We asked the candidates running for the Antioch Mayor’s seat this November 12-questions on various issues facing the city. The answers have posed below.
Antioch Mayor Wade Harper hopes to keep his seat while Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock and Antioch Chamber CEO and business owner Sean Wright are running. The race is anticipated to be a tight three-way finish.
Gil Murillo, who was the 4th candidate in the race, announced last week he was suspending his campaign and throwing his support to Wright. His Q&A has been omitted.
Questions were sent via email and answers were provided in written form. Candidates order rotates on each question:
Why are you running for Mayor?
- Harper: First, leadership and community service is my calling. I chose a life of community service as I have 24 years’ experience in Law Enforcement and over 30 years in ministry. It is my honor to serve my community. I want to continue the great work that we are doing in the city of Antioch. Through strong leadership and strategic planning we brought the city of Antioch out of recession. We have increased our revenues and we are on the right track to bringing in businesses and jobs to the city of Antioch. I am running again because I am the candidate with the proven leadership to get things done. I have years of experience in strategic planning as well as team building. I understand how to build an effective city council team. I understanding the strategic planning process.
I serve as the chair of the Contra Costa County Conference of mayors. I also meet monthly with the mayors and supervisors in east county (the Delta 6). We discuss issues effective our cities and county. I plan to continue these relationship as we have to think regionally. I am currently chair of Delta Diablo and we have won regional awards for our excellent operations. Recently I accepted an award for Catalyst of the year for Delta Diablo. We asked Delta Diablo to be a regional leader as it relates to wastewater. Also as a boardmember and former chair of Tri-Delta Transit we have won awards for the “Best Small Transit System in American.” I have represented Tri-Delta Transit in Washington D.C. and have met with our representative to keep the funding for our 94% low income and minority ridership in our region. I understand transportation issues and the need for TIGER grants as well as Map 21 funding. I have attended several APTA conferences. Most recently I attended the APTA conference in San Francisco and participated on a panel to discuss the future of transportation. I believe local mayors have the ability to affect the regional as well as national dialogue as it relates to transportation. In summary I have the experience, the training and the relationships to lead and to make Antioch a regional leader. I am a new member to the East Bay Economic Development Alliance (EDA). My purpose is to give the City of Antioch a voice and a seat at the table as it relates to economic development and jobs in the region. The East Bay EDA is the regional voice and networking resource for strengthening the economy, building the workforce and enhancing the quality of life in the East Bay.
- Ogorchock: Our community looks to the Mayor to provide leadership and guidance, as do our colleagues throughout the county. I have the drive, tenacity and flexibility to do what is required as your Mayor. I definitely want to serve as the face of our community and the council. I believe I am the best reflection of our community.
- Wright: Fifteen years ago my wife and I fell in love with Antioch, bought a house, moved our children and opened our chiropractic office. I have passionately worked to ensure our community remains an exceptional place to live. My efforts were recognized in 2011 as “Antioch Citizen of the Year.” Other activities have included Scout Master for Boy Scouts, President of Kiwanis’ club and coach for Delta Baseball and Youth Soccer leagues. I am the CEO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, created the Suburban Poverty Task Force and received the “2016 Champion on the Rise” Award for Work with Education. Leadership: We elect leaders to make difficult decisions and fight for us. Antioch is challenged and needs a new direction: a leader who listens, collaborates, communicates and unifies behind a common vision. My experience and passion are best suited to help Antioch succeed. Public Safety: Measure C funds- meant to reduce escalating crime- are being misspent. 100% of Measure C money needs to hire police and code enforcement officers immediately. We’ve heard the talk now we need the results. Jobs: Antioch has expanded Highway 4, will extend E-BART, has access to multiple railroad lines, and a deep water port but no plan to create permanent high paying jobs. It must be easier for businesses to open in Antioch so people can live, work, play and worship in our community. As your Mayor, I will work for positive changes that reflect the priorities of those who live and work in Antioch.
Do you believe Antioch is better off than it was in 2012? Why or why not?
- Ogorchock: I believe we are better than 2012. In 2012, we were on furlough Friday’s, our redevelopment funds were dissolved, property values decreased, which created a reduction in property tax revenue to the city. Housing in Antioch was in a slump and foreclosures were on the rise. Unemployment within the city was higher than the national average. Now the reverse is true, home values are on the rise, foreclosures have decreased, employment rates have been reduced. Those are good signs of a strong economy.
