Opinion: East County Today Supports Antioch 1/2 Cent Sales Tax Measure

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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.

Dear Editor:

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.
Karl Dietzel
Antioch

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.

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50 COMMENTS

  1. dear eastcounty editor
    thanks for taking the time to print and comment on my letter. what we need is a open honest discussion, your article, and my letter will hopefully do that.

  2. Mr. Dietzel has become a citizen in this country. He came here to be a part of democracy and participant in the process. Whether we agree with him or not he does more research on any subject and talks to people all over the country, mayors, police chiefs, representatives and congress people, than I will in my life time.

    Actually Mike, we need many more interested people like Karl whether or not we agree with him.

    I, too, will vote no but my reasons may differ. An over sight committee/ commission is just another group of people appointed by the council who are their friends and will have no authority at all.

  3. Thank you Mike for pointing out the obvious. My daughter lives in Concord and I have family in Pittsburg, and they are all very happy with the out come in their cities. The half cent is a much needed start to a solution for this cities problems. Hopefully Marty Fernandez will read again some of the points Mr. Dietzel and realize that while he sounds like he is making some good points, its all been said before with no solution. Please vote YES!

  4. LLAB, Mr Deitzel’s position has nothing to do with mine at all. I have lived here over 45 years and attended every council meeting in the last 10 unless I was in the hospital. The performance of the council members dictated my decision. Chief Cantando fully understands my position and the positions of thousands of others who will vote no.

    Pittsburg has it’s own problems as they have bond payments coming due.

  5. dear editor,

    off course i have to answer you….

    Dear Editor:

    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.

    —— a “citizen oversight committee” appointed by the mayor, and confirmed by council? who are you kidding? and i am totally lost when you make the statement the city has ensured checks and balances are in place. you must be NOT aware that we have a 3 million dollar negative spending? —–

    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.

    —- well mr editor. i did not run my election, harper, rocha and agopian run their election “though on crime”, “zero tolerance on crime” etc, but neither one has produced a “plan”
    just election blah..blah..blah. on the very first day harper created a “crime-sub committee” i spoke to him right at the council chamber, asking i would like to be involved. guess what..no committee meetings ever. over all those years i have suggested many solutions like (speed bumps, fence systems, converting a tennis court into a basketball court, hiring all cso’s/ code enforcement back and get all the fully trained cops back on the street, council promoted the chief, threw him into the water and are now standing on the side lines and tell him to swim, i suggest several times to give him a chance and send him to many available pd chief training classes, i (and others) suggested to invest in a shootspotter system. i have suggested to make every other street to a one way street. and many other suggestions.
    i don’t care what pittsburg does, but i wished antioch would have done a fraction of what pittsburg has done in the last 20 years. have you been lately in down town pittsburg? i suggest you do, and then come back and visit our down town area.
    our chief of police off course has wishes like any other department head, but is depend on what council is approving or will to give. you don’t understand what the issue is..the issue is that our elected officials have failed and still fail us, the residents of antioch, and the chief and our pd is NOT up to an “job performance or job evaluation” by you, me, or any other person. i don’t know where you get the number 144 from. the council voted on a “new is” number last year. and that is 126, and we do have 120 authorized safety and filled positions.
    i have been to every council meeting the last 4 years, maybe 5 years. besides the wish to raise taxes there where NO discussion, finding/ searching for solutions, whats so ever.
    the antioch high “town hall” meeting was a joke, you know it, i know it, and everybody else knows it. where is a summery of public comments, no follow up, zero action. what i toke out of that meeting was a public comment from our city manager “i am spending today more with less, then back then when we had more”

    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.

