamsters 315), and several special interest groups funding his campaign -- I wonder what their agenda is for our town through the mayor? Be involved, do your research, make an informed decision on voting day.
Community puts up sign
A great thing has happened in Knightsen after several years of stale community pride progress.
After 20 years the Town of Knightsen sign had somehow been destroyed and left for ruin. After several months in the hands of our Town Council to repair or fix the community sign, it decided it was not the communities, and that instead, the sign belonged to me. The Town Council washed its hands of it. This was so far from the truth. This was an insult to me and the many members of the community who supported KTAC back then. Many of those community members who were involved know the Town of Knightsen sign belonged to the community, and was paid for by fundraisers such as pancake breakfasts, shirts, cups, license plate frames, etc.
My disappointment in the lack of involvement by our current town leaders and leadership has grown over the past couple of years. Today, I am beginning to once again see residents stepping up on their own and getting involved again regardless of the town leaders' restricted involvement in their own community.
I congratulate and thank the several retired Knightsen volunteer firefighters and citizens who took it upon themselves to stop the stagnant community progress and pride. They not only repaired and replaced the town sign, it looks better than ever. This was not a KTAC action at all. In addition, they cleaned and weeded the entire corner making our community something to again be proud of. Thanks again to all of those who become unselfishly involved in their communities.
John A. Gonzales
"Mommy, is that sign for your school," my 9-year-old son asks. He's referring to my "Yes On Measure B" yard sign. What he doesn't realize yet, is that it is for his school too. This is the same little boy, who along with his young sister, yells at the top of his lungs when we drive down 18th Street: "There's your school, Mommy!" As always, when I see that huge black panther painted on the side of the gym memories coming rushing back. Memories of sunny day lunches in a crowded quad laughing and studying. There would be hacky sack games and Frisbee tossing.
There are other memories too -- winter lunches with flooded hallways forcing us to walk out and around through muddy grass to get to class. If you were old enough and lucky enough to drive, then you probably left to buy lunch and eat in a dry car. There was zero room in the cafeteria. It still is too small to accommodate the volume of students. There was just no way for builders in 1954 to know the growth in population Antioch would enjoy. The first time I saw the fences and gates built to change Antioch High to a closed campus, my thought was, "how are all those poor kids going to eat lunch?"
Measure B provides for many improvements, including a new cafeteria. This is the opportunity for Panther Country to show today's Panthers, elementary school Panthers and future Panthers that we have community pride in Antioch High. Please join me in voting yes on Measure B.
Debra (Flint) Seilhan
Leaders need to open their eyes
An open letter to Antioch city leaders:
I am writing you all because I feel I have to. One main reason is the upcoming elections, and my second is how any of you can honestly feel you deserve another term for the city of Antioch?
It really personified itself for me on Oct. 26 when I had to get my tires checked for a low- tire pressure light that came on, taking my car to be fixed at 2024 A St. I felt like I was in the middle of the Tenderloin in San Francisco, having to step over the trash and vomit along the sidewalks past Starbucks and Wendy's. Have any of you actually spent any time in this area and really looked at it? I felt depressed, disgusted and worried for my safety. I don't know what was the most troublesome part -- the trash, and the vomit/ human waste on the sidewalk that I had to step over, the homeless encampments in four separate strip malls that I could see, or just the fact I was glad my two small children were not with me to endure this horrific section of the city.
This city's direction is lost. This past week my daughter and son's school (John Muir) was put on lockdown, as the police searched apparently for some suspects who just had a shootout.
I visit a local barber with my son for haircuts, and they are moving locations because the shopping center is such a horrible place to be in, they are concerned that people such as myself and my son will stop coming.
Questions that need to be asked, should be: How many new family returants have opened in Antioch? Why did Carppacio's Italian restaurant leave? Why are so many smoke /cigarettes shops allowed to touch almost every section of the city and no small family businesses sprouting up? Where are you all taking this city?
I have written all of you in the past and only one of you, Gary Agopian, ever responded, about other past issues. I see the city littered with your vote for signs and not sure why so much time can be taken to place these signs and work on your re-election and no time is spent to clean this city up.
Where have you all been for the last 10 years? I hope this email stirs up enough courage that all of you as a group walk down the same sidewalk I did yesterday, and figure out how you as elected officials are going to make that difference starting with this letter.