- Wright: It’s important to recognize that “better off” is a relative term, and that perspective is important. There are certainly things that have changed for the better since 2012 – look at our schools. Students in our linked-learning programs are receiving local, and regional accolades for the work they’re doing. NASA is using technology developed by students at Deer Valley. I am excited to have been awarded the “Champions on the Rise Award” for the work that I have done to help our high school pathways. Businesses are opening downtown, and while it’s not the thriving business-district it once was, it is turning into a popular destination for antique treasure hunters. We have missed many important opportunities and leadership has not taken advantage of the resources that we as citizens have given them. We have increasing issues with crime, blight, and homelessness. Our economic development plan is still in disarray. We have a jobs to housing shortage that forces 75% of our workers to commute outside of East Contra Costa for living wage jobs. Our current leadership lacks the vision to proactively create the positive change that we as citizens are seeking.
- Harper: While I believe we have been successful in many ways I know that our work is not done yet. In several ways Antioch is better off today than it was in 2012. In 2012 crime was on the rise when I took office. We directed the police department to conduct violent crime suppression details while I led the charge to get measure C passed to hire more police officers. We had employees on work furloughs and the city of Antioch was in bad financial shape. Our lowest point financially was a $33 million dollar operating budget during the recession. At that time I knew we needed direction as well as accountability. Therefore, I led the city in the strategic planning process and took the city council through teambuilding. Now our housing market is returning to normal. We are receiving more from property tax revenues as property values have increased. We are no longer paying the 1989-1 Mello Roos Tax as the tax has reached its sunset. We have come out of the greatest recession since the great depression. We passed 2 tax measures bringing in over 8 million a year in additional revenue to the city via measure C and measure O. The unemployment rate is 6.6 in Antioch, which is an improvement from 11.5% this time in 2012. The unemployment rate is about 4.7% in the region. We are aggressively seeking out new businesses. We hope to close the deal soon with Everette & Jones Barbecue. We recently signed a resolution for a tax sharing agreement with OneSource Solutions. Properties along the waterfront and Wilbur Avenue are being sold. I am trusting that we will be able to bring in more light industrial along the waterfront, which means economic development and jobs. We have reinstated our Code Enforcement program and added 2 additional General Laborers who are fighting blight and graffiti every day. I have attended all but one of the oaths of office and promotional ceremonies for both sworn and non-sworn employees. While we have hired approximately 42 police officers we have a net gain of about 12. This number is a moving target as hiring continues. In other words our work is not done yet. When it comes to transportation we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Highway 4 expansion has been completed. The construction of the Hillcrest Bart Station is noticeable and due to be operational Spring 2018. Violent Crime is on a continual decline in the city of Antioch as we continue to hire police officers.
How will you work to further reduce crime and how do you propose funding for additional police services?
- Wright: Antioch needs to hire more Community Service Officers (CSO). These officers can do much of the work our current police force is already doing; answering phones, writing reports, following up on leads, etc. This allows our current police force to be more effective and efficient when responding to emergency calls. CSOs actually cost less to employ than a police officer, and allow our officers to do more proactive policing, resulting in a city that is more safe. If we want a safer community with more effective police officers, we need to hire more Community Service Officers to help all of our police officers be more effective at what they do. We also need to hire more police officers. Our current mayor, and mayor pro-tem have been unable to inspire and encourage the speed with which we hire officers. I recognize this is not an easy task, and that it’s time consuming. If Antioch residents are willing to tax themselves to create the funds to hire more officers, we need to be doing everything in our power to make this happen as fast as possible. Funding for more police officers has been passed by Measure C and Measure O. All of measure C money should go to help our police. Instead we have all money directed to the police department and then some money being shifted back to the general fund utilizing a 2005 City Wide Administration Fund. Year 1 they spent $200,000 on this fund to oversee the 5 new officers. In Year 2 they budgeted $700,000 to oversee the increase in 12 officers. This must stop. Measure O was passed to offset Measure C if were to not pass again. That gives us a second funding source the problem is that we are only collecting 45% of the possible proceeds from Measure O and that is an improvement from year 1. Many landlords aren’t even getting billed for their Measure O tax. Oversight and accountability are lacking by our elected officials on both of these taxes.