    —–there should be a clear directive from the council/ city manager to shop everything local. we would support our own businesses, employment grow, tax income. also any and all projects should be awarded to local business.
    well, i get my three min by law at the mic, if you would have the guts, you would be down there too, and voice your opinion. i am stunned how you question our democratic process. if you don’t like it, nobody is holding you back, there are enough countries with dictators.
    last year the council voted from 3/50 to 3/55. that was a good move in the right direction. not even 6 month later, council reversed their vote to hire 5 police officers. the biggest deal came out by meetings with staff on the side line. 21 none safety employees got the very same christmas gift at a cost of $ 3 million dollar to the city…wow
    what do you have against independent audits? do i want to eliminate pensions? absolutely not, i i believe government employees need to pay in the fair part.
    you clearly have watched all power point presentations. lol do your home work, and you will find out that there is much more to an work load study then call numbers. i don’t claim to know anything about that, but i have done my research.
    i don’t know if you still remember the discussion when the community center was built, the add on of a police sub station? one of the main reason our city wanted and has built the sub station, to “reduce the time people have to wait for police” what a great reason, i fell for that, but guess what, as soon as the building was ready, the rooms (sub station) was rented out to political parties. so much to reducing respond times.
    i agree we need to have the best police, best equipped, best trained police force, but we also need to re-think how we get there. simply putting boots on the ground will not do it. we, you and me, need to give our pd the very latest tools.

    i will finish my answer later on, the grand kids have soccer practice…

  6. The Antioch Police Department already has been authorized financially to hire additional officers. They can’t attract or better put — have anyone make it through the hiring process now. What makes the city council, and the backers of this tax think it will “attract” individuals to come work for Antioch PD ? Right now I believe that one person out of every thousand entry level applicants makes it through the screening process (which includes the academy, and Field Training Officer Program) to become a police officer. One is a fool if they feel they should lighten the standards to become a police officer.

    This tax is a scam, and will be used to fund other programs i.e., Code Enforcement aka Neighborhood Improvement, the last time I looked the people who work and run Neighborhood Improvement are not police officers, and even the City Manager has stated that he will be able to use some of the money to get rid of “Furlough Fridays” (which by the way police officers and dispatchers are NOT affected by “Furlough Friday”), putting individuals who are NOT essential for public safety back to a 40 hour work week.

    The Administration of the Antioch Police Department knew about this upcoming reduction of officers (retirements, there have been a lot of them with more to come) two to three years ago, but chose to do nothing about it, instead betting the ranch on a tax measure that may or may not help them.

    The City Council did nothing to inquire (Until recently) about the shortfall of personnel at the police department until now, two months before the people get to vote for a tax measure that is doomed to fail …. Why ??? Because it is not specific in stating exactly where the money will go.

  7. No fan of taxes, but I am a fan of police stopping criminals before they get into my home. As much as I want to agree with Karl, I cannot in this case. Antioch PD deserves a shot to get their staffing up.

    • hello jim,
      the antioch pd is NOT the problem. we have a top notch crew, the problem is the council who is unable to run the city, and unable to allocate the right monies to the right department. when the big lay off’s were done, my suggestion was, to lay off 5 officers, and keep all cso’s and code enforcement, but the city fired all code enforcement people and all cso’s. then the city needed to replace the pd office staff, guess what, all of them were fully trained officers which the city lost for let/s say from patrolling. the city run 2 -3 years without code enforcement..well the results can be seen everywhere.
      cut the council pay in half, (equals 1 cso/ or code enforcement) we’re giving the city manager over $ 40,000 so he can stay a little bit longer. why? that’s a half pay for a cso. let him go we’re paying a head hunter, the city can run without a city manager until we find one. whats her name can take over temporally (michelle pfitzer?)
      there is no quick or fast fix. at the time we’re unable to hire fast enough for whatever reasons. we’re just replacing the ones who go into retirement. i am also kind of lost why we can’t hire brand new people.? whats wrong with being new, fresh from the academy? everybody started out?

  8. Jim, my home was robbed twice in broad day light at the height of employment so………………..staffing has nothing to do with it. Good job Boomba. Chief Hyde knew this was all going to happen. The Council under Mayor Davis knew this was going to happen (Agopian, Harper and Rocha were on that council). To say nothing about the unfunded liabilities for retirement that jumped about 20 mil after Mr. Kalinowski awarded his gift of higher pensions before he left. We now have unfunded 80 mil in pension costs. We have a city shortfall as Karl mentioned AND we have to PAY BACK all the money we “borrowed” from city funds to pay salaries or what ever. This is a bankrupt city with no plan if Measure C fails. If it passes it is still not enough money to begin to bail out the debt we have in the past 6 years.