Paul Banducci and family
Vote yes on Measure B
I am a lifelong Antioch resident, and a 1974 graduate of Antioch High School. For all voters in the Antioch Unified School District, please support and vote yes on Measure B. The bond will allow the district to renovate and modernize Antioch High, which was built in 1954. It has never had any major repairs done to it.
Our future students, teachers and staff deserve to be in new buildings with modern and up-to-date technology, as we have long outgrown the old 58-year-old high school.
Again, we need your help. So on Nov. 6, vote yes on Measure B to support the modernization of Antioch High School!
Endorsements for Council
We are endorsing Ron Borland, Doug Hardcastle and Doug Hansen for Oakley City Council, and Mike Hudson for 11th Assembly District.
While some say that Borland is too angry, we are personally glad that someone in this city is as angry as we are. There have been too many irresponsible decisions made by our city council. Kevin Romick's candidate statement implies that the council has done a good job in light of the $2 million in decreased revenue and the loss of redevelopment agency funds. If that is the case, then why did he vote to give Manuel Munoz a $1.8 million loan to build Carpaccio's knowing he was close to bankruptcy, or pay $6 million to CentroMart for the worn -out Oakley Plaza, and allow Caltrans put up signage on the Highway 4 bypass directing traffic away from downtown Oakley for the last four years, and last of all, reduce Main Street to two lanes, thereby eliminating the turn lanes at Vintage Parkway?
It further states that the city employees have 23 unpaid furlough days, while he joined three other council members in voting to generously give their boss, Bryan Montgomery, a $367,000 deal on his mortgage. Yes, we think there is plenty to be angry about and changes that need to be made from the top down. Romick still doesn't get it that the citizens and businesses in Oakley have a voice. His statement declares that the Chamber of Commerce Almond Festival will be held downtown, even though every business owner with whom we have spoken, does not want Main Street closed for the parade or the festival, blocking access to businesses and bringing in outside food vendors to compete with the few struggling restaurants we currently have.
But the council has apparently made its decision, although, since it's the Chamber of Commerce Almond Festival, we're not sure why it gets a vote.
Doug Hardcastle has his business in Oakley and it's time that business had a voice on the city council and we are hoping that his voice will be a strong one. He is well aware that existing businesses have not been treated fairly, are not listened to, and the city does very little to support those businesses who fund their very existence.
Last, but not least, David Hansen seems to have a very clear idea of what Oakley needs to sustain its growth -- better infrastructure, job growth, continued effective law enforcement and most of all, a higher degree of integrity and ethics at the council level. He realizes that a business-friendly and supportive city council and city management can stimulate economic development. He understands that the city council should listen to and serve the citizens of Oakley. And I suspect, as a police chaplain, a few extra prayers for our economy and community would be welcome by most.
Unfortunately, Diane Burgis' campaign is largely funded and supported by Jim Frazier, and since he was mayor when the Carpaccio and Montgomery deals were signed, we are unsure of her loyalties. She has done a good job with Marsh Creek, but the city of Oakley needs council members who are going to emphasize fiscal responsibility and economic development.
And, finally, please consider supporting Mike Hudson for Assembly, so we can avoid having irresponsible financial decisions carried up to the state level by Jim Frazier.
Gene and Michelle
Hook, Line & Sinker, owners
Measure B gets Nov. 6 support
Twenty years ago I had 500 kids, but unlike the lady who lived in a shoe, I knew what to do: Support our local schools. Many of my youth carriers who delivered the Daily Ledger have grown up to be responsible citizens. I'm proud of "my kids."
Students don't deliver newspapers anymore, but they still grow up. I'm supporting Measure B because I believe this bond measure is a responsible way to invest in our future. I think of it as every bit as important as my legacy in teaching kids the importance of service, collections and sales -- which they learned as part of their very first business experience. By just spending about $6 per month on my property taxes -- which have been reduced substantially over the past few years, I can ensure that my property values will rise as people throng to get into our schools due to the improvements in small learning academies at Antioch High school. The kids from my neighborhood will get the same great learning environment and sports facilities that the kids at the "new" Antioch schools get.
I've served on the Bond Review Committee for Measure C and have been impressed with the careful management of our tax dollars. We've gotten a lot of bang for our bucks. But if the district were to issue more bonds, the payback on those bonds would be phenomenal, so having voters pass a new bond issue instead of using the old issue is in order.
