Antioch

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After serving Mayor Wade Harper with recall papers last Tuesday during the Antioch City Council Meeting, Antioch resident Rich Buongiorno is all business as he moves forward with his recall attempt.

Buongiorno, a 66-year Antioch resident, told the Mayor that he was given the opportunity to resign and did not so he was being recalled. After his statements, nine people spoke in support of Mayor Harper and his accomplishments as Mayor.

Buongiorno called the comments following his appeared to be a dog and pony show orchestrated by the Mayor that distracted from the issue at hand which the mayor was not doing his job or providing solutions to the crime taking place in Antioch or on Deer Valley Plaza.

He admits he could have had multiple people speak that supported the recall but it was unneeded at this point in time.

“The only thing that needed to be done that night was to serve him with the petition,” said Buongiorno. “Did I say more? Yes, but not much.”

For now, Buongiorno is focused on strategy of collecting enough signatures to get a recall onto the ballot by next year. He says organization and collecting manpower to assist in signature collections are his focus.

That process officially started Tuesday when the Mayor was served. On Thursday Oct. 16, the Recall Petition paperwork was filed with the Antioch City Clerk and the signatures were later verified by the Contra Costa County Elections Office. With the approval of the petition approved, the process can move forward.

“It’s been crazy since Tuesday night. I’ve been getting a lot of attention, but that was step one,” declared Buongiorno. “Now we are proceeding to step two and three—step one, Mayor Harper has been served. Step two is getting all the forms ready and prepared while step three is collecting signatures.”

For a recall vote to move forward, supporters must now gather signatures from 20% of registered voters in Antioch—approximately 8,772 voters over the next 180-days to send the recall to voters on the ballot.

According to Buongiorno, as of this week, he has 200 people who are willing to help collect signatures. He said there would be more as the effort gets wheels, but volunteers must be Antioch residents and registered to vote. He notes that each volunteer would only need to collect 45-valid signatures.

The decision to recall the mayor came after Buongiorno wrote an opinion piece and emailed it to the mayor and city council. The public provided him with 1,500 responses. The Mayor and Council did not even respond. (Note – we published the letter on Sept. 18)

“There was no response, there was nothing,” said Buongiorno.“I am only one person, but it has everything to do with the 1,500 people who feel the same. In that letter it tells you what he is not doing right. What did it is (for the recall to begin) was the non-response.”

He also accuses the mayor of being first in line for photo opportunities and speaking at “positive” events. He is very visible explained Buongiorno at those events. However, he is invisible when it comes to negative happenings around Antioch such as crime and refuses to speak to the media.

“When its photo opportunities, he is visible. When it comes to bad, he is not there,” explained Buongiorno. “I may not like Oakland Mayor Jean Quan or San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, but who do you see in the news supporting and communicating with the citizens? They are visible. By his own admission, Wade Harper does a lot of work in the background. It hasn’t worked. Whatever he does in the background is not working so he needs to do something else.”

According to Buongiorno, he has received a ton of emails and mail about Wade Harper. He said a lot of it is slanderous which he says he won’t use because he wants to stick to the issue at hand which is the job he is not doing as Mayor.

In fact, Buongiorno admits he voted for Mayor Harper in the last election because of what he campaigned on. Since election, he has not kept his campaign promises.

“I voted for Harper because I believed what he said which was he was a cop. To me in my mind, that meant he should have some knowledge of the crime and violence going on in the city,” explained Boungiorno. “I though with his background he could reach some of the folks committing crimes and violence. I thought he could pull them in and tell them this is not the way to go and change the atmosphere in Antioch. That did not happen. He was on the city council and did nothing.”

He also noted that Mayor Harper said his term as Mayor would become a full-time job that he had to quit his job. Now the Mayor is teaching classes at Antioch High School which is taking away from his duties as mayor.

While Buongiorno may be taking the lead in the recall, he says many people are ready to go out and get signatures which will likely begin in November—they are just waiting for the final okay to move forward.

Buongiorno was tight lipped about who was working with him in coordinating the efforts because its early in the process, but says a few candidates have emerged to replace Harper if he is actually recalled. After a vote next November, the potential candidates can announce their intention to run.

For the mayor to be recalled, in a recall election, it would take 50%+1 in support of the recall for Harper to be removed from office.

People have expressed interest to more than willing to assist in the process to recall the mayor both financially and with blood sweat and tears says Buongiorno.

“This is David vs. Goliath. I am just one guy who loves my city and wants to take it back from the riff-raff and make it a place where people want to come, open businesses, and feel safe walking down the street,” said Buongiorno.