  9. Just another “if you give us another 1/2% of sales tax we can fix all our problems”. HOW ABOUT FIXING ALL THE FAILURES AND INCOMPETENCY before you beg for more money.

    • To add more fuel to this fire, we have given BART more sales tax revenues for, I believe — correct me if I’m wrong, over 50 years, and what are we getting for all that ??? EBART which will not be done until 2016 …. So why does anyone think the 1/2 % Sales Tax will make Antioch “safer”. Whatta scam !!!!

      Jim, you are completely correct about Chief Hyde — he did just what his name implies “HE HID” during his tenure here. Only appearing when he put on his “horse and pony” shows to BAMBOOZLE the public, ending up getting Antioch embroiled in several civil rights lawsuits. He had no ties to Antioch, didn’t even live in Antioch, yet he used up 5 years WRECKING Antioch PD, and leaving with a very generous retirement package ….. Unfortunately, the current administration was present while he was driving Antioch PD into the ground, along with the sitting City Council.

  10. Don’t get me wrong here, but I am VERY Pro Police, given my past I would be stupid not to be. However, the City Council AND CITY STAFF have to quit relying on “governing by committee”, and decide to make some very hard decisions about possibly gutting Leisure Services, and putting that money towards the Police Department. None of them will do that.

    If you all recall when the council was going to layoff the 6 officers, but instead put their tail between their legs and decided to layoff ALL of the Community Service Officers ??? Well if the truth be known, the City of Antioch LOST all of their Community Service Officers, AND well in excess (retirements, terminations, resignations (transfers to other departments)) of the 6 officers that were going to be laid off AND those numbers were NEVER replaced, but the council kept getting the same old song and dance, crime is going up (only until recently has it gone down a tiny bit), but no one either within the Police Administration proposed doing anything about it, and NO council member did anything to address the problem which is worse (inaction by the council), except to cry “poor mouth” !!!!

  11. Boomba: Chief Hyde did some VERY good things for this city. Do not compare Antioch to Davis. Chief Hyde cleaned up my street which had 22 homes afraid to go out of their homes or walk to the mail box. The suits you mentioned were not caused by Hyde they were brought by people looking for an easy mark. One was thrown out, one was won out right and one we won but had to pay court costs. The other suits were against the school district and they caused their own trouble and deserved to lose because of the decisions by Dr. Sims who was running the place at the time.

    Was Jim Hyde in this for his own glory, perhaps, but the police department is better now because Jim Hyde was here.

  12. Marty Fernandez,

    Having just recently retired from APD after having been there over 20 years, you are wrong when you say the police department is better because Jim Hyde was there. I worked under 4 Chiefs of Police at Antioch PD.

    Jim Hyde ruined Antioch PD, he allowed the 26 Community Service Officers to be laid off, he watched or should I say went into hiding as well in excess of the 6 officers who would have been laid off, left the department on their own or by their own “goof ups”. As officers left the department he did not pursue an active approach to replenish his ranks.

    Jim Hyde chose to take a passive approach to the exodus. He allowed the department to get to the point where it is now with regard to staffing levels, so one has to look at the big picture as to what took place at Antioch PD within the last 5-7 years.

    True, where you live things were cleaned up, but because of the federal lawsuits, the programs that Hyde instituted had to be shut down to avoid any future legal backlashes. Hyde probably gave those reasons (to disband those effective programs) as the department being short on manpower, which doesn’t make any sense at all, because those programs helped with regular “beat” officers not having to respond to continual “problem houses and neighborhoods”, but because the CAT Team was dismantled, “beat” officers had to take up the slack of trying to effectively manage problem areas while still having other beat and patrol responsibilities, which is impossible to do effectively.

    Chief Hyde did not clean up your street, the officers involved in the program cleaned up your street.

    However, the current state of the Antioch Police Department is in total disarray. In the words of one administrator, “We have the money to hire police officers, but because that process is going very slow, we are able to use some of that money to pay UNLIMITED amounts of overtime to the severely understaffed department that remains.”

    The staffing levels do not permit the police department to be a proactive department, instead APD is a reactive department (which is bad), but the politicians who set policy for the Chief of Police to follow refuse to acknowledge there is a problem with being a reactive department.

