Op Ed: Thorpe, Wilson Thank Antioch Residents For Feedback

By Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe & Councilwoman Monica Wilson

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If you’ve ever tried to run a household while living paycheck to paycheck, you know how risky it is. When every dollar is already spoken for, it’s hard to keep up with the regular maintenance and sense of security your home needs. Small problems eventually become big problems—until eventually, you’re in big trouble.

The front of your house has so much garbage the neighbors won’t talk to you. Your backyard becomes so filled with junk and weeds, your kids won’t go anywhere near it. And your kitchen? Nothing works, the appliances are constantly shorting out and the pipes are leaking into the subfloor.

Get the picture? Now imagine that your home is Antioch—a city that is operating very close to paycheck to paycheck.

The front yard of your Antioch “home” is everything you see while driving through the city—the graffiti, overgrown weeds and trash dumped along the sides of our roads. The backyard is the city’s youth violence prevention programs—or rather, the lack of them. The kitchen, that’s our downtown, where we thirst for new and exciting amenities, but where few residents go.

Of course, you should feel safe in your “home.” But after missing a payment here and there, you’re surprised ADT hasn’t shown up to take their sign back. In Antioch, our sense of safety is shared with our police department, and like other city departments, it’s under resourced and understaffed.

So how do we upgrade our Antioch “home”? Well, that’s up to you.

A year and a half ago, the Antioch City Council formed a two-member ad hoc committee to engage the community around our Quality of Life issues. The mission was to get extensive feedback from the community on the priorities the City should address, and use that feedback to create long-term solutions for improving our quality of life – and fully reach our potential as a safe, clean and beautiful place to live.

Our first task was to conduct a professional community survey in late 2017. The survey results were presented to the entire city council at a special meeting on January 20, 2018. The goal of this survey was to gather statistically reliable information on the issues our community cares about. We then used the results as a foundation for engaging the community and gathering additional input, eventually collecting over 2,000 responses from residents. You may recall receiving an invitation through your water bill or social media to “Join the Conversation!” If you were one of many who responded, Thank You!

Finally, we conducted a second community survey in June of 2018. We were thrilled to learn residents were more optimistic about the city’s direction than they were in prior years. With this data, we were able to finalize our recommendations.

Our recommendations were to renew Antioch’s existing sales tax at the one cent rate, and use the funds for the following priorities that you, the citizens, had identified for us:

  • Maintain 911 emergency response and maintaining the number of police patrol officers;
  • Ensure water quality and safety;
  • Enhance Antioch’s quality of life and financial stability;
  • Clean up parks and illegal dumping; and
  • Restore youth after school and summer programs.

On July 24, 2018 we presented our recommendations to the full council, and they were unanimously approved. In keeping with our tradition of listening to the public, the community had additional suggestions that were incorporated in several follow-up City Council meetings.  Measure “W” has been placed on the November 2018 ballot for your consideration. It’s important to point out that this measure requires independent financial oversight (which currently exists in the form of the Sales-Tax Oversight Committee, and will continue) in addition to guaranteed annual independent audits to ensure funds are spent properly.

Our work has not been easy and the results may not be perfect, but it’s a chance to let regular citizens set the course to where they believe the city should go. The ballot box has always been the most powerful tool voters have. With it, you have the opportunity to think big–and change the course of our city. Thank you again to residents who took the time to give us your views, which were incorporated into this measure, and remember to participate in the election this Fall!

Lamar Thorpe, Mayor Pro Tem
Monica Wilson, Council Member


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10 COMMENTS

  1. You can raise the tax to 30% but in your first paragraph you pointed out the reason it won’t work-trash,homeless,urine soaked sidewalks, police won’t respond or even get out of their patrol cars.
    Your survey=two percent of population.
    How about one more ‘special ‘ meeting??

  2. NO Let’s be bluntly clear. Your analogy is deceptively WRONG. IF all thing were equal ..then yes. However, they are not. Let me tweak your attempt into reality.

    If you were a hardworking responsible individual and you find yourself paycheck to paycheck due to external sources. you do not bust out the AMEX card and go to town. You get a 2nd and third job to offset the costs.

    But That’s not Antioch. The Antioch leadership with few exceptions is more like the Coke head that blows the paycheck on frivolous and stupid investments on top of the Dope habit. And now wants to bust out the public credit card, AKA us suckers the taxpayers.

    Before you come crawling to us and begging for more cash to fund your pay raises and unfunded liabilities, that are your self-appointed LOTTO PENSIONS.

    YOU BETTER PUBLISH PUBLICLY THE CITIES C.A.F.R. REPORTS.

    YOUR NOT BROKE.
    YOUR NOT IN DIRE NEEDS.
    STOP WITH THE ARTIFICIAL CRISIS.

    here is a link to explain the C.A.F.R. report

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pRPBKJQnyU&t=604

  3. These two listened to the public? They symbolically VOTED NO against the new proposals of a SUNSET and a OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE! They didn’t want one and still don’t want it.

    With all the feedback from the polling, they never once held a public meeting to go over the plan to discuss where they were headed with a tax. They even tried to push it through as a quality of life tax with FLUFF proposals when people urged them to put more money to police. Who do these two think they are fooling? Terrible fail at damage control and the public is not stupid.

    Does anyone else find it odd that these two keep popping up together? Why didn’t the entire council put out a statement and become unified. Seems like these two are all about their name in the paper.

    The community needs to be aware this is not a Measure C extension or a Quality of Life Tax, its simply a General Fund tax to fund retirement and pensions in the future. The community deserves better leadership than what these two are providing.

  4. Dumb (Thorpe) and Dumber (Wilson) are at it again with their fictional tale of doom and gloom. The ad-hoc committee conducted the initial survey, Antioch residents responded and identified their top PRIORITIES only to have them ignored. DO NOT BELIEVE THESE LIARS VOTE NO ON MEASEURE W (aka: WTF). Have you seen significant improvement in the city since 2013? NO….there’s more crime, more homelessness, more blight, etc., Measure C the 1/2 cent sales increase, passed in 2013, did not meet it’s goal, it failed miserably!! Why would we agree to double the sales tax and pay it for the next 20 years, the city council has clearly shown us that they lack the vision and ability to correct the problems that are important to the residents of Antioch. It is time we the residents took back our city. It is time for new leadership, new ideas and transparency. It is time to clean house and remove all of these fools and start fresh!

  5. C.A.F.R. link is an eye opener. I can’t believe how much the property taxes are to live in such a ghetto town. I hold the City Council and City Manager responsible for the deplorable state this town is still in after 6 years of living here. Stack and Pack planning is just going to cause more misery grief and is no substitute for a viable economy. No businesses want to come to Antioch and no one seems to have any head to get businesses to come here. Nothing for adults to do at all out here and everything is ugly or littered on. No bang for your property tax buck. Jerry Brown’s Mandatory 50 gallon a day per person water rationing coming in 2020, his twin tunnels, gas tax to the tune of $10.00 a tank, no decent or safe mass transit, last straws for me in this state. Can’t wait to get out of Cali. I was born here but no longer recognize my home.

  6. Notice all the wonderful things the city is doing for you? Sidewalks are being repaired all over town. They are trying to pretty up the town so you will all vote yes for their 1% sales tax. Another joke on the residents. Vote NO.

  7. I will make it a point to no longer shop in this city. Will drive further to shop in neighboring towns. This city council is totally out of their minds trying to steal more of our hard earned money, they need to start earning their money, which they currently are not. We have to live within our means, so does this city, not enough money, get another job like the rest of us. Your analogy is horrible Thorpe/Wilson.

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