 Below are comments from Buongiorno to Mayor Harper during the October 14 City Council meeting:

I didn’t get everything said in 3-minutes last time, basically 3-weeks ago. So consequently I am here again. I have a bit of an issue, a problem, it’s that if we ran the council and you ran in that council a department in private industry, you would be fired by now.

You sir have not done anything for your position and for this city. Not based on what your commitment to us was. Unfortunately this is an at will state, you are not at an at will position. Even if you are a business and had invested in you, our return on investment is non-existent, we would get rid of you.

So you aren’t part of an at will, you are not part of an investment, you are there for one reason and one reason only and that is because we the voters put you there. Sir, based on everything that you have done for the past two years and the two years prior to that and the two years prior to that associated with the City of Antioch has been questioned.

Mr. Turnage gave you the opportunity to resign and I believe your response was something similar to that is not going to happen. Fine, I certainly understand that, but we the voters. We have the last word and remember that.

Mr. Mayor you are being recalled. (Paperwork handed to the Mayor). I know that is not pleasant and I certainly understand that and I know right now you are probably ready to lash out. I know you are more of a man than that. I think you really should do what is good for the city of Antioch. And that is to step down.

At 12:08 pm Sunday, Antioch Police responded to San Jose Drive and Delta Fair for reports of shots fired and a rollover vehicle accident.

Upon arriving on scene in front of the Mira Vista Apartments, officers located an unoccupied parked vehicle struck after another vehicle was traveling in the westbound direction of San Jose Drive. Police located a second vehicle where Dominique Deonte Watkins, 23 of Antioch, was still inside his vehicle. His mom was outside the vehicle.

Watkins suffered from multiple gunshot wounds to the upper torso and emergency personnel treated him on scene before transporting him via ground ambulance to a local hospital.

When officers approached Watkins in the hospital, he was talking and could tell offers who he was and that he had been shot. Watkins refused to provide officers any details or assist police in the investigation of the shooting.

According to police, Watkins mother said they recently moved from Oakland to Antioch where Watkins was recently shot and still is recovering from a previous shooting. She was with her son moments before the shooting occurred when she heard the sounds of gunshots being fired.

Police also said Watkins has an extensive police record which includes outstanding warrants for weapons and narcotics.

Police are working with limited information and are seeking the public’s assistance regarding this shooting. You are encouraged to contact the Antioch Police Department at (925) 779-6900 or Text a Tip Anonymously to the PD by texting: 274637(CRIMES) and including the word ANTIOCH in the body of the text.

 

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At roughly 5:30 pm Sunday, a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed hit a pole on Lone Tree Way and Tregallas in Antioch which shut down a lane of traffic.

The vehicle reportedly was seen traveling from Davison going towards Highway 4 at speeds estimated of 60-mph according to a witness when he crashed into the pole.  Medical or fire was not required.

Police were still on scene around 8:00 pm and no information has been provided.

Here are photographs:

A woman was arrested Saturday after a short vehicle pursuit between the 1400-1500 block of Sycamore in Antioch which left damage to two vehicles and an apartment structure.

Around 2:30 Saturday, Antioch Police responded to the 1400 block of Sycamore for a report of a stolen vehicle. Upon arrival, officers located the vehicle who immediately tried to flee the area.

As police pulled into the driveway of the apartments, the stolen vehicle went an estimated 30-40 mph in reverse before crashing into a park car at the 1500 block Sycamore. The crash pushed the parked car into the building causing damage to the laundry room.

Police did say the pursuit lasted under a minute.

A male suspect fled the scene on foot and they were unable to locate. The female was arrested.

The vehicle was confirmed stolen out of Concord. Police did not provide any details on scene and did not confirm who stole the car or who was driving at the time of the crash.

 

For the second week in a row, the Antioch Police Department responded to less than 1,500 calls in a week. Between October 6-12, the police department responded to 1,485 calls. Between Sept. 29-Oct 5, they responded to 1,489 calls.

Due to the high number of calls, we have broken down the stats to a sampling of some of the higher-priority calls.

Arson

  • 10/9 – Lone Tree Way & Terranova Dr.