    The officers with a Antioch PD do an EXCELLENT job with what they are being handed on a daily basis.

    I will say it again, the Antioch Police Department as with most other police departments are already having a difficult time finding, hiring and RETAINING qualified people to do a very difficult job with the money they have been authorized to spend, so why or how is a tax going to solve that problem ????? The tax must be specific to the hiring of police officers, not one where the funds will go into the general fund thereby allowing the politicians to get their grubby hands on what they perceive as “free money” to fund other activities that they feel will benefit the city.

    The politicians, for the most part, do not have the ability, knowledge, training or inclination to learn what it takes to run an effective, proactive police department. Instead they would rather haphazardly put together an ill conceived ballot measure that they think will solve everyone’s problems.

  13. … And before anyone starts on the “Anti-Public Employee Retirement Bandwagon” I will say that I along with every other cop who is able to retire without quitting the job, sustaining a catastrophic career ending injury or worse, getting killed in the line of duty —- I EARNED EVERY BIT OF MY RETIREMENT FAITHFULLY SERVING THE CITIZENS OF ANTIOCH. MY HAT GOES OFF TO THOSE OFFICERS WHO WERE INJURED AND KILLED IN THE LINE DUTY, THEY WILL ALWAYS HAVE MY UPMOST RESPECT !!!!

  14. Boomba, I knew you were an officer by the tone of your writing. I am sorry you didn’t have a good experience in Antioch but lots of officers have.

    Hyde didn’t do the CSO thing on purpose. He was told to do it by Jakel. We were part of a group that were 100% against it and told too bad. We tried to save CSO jobs but we would have had to eliminate about 5 officers.

    Any officers hired recently or in the future have the possibility of being laid off in 1 year or so. We don’t want to hire officers because of that. Do you know how bad Allen feels?

    Pensions of employees in the entire city are what has bankrupted this city. Sorry you disagree with that. I appreciate every single person who has worked for this city through thick and thin but the facts cannot be
    ignored. I am familiar with city budgets for years now and there is nothing there.

    • Hey there Marty Fernandez,

      I had a good career with Antioch PD, I don’t understand where you are coming off saying or thinking otherwise. I have an adequate retirement, unlike what you seem to believe, I don’t own ski condos in Jackson Hole, WY and Breckenridge, CO and I certainly am not making 130% of my pay in retirement, that always makes me laugh when people think that. The individuals who make that percentage in retirement are the Chiefs and Captains, are you aware that currently Police Administrators can retire, and come back and work for the City from where they retired for up to a year (double dipping so to speak), they are able to earn in excess of $200,000 by doing that ???? That is the problem with retirements, not Joe or Jane Smith workerbee.

      Although personally Hyde is a very nice guy (had you bamboozled at those “horse and pony shows”), but because of his decisions or lack of leadership/direction, there are many problems with Antioch PD. He never went to the council to tell them that he needed to replace officers who had left the department, positions for which he had the money budgeted …… Hyde wrecked Antioch PD.

      The only problem is the staffing issue, there are not enough officers to do “proactive” police work, because quite simply, Jim Hyde never went to bat for the department to get officers hired to replace those that left.

      How many times do I need to say that ???

      Bottom line is unless the 1/2 % sales tax specifically states that the money will be used to AUGMENT not replace money in the police department budget, it is a bad deal for everyone involved.

      We have to agree to disagree (that’s what makes America great), and it has been nice “blogging” with you.

      Respects !!!

  15. Marty,

    Besides where is anything written that says the City of Antioch is Bankrupt ? The budget is not what it used to be, but the City is NOT bankrupt.

    • hello boomba,
      i like your inside postings. but to answer to your statement that the city is not bankrupt:
      antioch has 60 millions plus, in unfunded liabilities, we have a 3 million deficit spending, and council declared a fiscal emergency. what do you call that..solvent?
      there is no plan on how the money is spend (if measure c passes) and there is no plan B (if measure c fails).
      one city department still gets double digits raises, there are already talks to end the furlough…..in november council change their not even 6 month old vote, 3/55 back to 3/50 in order to hire 5 laterals, what council did not tell the public, that 21 none safty employees got a great christmas gift which cost the city (us) $ 3 million dollars.
      i am lost in all that.

      i agree that we all have to point the finger in the right direction..our elected leaders.

