Antioch resident Karl Dietzel submitted a Letter to the Editor in an Antioch local paper recently sharing his submitted argument against a proposed Antioch ½ cent sales tax measure for the November Election. If approved, this would allow the City of Antioch to hire additional police officers.
It’s no secret this website is an advocate towards public safety and therefore, we will also be supporting and encouraging voters to support the City Council’s decision on a sales tax as its the first step of many towards fixing Antioch.
We have offered a rebuttal this morning against Mr. Dietzels position. As we have done in the past, his argument is in bold followed by our comments immediately following.
Vote NO on increasing Antioch sales tax beyond the current levels.
The tax dollar would NOT be dedicated to police services and public safety, the number one priority among citizens, but go to the general fund.
Yes, it’s going to the General Fund, but as a precaution to protect against the money going to “other places” the City Council has put in the stipulation that a citizen oversight committee will have access to the account for annual review purposes and will be able to report back to the community. Although we are not sure who will serve in this role on the oversight committee the City has done more than enough to ensure checks and balances are in place.
The sitting council has failed to produce any solutions to Antioch’s crime problem. There is NO plan from our Mayor Harper, Councilman Agopian, and Council woman Rocha, even all three run their re-election campaign in 2012, “tough on crime” Our sitting council had not offered any public discussion, nor produced a plan, how and where the anticipated money will be spend.
First off, where is Mr. Dietzels plan and where is his solution? Instead of blaming others for a plan, he should first share a “realistic” plan with the council and police department. Second, the city Council has a plan which is going before the voters on a tax that would allow them to hire more officers.
Pittsburg, the neighboring city implemented a similar plan to resolve their staffing with a sales tax as did Concord. How come a sales tax measure in those two cities are good enough for them, but not for Antioch? This claim of not offering a solution is false; the sales tax measure is the plan!
As for the claim the council has not offered any public discussions or said how the anticipated money will be spent, that also is simply not true. The last few coffee with the cops have had very detailed explanations (and power point slides) as to where the money could be spent. Again, this is where a citizens oversight committee will come in handy to see if the police department is staying the course with those funds.
Chief Cantando provided the public with a clear explanation of what his Department could provide under a 144-Authorized Sworn positions. He also provided an explanation on a lower staffing model; Feel free to review the slides.
As for the claim in a lack of public discussion we have to do disagree with that claim as there was a period of months where this proposed tax was on the city council agenda for what seemed to be every meeting for a five-month period. The council also held public forum outside the city council chambers at Antioch High School to invite the public to discuss solutions and concerns with tax options.
The City needs to buy locally, and award contracts to local businesses. We need to have open discussions about budget reviews, pension reforms, and reducing the City’s business permit process. We need to conduct independent audit‘s, and a “Workload Study” of our police department.
Buy locally sure, but if the local contracts are higher than outside firms, then the city would be doing its residents a disservice. This talk about needing open discussion has already occurred—instead, it appears Mr. Dietzel did not get his way and just wants more time at the microphone for an audience to listen.
This talk of “pension reform” is vague and he offers no solution as to what he would like to see. What we have experienced with people who claim pension reform is needed is that it’s simply “code” for eliminating pensions.
There is no explanation by Mr. Dietzel of what “reducing the city business permit process” means. Are the fees to high? Is there too much paperwork? What is the issue and how does that solve the crime and code enforcement problem?
He further states they “we need to conduct independent audits” but fails to share who or what is going to be audited or why it’s being audited. This is vague and could mean a number of things.
Finally, as for a workload study, all one needs to know is that call volume has not gone down while staffing levels have. As soon as an officer comes on duty, they are several calls behind in need of service. Since 1995, Antioch population has jumped just over 25,000 people while staffing levels have basically remained the same while calls for service in 1995 were 47,677 compared to 81,572 today—using logic, your workload study is completed.
We need to be “brutally honest” if we want to stop our “crime emergency” (Agopian) A created “Crime Sub-Commission”, (Nov/Dec, 2012) has never met. If that measure passes, it does NOT create a steady flow of money, it’s depend on the economy and spending ability/ location of Antioch residents, on top of it, the proposed sales tax increase is eliminated in 7 years.
Mr. Dietzel is acting as if people will boycott shopping in Antioch when the reality is people will continue to shop locally for groceries and gas which with a higher sales tax which will create higher revenue for the city. The sales tax is also set to end in 7-years based on the assumption the economy will improve. The seven year sunset is fair to residents as the council voted for a tax that is not permanent .
On July 30, 2013, our Chief of Police announced a dramatic, double digest, crime drop for the first 6 month of 2013. We cannot afford to paralyze our businesses with higher taxes, and drive customers to shop in neighboring cities. Antioch residents cannot afford to pay higher taxes.
A half-cent sales tax does not paralyze anyone and will not drive residents to neighboring cities which is a classic anti-tax scare tactic. More importantly, if this was going to hurt business, the Antioch Chamber of Commerce would not have come out in support of a sales tax measure—that is huge as they are looking to solve a crime and theft problem in the City. The Chamber is smart enough to realize that if you solve crime and theft, it will result in more people shopping in Antioch over the long haul.
Looking at the crime numbers, overall crime may be down, but homicides are up 75% while robbery and aggravated assault are essentially the same. . The numbers are somewhat skewed because Mr. Dietzel is only looking at a six-month window of time. When looking at a longer time frame—say three years—crime is still higher than it was in the past.
Furthermore, is anyone happy with 721 cases of burglary, 892 thefts, and 458 auto thefts for a total of 2,568 property crimes? I would hope that’s a clear sign help is needed.
Vote NO on this tax increase. It is NOT a solution.
We believe voting no on this measure is irresponsible and says one is happy with the current crime and lack of code enforcement in the City of Antioch. We believe that by saying “yes” to a sales tax for police staffing will not only improve the city of Antioch over the long haul, but puts in motion a culture change in Antioch that reduces crime, promotes the city in a positive way, and can begin working towards a city everyone can be proud of. It will also remove the stigma that Antioch is a “crime” city.
By supporting the upcoming sales tax measure, it puts the City of Antioch on a path towards a more positive Antioch while giving citizens some piece of mind that the city is improving.