Assault

  • 10/6 – Sand Creek & Deer Valley (245PC)
  • 10/6 – Lawton St. & Russell Dr. (245PC)
  • 10/6 – Mt. Hamilton Dr. & Golf Course
  • 10/6 – E. 18th & Cavallo
  • 10/7 – D St. & W. 19th St.
  • 10/7 – W. 4th & K St.
  • 10/7 – Jacobsen & Botelho St.
  • 10/7 – Lone Tree Way & Deer Valley Rd.
  • 10/7 – Edward Ln & Auburn (245PC)
  • 10/7 – Golf Course Rd. & Lone Tree Way
  • 10/8 – L St. & Lemontree
  • 10/8 – Lone Tree & Ridgerock
  • 10/8 – Alpha Way & E. 18th
  • 10/8 – L St. & W. 3rd St.
  • 10/8 – S. Apple Ct. & Sequoia Dr.
  • 10/8 – E. 18th & Cavallo
  • 10/8 – Gentrytown & Redwood
  • 10/9 – Spartan & Putnam
  • 10/9 – W. 15th & F St. (245PC)
  • 10/10 – L St & W. 3rd
  • 10/10 – McFarlan Ranch & Plumridge (245PC)
  • 10/10 – Woodside & Waterford
  • 10/10 – Longview & G St.
  • 10/10 – Prewett Ranch & Pawnee Dr.
  • 10/11 – Carob St. & Carob Ct.
  • 10/11 – Domengine Way & Judsonville
  • 10/12 – Lone Tree & Mokelumne Dr.
  • 10/12 – Claudia Ct. & L St.
  • 10/12 – Sycamore & Lemontree

 

Auto Theft

  • 10/6 – Ponderosa & Rio Grande Dr.
  • 10/6 – Botelho St. & Jacobsen St.
  • 10/6 – Elk Dr. & Buckskin Dr.
  • 10/6 – W. 10th & Verne Roberts Cir.
  • 10/6 – Ferngrove & Bellflower Dr.
  • 10/6 – Botelho St. & Jacobsen St.
  • 10/6 – Hemingway & Dana
  • 10/6 – Vender Ct. & Crater Peak Way
  • 10/7 – Auto Center Dr. & W. 18th
  • 10/7 – Filbert & Phillips
  • 10/7 – Auto Center & W. 18th
  • 10/7 – Wagon Wheel & Brookhaven
  • 10/7 – E. 7th & A St.
  • 10/7 – O St. & W. 6th St.
  • 10/7 – W. 10th & O St.
  • 10/7 – W. 10th & Crestview
  • 10/7 – Rainier Ln & Sunset
  • 10/8 – Lynn & Carey
  • 10/9 – Deer Valley Rd. & Hillcrest Ave
  • 10/9 – Pearlite & Galenez Way
  • 10/10 – James Donlon & Contra Loma
  • 10/10 – Sycamore & Banyan
  • 10/10 – Sycamore & Dogwood
  • 10/10 – Delta Fair & Buchanan
  • 10/10 – Sycamore & Banyan
  • 10/11 – Sycamore & Dogwood
  • 10/11 – Longview Ct. & Longview Rd.
  • 10/11 – Wheeler & Hamlin
  • 10/11 – Aster & Tulip
  • 10/11 – Banbury & Carpinteria
  • 10/11 – G St. & W. 6th
  • 10/11 – Buchanan & Barcelona Cir.
  • 10/12 – Mahogany Way & Starlight Ln
  • 10/12 – G St. & W. 17th
  • 10/12 – D St. & W. 4th
  • 10/12 – G St. & Dewitt Ct.
  • 10/12 – Shadow & Mahogany
  • 10/12 – Hudson & Fairview
  • 10/12 – S. Lake Dr. & S. Lake Pl
  • 10/12 – Almondwood & Countrywood

 

Burglary – Business

  • 10/6 – Hillcrest & Wildflower
  • 10/11 – W. 10th & Verne Roberts Cir.

 

Burglary – Residential

  • 10/6 – Spaulding & E. Larkspur
  • 10/6 – Putnam & Adams Ct.
  • 10/6 – Koala Ct. & Wolverine Way
  • 10/7 – Goldpine & Bamboo
  • 10/7 – Gentrytown & Avila Pl.
  • 10/7 – Rogers Canyon & Honeydew Ct.
  • 10/7 – Bluebell Cir. & Buckthorn Ct.
  • 10/8 – Putnam St. & El Rey St.
  • 10/8 – Aspen Way & Eagleridge Dr.
  • 10/8 – Gentrytown & Meredith Way
  • 10/8 – Koala Ct. & Wolverine
  • 10/8 – Putnam & Lone Tree
  • 10/9 – Bucksin & Deer
  • 10/9 – Parker Ln & Cavallo
  • 10/9 – E. Tregallas Rd. & Sunset
  • 10/9 – Asilomar & Eagleridge
  • 10/10 – Valencia & Madrid
  • 10/10 – Enea & St. Frances Dr.
  • 10/10 – Prairie & Brookhaven
  • 10/11 – D St. & Putnam St.
  • 10/12 – Lone Tree & Empire
  • 10/12 – Minaker & Wilbur

 

DUI

  • 10/10 – W. 18th & G St.
  • 10/10 – Hillcrest & Williamson Ranch
  • 10/12 – Somersville & Century
  • 10/12 – Cavallo & E. 13th St.