  16. Oh it is. Just the unfunded pensions put us there. 60 Mil However our other deficit right now is 6 mil and growing. The city has borrowed from itself and cannot use any funds for anything unless it repays what it borrows. So things are not looking pretty. The best thing it can do is hope and pray it doesn’t have to lay off any of these police new hires. Have you ever taken part in a city council budget meeting? Do you live in Antioch?

    Do you live in Antioch?

  17. I see some people are still thinking you can get blood from a turnip.

    When revenue tanks as it has in the economic downturn, you really get two choices. You either cut government services or you pony up more money via other means. Pretty simple math, really.

    Some of you more active types seem to think it is the employees who should entirely take one on the chin for your sake by giving up their pensions. I wouldn’t go near a single one of you in a business dealing, contract or not, because it wouldn’t be worth the paper it was written on. Y’all think because you sit in a city council chamber you are suddenly municipal budget experts. That’s about as stupid as my saying I watch Judge Judy every day so I’m qualified to practice law. The behind the scenes are a little more complex, people.

    Pensions are like mortgages. They are a liability that you owe over time. They don’t all become due tomorrow. If you have a $400,000 mortgage and not enough in assets to cover that today, does that make you bankrupt?

    That’s the leap of logic here with saying the city is bankrupt due to pension obligations.

    Educate yourselves on the subject before looking anymore foolish than you already have. I don’t know on what planet you might live to think you’ll attract talented LE by demonstrating to them that at the first sign of trouble you intend to take their retirement away. That’s dumb on so many levels.

    • hello buy a clue,

      well, it is people like you who constantly turn a solid productive discussion into “everybody is so dump, only you know it all” situation. i guess your are the city of antioch finance director?
      the problem in antioch is very clear, and no one needs to be a financial expert, we’re out of money..period. any discussion on the side lines just distort the issue. we need to find solutions. tax increase is NOT a solution, and i do not become a “hater” if i want to talk about our spending problem. i do not become “against the police hater” just because i want to find out why one city department uses 70% of the city budget.
      that’s exactly why i suggest a workload study for the apd department, and if you don’t like that, we even should do one for ALL departments/ employees.
      something is terrible wrong with our city finances and with our elected leaders.

      and yes, if one goes to council meetings on a regular basis, one learns a lot about inconsistencies, issues not being answered, problems pushed under the table, moving monies around that in the end staff can’t even answer agopians question, how much cash the city has. and the list is long.

      since you must be the “pension specialist” and have all the inside infos, please tell me how we (the city) will repay the cities part of the $ 1,500,000 police hiring grand. our part is $ 750,000. there was no public discussion. may be you know. (the list is much longer)

      • one little add on post.
        i am lucky and privileged to know marty, (and some other regulars) and if anybody knows anything about council meetings, budgets and what have you. it’s marty. he has been at more meetings any council member will be.

        he is nothing else then a concerned antioch resident.

        • Again, Karl, they don’t hand out attendance ribbons and then call you a municipal expert for attending city council meetings. You get points for seat warming and not much more.

          Being a concerned resident and being active is a positive thing. Marching into meeting’s like you’re God’s gift with all the answers just because you’re been doing it for years is dumb any way you slice it.

          Don’t know you or your age, but I will point out that blue hair busy bodies are a dime a dozen in most any average size community in America. Some contribute in meaningful ways and some just keep busy running their own fan clubs. Which side do you fall on?(hint: it’s a trick question)

          • Messrs Fernandez and Dietzel,

            Good that you shared your thoughts, but there’s no use in getting involved in a discussion of the level in which some of these guys wallow. if you didn’t attend meetings they would argue that your lack attendance limited your credibility. If you do attend they say it doesn’t matter and throw out an ageist personal attack, as if one loses credibility when they reach certain age.

            I appreciate you thoughtful comments and like most people, ignore those that are ripe with rude, personal attacks. And that’s part of the reason the average pro-tax commenter suffers at the ballot box. They have a difficult time framing their issue in a civil manner. They’re super clever and funny; just ask them. But the can’t win the debate. Good thing!