- Harper: I think candidates make a mistake by micromanagement the police department and telling the police chief how to deploy the employees. I will continue to meet with Chief Cantando and allow him to deploy his staff where he sees fit. Think about it, in 2015 the Antioch Police Department saw a 110% closure as it relates to homicide. That means they are doing something right. Let’s let the law enforcement professionals run the police department. We need to educate the community on how to get a timely response to neighborhood problems. I learned in my career that there is a proper way to response to ongoing community problems. I used the SARA model of problem-solving (Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment). You have to go through this basic model to get real problems solved. Scanning – First we must engage the community to understand the problem(s). Analysis – Then data analysis is conducted to understand the problem and develop a possible response. Response – Next, you respond with resources and a well thought out plan of attack. Assessment – Finally you assess how the solution worked. If necessary, you adjust and start all over again. The heavy lifting for funding police has already been done. The police department has the funding to hire police. The funds are “released.” We have utilized outside background investigators to assist with hiring. We have had the most aggressive hiring practice around. Residents understand the problems facing their neighborhoods. They need help with solutions. We have to work together. When residents tell us about drug use in the parks, increased car break-ins and other crime problems we need to be able to have a timely response.
- Ogorchock: We will need to work to extend Measure C to a permanent basis and remove the sunset date. Designate Measure O funds towards police services. Continue hiring Code Enforcement officers, Community Service Officers, so there is a strong presence in our community. Implement more cameras in high crime areas, and include license plate readers. Each patrol vehicle to be equipped with license plate readers. Lastly, we have to be budget smart in our spending.
Do you believe the police scanner (radio traffic) should be available to the public? Why or why not.
- Harper: In regards to police scanners, I would leave that up to the police chief. I personally believe it is better for officer safety if criminals cannot monitor the radio traffic of police. As a former police officer I understand that encryption is becoming the norm in law enforcement. In an age of high technology and internet, suspects can listen to police traffic and have used scanners to avoid capture and commit crimes. In the city of Antioch I supported encryption as well as improved technology with the purchase of the new radio system. The Antioch Police Department maintains interoperability with other agencies. As a former Emergency Management Instructor I know that it is important to maintain interoperability with other agencies.
- Ogorchock: No I do not believe we should be a live feed. I believe that is a determent to our officer safety. We read more and more about officers being shot, I do not wish to give any criminal a heads up on our officer’s activities.
- Wright: The safety of our police officers is paramount in the decision to shift the police scanner to a digital version that allows for the scanner to be shut off to the public. Criminals were listening to the scanner as they committed crimes and could plan escapes or dangerous attacks on our police officers with this information. Citizens should receive a rapid summary of information about local crime or activities so that we are informed. This should be done without endangering police officers, compromising investigations, or giving easy information to criminals.
Beede Lumber Yard: Is the City correct in moving forward with the proposed development or is Save the Yard correct in fighting for a town square? What is your solution on this issue?
- Ogorchock: My position has gone unchanged and is straight forward, those of us in government work for the people, not the other way around. The “Save the Yard” individuals have been working diligently to be heard. They gave to council a proposal but were never allowed to share their vision, goals and financials that is important piece that is missing. Our current area for events is Waldie Plaza, which we have outgrown! We need a larger area in our downtown to showcase our events, such as the Blues Festival, summer concerts….etc.
- Wright: The basic argument around the Yard is that our Mayor and Council have done nothing to allow for good-faith negotiations around the issue. As Mayor I will sit down and in good faith listen to all parties and help to negotiate and make a decision that is in the best interest of Antioch. A Mayors job is to bring together multiple interests, to listen and respect all sides, to be open minded and represent the best interest of Antioch. This Mayor and this staff has never sat down and negotiated in good faith. I am open minded when it comes to this property. This will be one of the first things that I do as your Mayor as this problem has been too divisive and brought about too much conflict. The problem has been in the process due to a lack of leadership.