 

Embezzlement

  • 10/6 – Lone Tree & Ridgerock

 

Grand Theft

  • 10/7 – Sycamore & Dogwood
  • 10/9 – Madill Ct. & E. Madill St.
  • 10/12 – Deer Valley & Hillcrest Ave.

 

Narcotics Violation

  • 10/9 – Parker Lane & Cavallo
  • 10/9 – Wilbur & Marie
  • 10/10 – W. 16th & A St.
  • 10/10 – E. 18th & Evergreen
  • 10/11 – W. 18th & C St.

 

Possession of Marijuana

  • 10/7 – W. 18th & L St.

 

Robbery & Attempts

  • 10/6 – E. 18th & Evergreen Ave. (Strongarm)
  • 10/11 – Buchanan & Delta Fair
  • 10/12 – W. 10t & G St.
  • 10/12 – Hillcrest & Larkspur Dr.

 

Vandalism

  • 10/6 – Country Hills & Wolverine Way
  • 10/6 – W. 11th St. & H St.
  • 10/7 – Sycamore & Dogwood
  • 10/7 – Sycamore & Dogwood
  • 10/7 – Cavallo & Amber
  • 10/9 – Hailstone & Caldera
  • 10/12 – L St. & Sycamore

 

Vehicle Theft

  • 10/6 – L St. & W. 3rd
  • 10/6 – San Jose & Alamo Ct.
  • 10/7 – Sycamore & Dogwood

 

Warrant

  • 10/6 – L St. & W. 3rd St.
  • 10/6 – Lone Tree Way & Indian Hill Dr.
  • 10/6 – Davison & Sunset
  • 10/6 – Enea Way & Putnam St.
  • 10/6 – L St. & W. 3rd
  • 10/7 – Bryan & Diablo Ave.
  • 10/7 – W. 6th & E St
  • 10/7 – L St. & W. 3rd
  • 10/7 – L St. & W. 3rd
  • 10/8 – L St. & W. 3rd
  • 10/9 – L St. & W. 3rd
  • 10/9 – Texas & D St.
  • 10/10 – L St. & W. 3rd St.
  • 10/10 – Verne Roberts Cir & Costco Way
  • 10/11 – Fitzuren & G St.
  • 10/11 – L St. & W. 3rd
  • 10/11 – L St. & W. 3rd
  • 10/11 – D St. & Putnam
  • 10/11 – L St. & W. 3rd
  • 10/11 – L St. & W 3rd
  • 10/12 – L St. & W. 3rd
  • 10/12 – L St. & W. 3rd

 

Weapons Violations

  • 10/8 – E. 7th & A St.

For the full Calls For Service Report, click here

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According to Matthias Gafni of the Contra Costa Times, the quiet race for the Contra Costa Board of Education seat has taken a turn as information became public into the criminal, educational and medical background of candidate Jeffery Belle.

Jeffery Belle is challenging Cynthia Ruehlig for the Contra Costa County Area 5 seat. After the accusations were published in the Times last night, we reached out to the Ruehligs who denied involvement about the information being presented about Mr. Belles history.

Instead, they have been threatened by Mr. Belle both in an email and in the Antioch City Hall Parking lot.

Cynthia Ruehlig provided the following statement:

I am not responsible for Mr. Belle’s problems.  I also cannot control what people google or post on Facebook or social media.  Chatter on his personal woes is a result of people doing due diligence on the candidates.  Mr. Belle should stop making me his scapegoat and own up to his actions. 

Mr. Belle’s ex-wife emailed me on Oct.14 at 7:46 am after two reporters contacted her.  Ms. Casey Jones initiated contact with me and not the other way around.

Anyone who wants to run for public office should remember that if you can’t take the heat then stay out of the kitchen. 

I will continue to focus on the issues as California is at the crux of major innovations to education.

Cynthia Ruehlig

Walter Ruehlig’s further provided an email which threatened them with a negative and dirty campaign.