        • Well, let’s try to help this poor, confused individual who has chosen to play victim instead of addressing the issues.

          Mr. Thanks Karl and Marty, to the point I expressed about a simple choice between paying more for services during revenue shortfall periods or doing without the services, do you disagree? Or were you too busy with the pity party setup that you failed to acknowledge there is indeed a revenue shortfall? In fact, in the coming FY the general fund revenues will again be down.

          The problem with people like you and your friends is you have no ability to hear and understand the word “no” when you are making your demands of public officials. Further, you have little understanding of the full picture, despite your claimed expertise. Finally, the second someone points out you don’t really know what you’re talking about, you spend all the rest of your energy in ad hominem responses instead of addressing the counterpoints brought before you.

          As I stated before, mostly a waste of time attempting to debate with people like you because you are not interested and apparently incapable of hearing any viewpoint that differs from your own.

      • Karl, if you don’t understand why public safety takes up a significant portion of a city’s budget you should probably stick to watching My Three Sons reruns and leave the math problems to a newer generation.

        You did not disagree with my basic premise. When revenue is coming up short due to the economic collapse and one is completely against the idea of any new taxes, then you have no choice but to learn to live with fewer services. Government has overhead costs outside of their control just like any household does. Yet some of you act and in fact expect they somehow operate with a 1/2 sale operational approach. Your wishes are divorced from reality. Plain as that.

        You can’t even have an honest discussion about the reasons for the revenue shortfalls. You’re a one trick pony with the “government spends too much” line. People with such narrow thinking are, generally speaking, a waste of time. No meaningful dialog can ensue. You’re stuck with a 1950’s mentality in a 21st century world. It simply doesn’t work.

        If you don’t like the way government is run in your fair town, run for office. If enough people think you have a clue, you’ll get a seat. Otherwise you’re relegated lobbing criticism from the cheap seats and self promotion with your claimed municipal operational prowess. It’s really, really easy to be an expert when you don’t have the full picture and one doesn’t get a full picture from reading a city council meeting agenda either. Only fools belief in such silliness and arrogance.

  18. Like I said Marty, we have to agree to disagree, you continue to try to have your cake and eat it too !!! I am done with this blog, new subject please ……

  19. hello boomba and buy a clue,

    great job, no solutions, no opinion on the sales tax issue, no pro or con, and why….but attacking the messenger, attacking concerned citizen.

    • Karl, as expected, your response is to play victim and try to make it about you. Well it’s not about you and it’s not about me. It’s about public safety and the fact that is costs money to put cops on the street.

      You have yet to directly address any point I have made about the issue and I have made several.

      Start with the simple ones, Karl. Did you even understand the analogy of a mortgage to pension obligations? Or is the concept lost on you?

      • hello buy a clue,
        i thought about your budget and mortgage, it looks like you’re a banker or real estate agent?
        but you are right, it’s exactly like a mortgage. when times were good, and equity high, the city took out a second and third loan, now when the market went south nobody can afford and pay of those handouts anymore…= bankruptcy

        to bring that to an end. it is like marty and i ( i have to write in the i form, because i do not speak or represent anybody, just myself) are saying. the ones responsible are our elected officials. and yes, i am very very concerned about the quality of life in antioch, and the miss management of moneys.

        • Come on, Karl. Let’s try standing on your own two feet here. Moral support from Marty won’t cut the mustard if you can’t grasp the basics.

          Do pension obligations become due today or not? When did a pension, which is more accurately termed deferred compensation, become labeled a handout? Do you get to decide the terminology for the rest of us?

          Are you suggesting you pay our public safety people less money AND expect them to entirely fund their pensions, if not their healthcare?

          Let’s get some details. Not this abstract nonsense.

          • @ Buy a Clue,

            You nailed it on many levels! It’s just too bad that “Karly”
            (Karl + Marty) are unequipped to comprehend what you plainly laid out for them. Don’t fret, it wasn’t lost on the rest of us. Karly’s continued responses simply gives insight that neither knows the difference between a citizen “watchdog” and a “bird dog”. Thank goodness the City council, Mayor, City manager and staff do.

            No wonder “Karly” feels like they aren’t listening to “him”.