- Harper: The Beede Lumber Yard is a very sensitive issue for members of our community. A recent survey show that many community members are not aware of the Beede Lumber Yard issue or the Waldie Plaza for that matter. Whether this issue is a concern for a few or for many we as a city council should be concerned. When I was a lieutenant at the Tracy Police Department I was a facilitator for a community group called “Neighbors for Change.” I met monthly with this group to listen to neighborhood problems as well as provide solutions. I met with members of Celebrate Antioch early on to discuss the Beede Lumber site. I attended a SMART Growth conference in Baltimore Maryland a couple of years ago. One of the sessions I attended described how a community group in the City of Richmond revitalized the South 2nd Street Park. I thought this was a great course to attend so that I could have a different perspective on the efforts to build a park at the former Beede Lumber site. This was a blighted park that was run down and needed a lot of attention. While this project was different that the Beede Lumber project it was interesting to see how the community partnered with the city and businesses to improve the park. I am very proud of Antioch residents who have spoken out and are standing up for what they believe in. I believe timing is important. We need a shelter facility for our homeless population. Building a park at a time where we have a 33% increase in homeless in the city of Antioch is problematic. We receive constant complaints about the use of City park by homeless (i.e., feces, drug use, trash and graffiti). I believe a Beede Lumber park would have more of the same. To utilize a Beede Lumber Park for community events would cause too much noise for residents living immediately adjacent to the park. Who would be liable for allowing a facility with regular community events, a stage and loud music? The city would be liable. The idea of building a community center on the Beede Lumber site is a better idea than a park, but who is going to pay for it? In this economy we have to make sure we live within our means and not build something unless we have the resources to build it and pay for its maintenance. We already have a golf course and a Prewitt Water Park that are not self-sufficient. I didn’t know which way I would vote on this issues. This was not an easy decision for me as I have been on the side of neighbors who wanted to improve their community. I commented that we should allow the community the time to raise the funds for the construction and maintenance. My comment was not considered by Mayor Pro Tem Ogorchock who made the motion. I supported the motion for mixed use low density housing. The vote was unanimous.
Is the City of Antioch doing a good job to bring in/retain business? What are your thoughts on how this can be improved?
- Wright: Antioch needs an Economic Development Director that actively markets our community. This person will be responsible for seeking out businesses that complement our community. Again, the Economic Development Director’s duties will be to actively market –in the field – that the City of Antioch is open for business. As the Northern Waterfront Project and the Wilbur Corridor in Antioch get more exposure and marketing we need to a dedicated person make sure that we don’t miss out on the opportunities that will be present for high paying jobs in Antioch. This liaison to the businesses can help ensure that businesses are helped through the process knowing that the City of Antioch appreciates them and wants to work with them to improve opportunities for our citizens.
- Harper: The city of Antioch maintains a great relationship with the Antioch Chamber of Commerce. Business are referred to the chamber and our Economic Development Analyst Lizeht provides business with leaders so that they might build a strong business community in Antioch. Additionally, the city is collaborating with the Contra Costa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to help assist in current business retention. This includes formulating classes in Antioch. The city is working to get evening and weekend classes established. Last year a small batch of these classes were offered to current businesses at the chamber of commerce with a great turn out. We also have identified needs of businesses her and looked into building an incubator with the Health & Wealth Initiative for the city where people can grow their current businesses to be successful. It takes various agencies and the collaboration of many to keep our business community strong. (for the sake of brevity I will not list all of the businesses the city of Antioch has attracted to our city).
- Ogorchock: I believe there is always room for improvement. We should “incubate” the existing business we have, an inside out approach. Work and incentivize local business to grow. Hold workshops and invite professional business locators, labor training. This is a regional issue, we need to work w/our sister cities to create an economic dynasty for our region. But if we do not work on key areas that negatively impact our quality of life, crime and blight, business will still not find value within our city.
Aside from what the city is doing with working with the county, what additionally can Antioch do when it comes to dealing with the homeless?