We, too have done opposition research on both of you and will have a few surprises. We have not attack you or your wife, nor have we stooped so low as to solicit dirt from Ex’s.
I tried to stick to the issue, but you guys have gone to personal attacks.
We all have a past. In my case, my past does not define me; only Christ can do that. My past has prepared me for Times as these.
You are getting ready to see a Frontal Assault like you have not seen since Reagan and Carter in 1980.
God is with me and He has made me a fortified City, an Iron Pillar and Bronze Walls.
Brace up, my friend- you just crossed the line and entered into “Big League” politics.
Good day,Jeff

Here is a screen shot of the email, click to enlarge.

Jeffe Belle

Walter Ruehlig also claims that Mr. Belle came after him in the City Hall Parking lot Tuesday night accusing him and his wife of smearing him.  Ruehlig says he and his wife are taking the high road because most of the information about Mr. Belle is available on the internet.

“He only wants to blame us so that he has a scapegoat and can go dirty and justify it,” said Ruehlig.

While a few of the items mentioned in the Times piece are on the internet, Gafni went deeper so kudos to him.

Per his article, here is a rundown of what he found:

  • In June, a state agency cited and fined Belle, who has long lectured about nicotine addiction on the medical college circuit, for practicing respiratory care without a license.
  • In 1992 and 1997, while living in Oklahoma, Belle was charged with felony bogus check cashing, pleading guilty in one case, according to court records. A warrant was issued for his arrest, but he wasn’t caught until Santa Fe Police arrested him on New Year’s Eve 2007, a police spokeswoman from the New Mexico department said.
  • He also was charged with a similar misdemeanor cashing bogus checks in Marion County, Florida, in 2000.
  • Belle has had more than 10 civil judgments against him, and federal and state tax liens from his time in Oklahoma and California totaling almost $20,000.
  • Belle claims he has a degree from American University in Washington DC, a masters degree from Oklahoma City University and a doctoral degree from Harrington University in London–but the details are switched around at different times per Gafni. He also claims he has a bachelors degree on his official statement appearing on the Contra Costa County election material–however, Belle has no college degree.
  • Belle was fined $8,200 on June 20 by the Respiratory Care Board of California for “misrepresenting himself as a respiratory care practitioner and was engaging in the practice of respiratory care without a current and valid license in California.
  • In 2009, Belles landlord evicted him from his Pleasant Hill office for failure to pay $3,400 in rent.
  • In 2010, Belle and his wife were evicted from a Walnut Creek address for failure to pay $2,500 in rent.

For the full Contra Costa Times article, click here which also included s documents associated with the claims.

On Wednesday October 15, the Antioch Police Department and the Contra Costa County J-team were working a proactive detail in our city. The results of their efforts netted a total of 11 arrests. The arrest violations included drugs, warrants, stolen property, and stolen vehicles.

As to be expected some of these arrestees did not go quietly, meaning some of the arrests involved foot pursuits through neighborhoods and backyards. Despite attempts to flee, these individuals were caught because of the dedication, physical ability of these officers, and their team work.

I would like to thank Sheriff David O. Livingston for providing us the resources of the J-team as well as the professional men and women that took criminals off OUR streets last night.

Sincerely,

Chief Allan Cantando

Below are a few photographs we previously posted from the arrests on Hobart Court.

Around 7:00 pm Wednesday evening, the Antioch Police Department along with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office served a felony warrant to a subject on Hobart Court.

As police pulled into Hobart Court, several people in the court attempted to flee the area. As police worked the scene, more than a dozen people were detained as a precaution. A subject wanted on a felony warrant fled the area and was later caught a short distance away on Meredith Way after police set up a perimeter.

According to Antioch Police, three people were arrested on felony warrants including a subject on evasion while two others for felony drug charges.

No further information was provided.

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During Tuesday nights Antioch City Council meeting, Mayor Wade Harper used his Mayors Comments to share with the public what he thought was “good leadership” and highlighted examples of the City Council moving the city forward.

The comments came shortly after Antioch resident Rich Buongiorno told the mayor he was being recalled and presented him with paperwork. After Buongiorno several people spoke in support of the mayor.

Here are Mayor Harpers Comments which ran just over 11-minutes.

