Antioch's former mayor plans to reclaim the position he lost three years ago.
Donald Freitas, two-term mayor of East Contra Costa's largest city from 2000 to 2008, said he intends to run for the position next year.
"I love this community. Quite frankly, it's been very disturbing to see what's happened here the past four years," Freitas said. "There are a lot of residents that have become frustrated and angry; I want to move Antioch back in the right direction."
Freitas' candidacy likely will set up a fourth mayoral election showdown with longtime foe Jim Davis, who claimed the job from Freitas in 2008 after losing to him in 2000 and 2004.
Freitas, 56, criticized city leadership during a recent interview, saying there is a "bunker mentality" at City Hall.
"Even as difficult as the financial situation has been, it shouldn't paralyze you. Antioch cannot have an attitude where we're waiting for things to happen," Freitas said.
Among the concerns Freitas raised is Antioch's dismantling of its code enforcement program, cuts to public safety and the vacant economic development director position.
Freitas has kept a low profile since losing the 2008 race but said he has kept tabs on key city issues.
"I didn't want to seem like a disgruntled ex-mayor, and I wanted (Davis) to be successful. If I thought Antioch was going in the right direction, I wouldn't have considered running," he said.
Now retired from managing the Contra Costa Clean Water System, Freitas says he's excited about the prospect of having more time to devote to leading Antioch -- including lobbying regionally on the city's behalf.
"I think voters will have a very clear choice about if they want the status quo or an activist that will work to push Antioch forward," he said.
Previous campaigns between Freitas and Davis have been contentious, including legal complaints about a title on a ballot and negative fliers, campaign sign theft and an argument between the two that halted a City Council meeting in 2008.
Others rumored to be considering a run include Antioch Councilman Gary Agopian.
At least one City Council seat will also be open after Councilman Brian Kalinowski announced he will not seek a fourth term. Councilwoman Mary Rocha said she will seek re-election.
Candidates for office in 2012 will have to file paperwork next summer.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.