Those of us who have been around for a while can be proud that we're leaving the same legacy as the original builders of Antioch High School in 1955. Let's continue this proud history.
Martha (Ferring) Goralka
Ruehlig for City Council
Please join us in voting for Walter Ruehlig for Antioch City Councilman on Nov. 6.
We worked with Walter on the committee to bring the July 4 celebration back to Antioch. We have found Walter to be a man of integrity and good will who can bring together a diverse group of citizens to work together amicably toward a common goal. Walter is a board member of the Antioch Unified School District. During his tenure, the district overcame a budget deficit and expanded the district to include the Dozier-Libby Medical High School and helped advance the concept of career-based learning academies in our high schools. Also, Academic Performance Index (API) scores have improved consistently during his tenure.
Google Walter's name on the Internet to learn more about his accomplishments in education, music appreciation and his efforts for worldwide peace. We are truly fortunate to have a man of Walter's caliber running for a seat on the Antioch City Council.
Wayne and Carole Harrison
Disappointed in shop's closing
As a decade-long donor and customer of the Hospice of the East Bay Thrift Shoppe in Antioch, I was very disappointed to read that it is closing. I have a great respect for the community service that hospice provides to families that are dealing with the critical illnesses of loved ones, and they were always the first place I went to give donations.
I thought it was wonderful they could also provide a place where disadvantaged folks (and everyone else) were able to find reasonably priced secondhand goods, and I've never set foot in the store without there being multiple customers. It's laughable for general manager Patricia Wright to claim they were unable to find a new location in Antioch. It displays the sort of mendacity I might expect from a crooked politician rather than a representative of a charitable organization. Perhaps there are people who need the "upscale vintage boutiques" she imagines most of her stores to be, but at this time I'm betting more folks just need a regular old thrift store.
Hudson deserves our support
Suisun City Vice Mayor Mike Hudson topped the primary elections for Assembly member, District 11. That's quite a feat considering that he was behind four to one in fundraising compared to his opponent.
Today's voters are no longer easily fooled by expensive, big colorful signs with the candidate's photo and dozens of glitzy campaign fliers.
For many years, we've been "represented" by assembly members who never really timely brought our greatest concerns to Sacramento. Note the elimination of redevelopment agencies that our current representatives voted for, to the detriment of all our Solano County cities. Note the dumping of state prisoners into our local prisons.
We need a stronger representative in the capitol -- that's Hudson who has the passion and dedication for real, effective public service. Being a successful business owner, Hudson knows how unnecessary regulations hamper economic growth. He has supported our agenda of a balanced budget without layoffs and no increase in taxes or fees.
Hudson listens to everyone. He devotes extra time meeting with constituents, shows interest in their needs and acts timely to resolve problems. Hudson is against gridlock, totally pro-business and is a big supporter of public education and public safety.
This coming November elections, it's an easy choice. Vote for Hudson for State Assembly, District 11
Pete Sanchez, mayor
Jane Day, city council member
Support Ricky Gill
As a business owner in East County, I have had the opportunity to meet and speak with Ricky Gill on several occasions about issues that are critically important to East County residents. He understands that it is the private sector that creates jobs and growth -- not the government. What becomes obvious when talking with Gill is his intelligence and grasp of the issues that are facing our county, state and country.
Gill is clearly the right choice to represent the East County and would be a welcome relief over the benign leadership currently being exercised by "status quo" representative Jerry McNerney, who is the poster boy for the administration's multiple failures.
For our future, I strongly urge you to vote for Ricky Gill and his fresh ideas.
Let your East County neighbors know what you think about issues of the day by writing a letter to the editor.
Send letters to Editor, The News, 1700 Cavallo Road, Antioch, CA 94509, or email them to email@example.com or fax them to Judith Prieve at 925-706-2305.
Letters should be signed. Both letters and email should include the daytime phone number and address of the writer. The information will not be printed but rather used for verification purposes.
We reserve the right to edit or not publish letters deemed potentially libelous, that are ads for local businesses or are otherwise unsuitable for a family newspaper.
Also, we are looking for guest commentaries, especially on local issues. Please send your guest commentaries to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. If you have any questions, call 925-779-7178.