I teach law enforcement leadership and my students they can’t believe the mayor is there teaching them in the classroom and they ask me why you are here? I ask them why are you here? They said to learn. I said to teach so it’s a good combination. But I have met some really solid students that have gone through a lot. Sob stories and I’ve had to explain to them what goes on in our council meetings and every one of them has a right to their opinion and even have a right to recall if they wish and talking about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

I’ve had pastors call me and apologizing and friends and families apologizing for some of the comments that was made, but everyone has their opinion and so do I. This council was able to get a sales tax measure pass to fund public safety—my family personally worked on that whether we were at 1:00 in the morning putting up signs, writing post cards, we did everything we could from phone banks. My wife works at Dallas Ranch Middle School and my son attends Deer Valley High School.

We worked hard and this tax measure passed with the approval of nearly 70%. I don’t know that that’s happened in the City of Antioch where we pass a tax to hire additional police. To me, that is leadership—taking the lead to get that done. Currently we are looking to pass Measure O. We are getting push back from the opposition who has a lot of money to defeat the issue. There are threats of lawsuits from attorneys but we are still moving forward because it’s the right thing to do and I think that’s leadership.

wade harper 1

This council extended 3% at 50 hiring retirement benefit to hire experienced lateral officers to our city despite public criticism to deter us from doing so. As a result, we have hired several experience lateral police officers so we can reduce crime in our community. That was an unpopular decision with the critics at the time, but it has proven to be the right decision that we made as a collectively as a city council and our neighboring cities in the county have commented that they should have been proactive and did exactly what we did because they are now having problems hiring lateral police officers and to me that is leadership.

This council passed a budget to stop deficit spending of our General Fund and live within our means. To me, that is leadership. Had the previous council done this are budget deficit would not have been impacted so that we would to have to reduce our police force.

In short, we are recovering from past decisions that were made.

wade harper 2This council has attended countless public meetings to address public concerns. We have several community cafes; probably had 10-15 community cafes and I have attended everyone and met a lot of community members. We listened and looked for solutions to make things better. And we developed our city strategic plan to move this city forward. To me, that is leadership.

This Council was elected by the community, I ran on a platform of zero tolerance to crime. I have no tolerance for crime and I never will. That was my platform but everyone in that platform but everyone in this community has to adopt this mindset if we are to be successful and I think several people have which is why we have more neighborhood watch programs than we have ever had in this city—you can see Bill Cook for the numbers. It’s anywhere from 500-600. So I have no tolerance for crime, but I do have a lot of tolerance for young people that is why I am in the schools working with them. That is why I signed up to be a mentor . That is why I am at Deer Valley Plaza pitching my tent and bringing chips and soda and interacting with them. Students who are artist, students who are basketball players, young ladies taking detour from long-distance running to talk to us.

I didn’t run on the platform that I was going to be the public information officer for the city. We have a city manager that we hired to do that and he is the most transparent city manager that we have ever had. If you look at his weekly and monthly reports.

IMG_8457

There are many times that myself and fellow councilmembers have been approached by the media, for newspaper statements and on-camera interviews. I don’t like to read a lot of the blogs because a lot of them are very hurtful and you have to have very thick skin. A lot of them are slanderous. A lot of racial comments on the blogs. So I choose to stay away from the blogs but if a member or citizen wanted to speak with me or meet with me and talk about some solutions, even those that have held up the recall papers, I am willing to listen to those people also if they have solutions.

Even with the issues at Deer Valley Plaza, including Probation, District Attorney’s Office, School Board, Police Chief, and we talked about issues at Deer Valley Plaza and putting One Group At a Time or the Williams Group back into the Schools. Met with the landlords at Deer Valley Plaza talking about increasing the the cameras and letting them know we no longer (I never wanted) the smoke shop at that location and lets have it removed and work on removing the smoke shop.

Talking to Probation and the District Attorney’s Office, talking about parents who have actually brought their students to that plaza to fight and to be charging or presenting that case to the gang unit to address parents who bring their student to school or the plaza to fight. It will not be accepted and we will not tolerate it. At the same time, we love our youth and as I met with a 100 young people at Deer Valley Plaza we know you are great students and we met a lot of great students there and it’s a small few kids who want to cause problems.

wade harper 6Another thing they told us was they wanted to keep the momentum going because the media covered it and they want to keep it going. We want to have fair reporting by the media. Don’t just report all of the bad thing. Don’t just report or follow the police scanners around town. There is a lot of good things going on around town of Antioch. Those are my comments and I am here to serve. Let’s get to work making this city better. This is a great city and I love representing the people of this city. A lot of the kids know me because I am in their schools. I have come to visit them, I have substituted in their classrooms. The parents don’t know me but the kids know me. They stop me at the movie theaters they take pictures with me and they call me to all their events and functions.