            Special shout out to Karl and Marty; They are listening…they just don’t agree with your perspectives. You both might want to get over that and pursue something more productive like figuring out who is really the problem.

  20. I understand Mr. Dietzel’s position but similar experience has shown he is wrong. If you look over the hill Concord passed a similar tax measure a few years back to bolster police services. At the time people made similar arguments to Dietzel about people not shopping in Concord. It proved untrue. What did happen is that Concord’s police department did not see the cuts that Antiochs did and there crime saw a decline while Antioch did suffer cuts and saw crime rise considerably. Nothing in life is free, I’ll pay a half cent (which means for every $100 I spend at the store I’ll spend an extra $0.50 cents) extra to live in a safer community with adequate police resources.

  21. You are all blaming the police department on our problems. Spending is the problem and lack of responsible council members who ask questions and get to the bottom of this is the problem. Council should not accept everything they are told by staff. Ask questions.

    A blue hair know it all with my own fan club. At my age those are good things I guess. At my age I am lucky to still be able to go to council meetings and I enjoy them. It is quite an education and I am sorry I know some of the things I know after all these years.

    • Marty,

      Who is blaming the police department ??? It is your comments about how the retirement system is bankrupting the city.

      By your “passive-aggressive” comments YOU are the one blaming the police department. What do and people like you want, minimum wage, and no benefits ???? I’m sure then “high caliber” people will want to break down the doors to become cops then.

      If you want quality people, you have to pay quality wages and provide quality benefits.

      I mean, you are entitled to your opinions and all, but you sound really goofy talking about this crap about the city being in debt up to $60 million dollars, etc. because of retirement contributions.

      I think you need to do some research on Retirement Reform, and find out exactly what that is all about.

      Offering 3%@50 is an excellent option used to attract experienced officers (Laterals) from other agencies, that one — do not have to be sent to a police academy(which is about 6 months long), two — are street ready in about 6-9 weeks versus someone fresh out of the academy (up to 20 weeks) before they are street ready, what I mean by street ready is they are assigned to a shift able to work by themselves without having a FTO being with them.

      It is a no-brainer to offer someone who already has 3%@50 the same retirement formula when they come to Antioch PD as a Lateral. We are NOT talking about cops that are 45 years old, and have already 20 or more years in the system waiting to retire in 5 years; we ARE talking about cops that are about 30-35 years old with about 20 plus years left in them to work as police officers in Antioch — not for another agency.

      In the time you spent sitting at City Council meetings, were you asleep when the same type presentation was made by Chief Cantando a couple of weeks ago.

      This time the politicians got it correct, and extended the 3%@50 to lateral hires increasing the cap from 5 officers to 10.

      Now I am gonna leave this blog … maybe

  22. No officer Boomba, I was awake and days before that presentation had lunch with Chief Cantando. He knows I opposed it and we discussed it a long time. Just ask him. By the way, why won’t you use your real name and tell us if you live in Antioch?

  23. Marty,

    You mean well, and are entitled to your opinions, but it really doesn’t matter where I live or what my name is, that’s for you to figure out if in fact you truly do not have a life, and all you do is attend City Council meetings, have lunch with City Staff so you can name drop in order for you to be a “Walter Mitty” and have an imaginary life of being an expert on Municipal Finances, Retirement Systems and staffing requirements of a police department. That’s all good.

    However, if you can get a clue, I will be voting NO on the sales tax measure, but not for the same reasons you point out, I will be voting NO for the reasons that I have pointed out in this blog.

    Most people on blogs choose to not use their real names, that’s why it’s called a “user name” ….

    Goodbye.

  24. Marty,

    You never answered this question:

    What do and people like you want, minimum wage, and no benefits ???? I’m sure then “high caliber” people will want to break down the doors to become cops then.

    If you want quality people, you have to pay quality wages and provide quality benefits.

  25. I have never said minimum wages and no benefits. You are confusing me with someone else. Responsible is the word.

    Anyone, even you, can have lunch with me if they want to. I buy. It is always very educational and most times a lot of fun. I like to get my facts that way and most of the time I do.

    • Marty, to get to solutions, you have to stop speaking in abstract.

      When revenue is coming up short and not keeping up with uncontrollable rises in overhead, what do you do?

