The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by Antioch resident Rodney McClelland, a candidate who will appear on the City Council ballot, but has since suspended his campaign.
When I was actively campaigning for City Council I came out against Measure W.
I just like many of you have been inundated with pro Measure W advertising from the City of Antioch.
I can not support and will not vote for Measure W. For one the City has NOT delivered on the promises they made with Measure C. When we voted in Measure C we were told that it was to add police to the number we already had: not use it to be the primary funding source for police. We had 82 officers when C was passed. A month ago, we had 94 sworn in officers. That is a net gain of only 12 officers. According to some council members we have added 55 officers. Most of those 55 plus officers was to replace officers who left APD. They used Measure C funding for this. So, what happened to the city budget that had us at 82? Where did it go? Why was that funding that was already there not used to replace officers that left APD? Why, is Measure C being used to fund all police hires?
The City council also voted to approve a pay increase for cops on election night when Measure C passed? Has anyone read the Memorandum of Understanding the city has with the Antioch police? I suggest you do. It is public record. Pay attention to compensation they receive in the memorandum. Too many questions need to be answered. Let’s not forget that Measure C does not expire until 2021. Until it does expire, and the City honors the promises it made. How can our citizens support Measure W?
The city wants Measure W to replace C and make it a 20-year plan. Raising the Tax rate to 9.25%. Can our citizens afford that increase? Think of, a tax on a $40,000 car.
In one of the 5 council meetings the city manager stated that he and his staff conducted a survey of 800 people. Those surveyed supported Quality of Life programs, programs for kids 12 and younger, clean drinking water and maintaining police. So, let’s think about those numbers. Only 800 surveyed in a city of 114,000 people. That is less than 1% of our population. That is an embarrassing survey to use as a reason to put on the ballot and spend $60,000 to do so. Did they survey retirees on fixed incomes? Did they survey senior citizens? Did they survey our low-income families trying to make rent or mortgage payment every month? Or does that sector of our residents matter to the City? Where is the transparency of exactly how the money will be spent? This sales tax revenue will go to our general fund. Can we trust city to spend wisely when they haven’t delivered on promises already made? Yes, some council members have advocated for different ways to use the money. But none of this was voted upon by council.
This is poor leadership. What about businesses and growing our economy in Antioch with a 9.25% sales tax. If you are a contractor or home owner going to do home improvement project. Will you buy in Antioch? Or go to the Brentwood, Pittsburg, or Oakley to save money? Will anyone continue to shop Antioch? Or go to a lesser sales tax city?