I am not a person who is consistently who is pushing myself forward or tooting my own horn. That is not me, I am a modest person but I see that I have to start a campaign to pretty much let people know these are some of the things I am doing but I am consistently pushing our council forward, pushing our city staff forwards and applauding their efforts. That is the type of person I have always been.

Even as a musician that played for the church choir, I did not play any solos, I played in the background so those are my comments. Hopefully you can hear my heart that I am here to serve and I think that we have had a lot of successes.

We didn’t mention the $463,000 grant for the downtown area. We didn’t mention the third grant we received to hire more police officers. The city council agreeing to spend all of the Measure C funds on police and code enforcement so there has been plenty of successes here under this city council’s leadership.

Not just as me, but as Monica Wilson, it is Tony Tiscareno, it is Mary Rocha, and Gary Agopian who left a legacy too. It’s all of us working together and I’ll say this and I’ll move on, this is the longest Mayors Comments ever, but as soon as we were elected and we decided to do strategic planning and had a team building workshop and we learned to bond as a council and we learned we can get more things done if it didn’t matter who got the credit. When we figured that out and we learned that and began to really love one another as a council and not hold anything against one another as a city council we really learned to work together and it was destiny because we all had to work through Councilman Agopian’s illness and walk through that and deal with that together as a council and support him and Robin and carry the load. We did the right thing and this was the right council for the right time.

Let’s move on.

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During Tuesday nights Antioch City Council meeting, Antioch Resident Rich Buongiorno boldly declared to Mayor Wade Harper during public comments that he is being recalled. Shortly after the announcement, nine-residents spoke in support of the Mayor.

Below are the public comments where eight people spoke about the potential recall.

Rich Buongiorno told the Mayor that he was given the opportunity during the last meeting until tonight to resign and did not so he was being recalled.

I didn’t get everything said in 3-minutes last time, basically 3-weeks ago. So consequently I am here again. I have a bit of an issue, a problem, it’s that if we ran the council and you ran in that council a department in private industry, you would be fired by now.

You sir have not done anything for your position and for this city. Not based on what your commitment to us was. Unfortunately this is an at will state, you are not at an at will position. Even if you are a business and had invested in you, our return on investment is non-existent, we would get rid of you.

So you aren’t part of an at will, you are not part of an investment, you are there for one reason and one reason only and that is because we the voters put you there. Sir, based on everything that you have done for the past two years and the two years prior to that and the two years prior to that associated with the City of Antioch has been questioned.

Mr. Turnage gave you the opportunity to resign and I believe your response was something similar to that is not going to happen. Fine, I certainly understand that, but we the voters. We have the last word and remember that.

Mr. Mayor you are being recalled. (Paperwork handed to the). I know that is not pleasant and I certainly understand that and I know right now you are probably ready to lash out. I know you are more of a man than that. I think you really should do what is good for the city of Antioch. And that is to step down.

Pastor Kirkland Smith, Grace Bible Fellowship, spoke as a supporter of the Mayor where the crowd erupted in cheers—Mayor Harper did not try and calm the cheers, instead, Smith stated people had to sit down because he only had 3-minutes.

During the 25-seconds of cheering, the Mayor remained silent as did the rest of the council.

“There are two reasons why people change. The first is they either feel the heat or they see the light. When you feel the heat it forces you to change. When you see the light, it inspires you to change,” explained Smith. “I came here tonight because there are some here tonight who desire forcing the Mayor out. My hope is you will see the light. The problems in Deer Valley for example are problems that did not start this year. They were there two and four years ago. The difference was there was an involved parent. It wasn’t just an involved parents, there was involved principal driving around in golf carts that were checking on the children. It seems to me if we have problems in our schools I believe it starts with inactive parents. Then inactive principals then if not rectified then its inactive school boards. If the school board doesn’t do its job then it needs to be rectified by the school Superintendent. The crime issues in Sycamore are not Mayoral problems either.”

Smith explained that Mayor Harper has been in sycamore, talked with people, held rallies and has been involved and wishes those pointing fingers recognize the amount of work performed by the Mayor.

Velma Wilson highlighted her support of Mayor Harper explaining how she and Mayor Harper woke up one morning and decided to go speak to nearly 200 kids at Deer Valley Plaza on a Thursday morning. She shared that a lot of them didn’t know where their next meal was coming from, where they were going and that they were proud to be able to see Mayor Harper and talk to him.