      -Do you cut services?

      -Do you simply turn to the employees expecting them to take a cut so that you can enjoy a consistent level of service.

      -Do you go to the ballot box to ask voters if they want to pay more via a supplemental, if not temporary increase in tax to maintain the service levels.

      It could really be outlined that simply. Between all the back slapping and resume listing we have lost sight of the core issue. Which of the 3 are you suggesting we take here?

      • Buy a Clue,

        Marty doesn’t like those choices! That’s why he continues to promote an ambiguous one which doesn’t exist. Couple this aversion to a simple multiple choice question with his inability to accept a differing opinion from the City council and you have isolated his frustrations.

        Individuals like Marty and Karl exist in every city and usually make up the narrow minded few that regularly attend meetings and brag about their “expertise”. You will find these “types” often writing numerous letters, including letters to the editor. Often they gravitate to clubs like the (anti) taxpayers association where they can associated with other angry old men who want municipal services but don’t want to pay for them. They throw out words like “responsible” but their definition of what that is, is never accompanied with a actual plan. I think you called it “speaking in abstract” which is exactly what is at play here.

  26. I plan to vote. 1/2 cent yea its more money but I cant sit back and complain for more to be done if I turn down this option. Sometimes in life its called faith. Faith the oversight community committee will do their job. I do not agree with many things that have happened in this city but this is a baby step and getting more police is important first step. I support it. I will vote for it. Or I cant complain nothing was done.

    • hello antioch mom to 3,
      if the council would have chosen the 2/3 vote option, and all of the money dedicated to safety, i would have voted for it. but, they have not, and if you look at the city lawyers impartial analysis of measure c, you will know where the money is gone go. i appreciate your post/ opinion, but an oversight committee has NO powers, it’s just a group of people, selected and appointed by the mayor, and confirmed by the council. the question is, why does the council wants/ promises a “oversight” committee? they don’t trust themselves? why do we have a council, if they can’t even make very basic decisions and live up to their promises.
      council has NOT produced a plan how the proposed incoming money (if the measure wins) will be spend. ! think about it.

      • Karl, Karl, Karl,

        Oversight committee’s are common and serve as the public’s watch in a responsible manner. They keep vigilante overseers like yourself in check. **It is because we don’t trust people like you (with an agenda). Who are you accountable to?

        • oh my auntie ock is here……
          please tell me about my agenda?
          oh wait..i tell you my agenda.
          i am just representing myself, no unions, no seenos, no roddy ranch, no rental apartments and what have you. i am not employed with the city, and have no relatives/ friends even close to any government employment. i am not running for anything…you get the picture

          my agenda is to get our city back on track. get our finances straight, our economic development going, our infrastructure in line. most important holding our elected officials responsible for their inaction and spending problems.
          while surrounding cities are growing and prosper, business move in, house and biz built, antioch is falling apart, business leaving by the bus load,crime, and renatl problems are out of control, the city has collectable ordinances on the book, but does not collect. our council is spending like there is no tomorrow.
          elected officials need to be held responsible…if that is an agenda…that is my agenda.

          • Karl,

            It was a simple question. You failed to respond to it. I asked who you were accountable to, NOT what your agenda was. But alas, your non answer turns out to be an answer. You old fella, have a comprehension problem. Could that be the larger issue?

            You claim the city council is not operating the way you see fit. Okay, but what makes your take on things the only way or correct way. (Especially when you just demonstrated that you don’t comprehend simple issues or questions) ?????

            The city council is accountable to the citizens via elections and recalls. You are accountable (responsible) to no one. You have an opinion but so do they. I’m thinking they have more information than you. I’m thinking they have more resources than you. I’m thinking they have more to consider than you do. Would I be wrong Karl or do you have a public service resume that you are not sharing with us? The world is full of ignorant little old men that think they know better. Are you one of those?

            I’ll say it again: You have a comprehension problem which you obviously want to take out on the city council and staff. How small of you Karl.

            Yeah, I get the picture, too bad you don’t.

            Love,

            Your inner Auntie

  27. Everyone talks about not trusting the city council, but does anyone realize the city council does not trust the citizens of Antioch to pass the 1/2 cent sales by not dedicating the money for police

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