“All of our kids are not doing bad, there are some isolated situations in the media that happens months ago and years ago. I am not going to say that is okay, but our kids still need to know that we has a community stand with them and we motivate them not to continue with the negativity,” said Wilson. “These kids need to know that we stand with them and pride ourselves and not get a part of the rhetoric that has been going on.”

Joseph Adebayo says crime and the issues at Deer Valley Plaza were an issue during the terms of Mayor Don Freitas and Mayor Jim Davis and instead of people just complaining they become part of the

“I refuse not to be part of the solution. The City has been advertising places on commissions for a while and there are so many in this city. There is a lot of work to be done. If you live or work here why don’t you work to be part of the solution,” said Adebayo.”

Adebayo noted Measure C and the Police Grant as positives and stated people need to be patient because the City is on the right path.

Odessa LeFrancois says she understands the recall issues and everyone has the right to do that but wanted people to also know they have the right to meet with the city and be part of the solution.

“I am here to be part of the solution. I remember about 6-7 years ago when we had issues at Deer Valley Plaza and the community came together,” said LeFrancois. “And another thing, where were these people with Freitas was Mayor. I didn’t see a recall then. Where were they then? Huh? I didn’t see them then. When Dozier-Libby was about to be a Charter School about to be taken over by 23-teachers, where were you then? Let me tell you, the Mayor was there. He came to every one of those meetings with support.”

She stated her support of Mayor Harper and said he is doing what he has to do.

“They can recall all they want but you have a wall. You have god. They can only do what we allow them to do,” said LeFrancois,

Marcita Ennis shared how she was really proud that all three of her kids were able to meet the Mayor.

“I am a voter and I have a say as well. I am saying it right now that I will support you, but I know you cannot do this on your own so I have to do my part. We all have to do our part. I challenge all of you to do your part,” said Ennis. “I know where my heart is and I believe this council has a heart for this city.”

Willie Mims stated that he was here to support the mayor and commend him for all the work he has done. He also supports the police chief who has worked with an undermanned police force.

“I am not going to say these people do not have a right to a recall, but I hope that they fail,” said Mims. “Also, the folks orchestrating this recall did not vote for you in the first place.”

Hiaasen Bay stated this is a social issue and social economic issue saying Antioch has a lot of people coming here and problems grow faster than you can tend to them.

“These kids are not criminals, they are children. The schools need to take more responsibility. Parents need to take more responsibility,” said Bay.

Bay explained that they need more after school problems, mentoring and tutoring.

“We need to have those stronger components in those areas so we can serve those kids. I’ve personally broken up 8-fights at Deer Valley Plaza since last year. We need to get a relationship with these kids as adults,” said Bay.

He accused the folks of the recall being scared of “black boys”.

“The ones they are scared of are black boys, lets be real. A lot of those with this recall, we know what it is. I saw who clapped. It wasn’t that hard to see the demographics of those who called for or against so I am letting you know brother we have your back. Its going to take us to get dirty, if you want to plant something, you have to get dirty so we have to get in there and not be afraid of our kids.”

Essence Phillips called the accusations against Mayor Harper slander but noted through her research that crime has always been a problem and increasing since Mary Rocha, Don Freitas (2004) and Jim Davis (2008).

We went from 36-murders in 2004 to 31-murders in 2008 and now we are under 20-murders so I really urge the community to do their research and stop listening to the media and the feeds on social media,” explained Phillips. “Of course we put drama on Facebook, our students like drama and negativity but there are a lot of great things that you have been doing and in our city.”

Phillips encouraged people to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem. She further explained the blame to the school district, superintendent the mayor and city was not fair because they did not give birth to these children, it starts at home.

“I am unhappy about crime, but I have to be part of the solution and not part of the problem,” said Phillips. “I appreciate the work you do. I appreciate the leadership. You teach in the schools with these kids. How many of you in the city council or audience who are complaining take the time to work with our kids. How many have been in a leadership position and know what it’s like to wear that weight on your back when you can’t control everything. Who doesn’t want to live in a great city? Who doesn’t want to lead a great city? Do your research and get that actual facts because none of the previous mayors have done any better job than what our current mayor is doing.”

Sandra McGee observed that a month ago during the meeting the mayor told the audience to hold their applause and that did not happen tonight.

“A month ago we had a meeting down here that got a little rowdy with people clapping and mayor you told us to hold our applause and quiet down so that you can call other speakers up. I don’t see that happening here tonight,” said McGee.

Editors Note: Mayor Wade Harpers comments were during the Mayors Comments. Check back later for his comments in full.

File Photo of Rich Buongiorno