- Harper: I have walked the marina with Alex Alexander from Shelter Inc. and met with several homeless individuals. We were able to provide information to individuals and a couple of them said they were veterans. I believe no Veteran should ever be homeless as there are resources available specifically for veterans. That same day I also met with Dan Helix to discuss building housing for veterans. We as a community have to work together to find solutions. We must deal with homeless in a decent, human and compassionate manner. Since homelessness in and of itself is not a crime, the police cannot arrest the problem away. We must partner with our churches and other community groups. On Saturday I met with Pastor Eugene Jackson of the Church of God Holy. He partnered with the “White Pony Express” to bring in food, clothing and other resources to those in need. This was a wonderful event and the community was blessed by the outpouring of love. While we are addressing the homeless problem we need the homeless to obey the laws and stay off the intersections, medians and freeway off-ramps. We need individuals to pick behind themselves and not to litter. We need to encourage Antioch residents to give to the local shelters and food banks rather than on the street. As a city we must make sure every employee has the information available to assist those in need. The city council directed city staff to work with Pastor Gary Kingsbury on the shelter project. I look forward to hearing more about this project in the near future.
Increase the funding for the homeless
Partner with the county on addressing the problem
Work with churches and other community groups to address the problem
Continue to do programs such as the Stand Down at the Delta
Continue to work with the Antioch Suburban Poverty Task Force
Work with Veteran’s group who want to build houses for the homeless
Promote homeless outreach in our community with crisis workers
- Ogorchock: There are no simple answers to our homelessness. The city has incorporated a homeless task force with city staff to review what we as a city have been doing. We need to be the nucleus and partner with the County, State, Federal, AUSD, social services, public transportation, private sector, chamber of commerce and our faith based communities to come up with a plan that fits our city. At the League of California’s Cities convention, I attended classes on the homeless, and found 3 cities that have been very effective in reducing their homeless population. We need to reach out to these communities, review what they did and put our plan into action. Getting involved is your way of having a voice in this community issue, we need all to participate, come and share your ideas.
- Wright: First and foremost, I believe it is important to maintain compassion when working with the homeless. They are Veterans, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, parents, and friends. Homelessness is a real problem in Antioch. Our community is featured on Chapter one Page one of the National Book “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America”. The homeless need a hand up and not a hand out. They need shelters, services and resources brought to East Contra Costa County. I have led the Suburban Poverty Task Force that has brought together the city, the police, the county, faith communities and other non-profits to collaborate and find solutions. One of our successes was bringing together our code enforcement team with the Contra Costa Homeless Outreach team. Before our code enforcement team would evict and then clean up tent encampments- they began working with the outreach teams first to give all those that wanted help the opportunity to receive services before they were evicted. This created a greater urgency and need to receive the services and less hostility from the homeless. Currently we are implementing a program called “Keep the Change.” This program educates residents of Antioch that panhandlers on street corners are unsafe for the homeless and unsafe for our citizens. Residents are encouraged to “Keep the Change” they may ordinarily give to the homeless, and donate that money to their church, Loaves and Fishes, Veterans outreach programs, or other organizations dedicated to helping the homeless. All of this to help the homeless get the help they need to change their lives. Antioch can’t solve this problem by itself we must have the leadership to unite and unify individual efforts into a cohesive solution.
Should the Antioch Animal Services stay under control of the police department, or placed under another jurisdiction?
- Ogorchock: I believe the animal services are in the correct department. The people of Antioch voted to have an animal services in our city, and it will take a vote of the people to reverse that decision. We do need to put pressure on the county into giving us the funding that is due.
- Wright: This is an important issue with those that love and take care of animals right now. I have talked to both sides of the discussion, the ones that want it moved, and the volunteers dedicating over 40 hours of service each week to the shelter who think it should stay. They both love animals and disagree as to the solution. We need leadership that can look for solutions to bring together two parties that both want what is best for the care of the animals. Bottom line, the shelter is underfunded and needs more personnel. We need a solution that ensures that Antioch has an animal shelter for our residents and that shelter has better compassion and care for animals than the county operation in Martinez and that it is financially sustainable.
- Harper: I respect the decisions of the voters who in (year) decided that the City of Antioch should have its own Animal Services Department. We are looking at the UC Davis report as well as Grand Jury Report and making improvements to the Animal Shelter. We have already added additional employees and volunteers. We recently entered into an MOU with Ton La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. After the review we will determine what changes are necessary and whether or not the Animal Shelter stays in the city of Antioch.
What is the city budget and what is your understanding/opinion of how the money has been spent to date?
- Wright: Our city budget is between $45 and $50 million dollars per year and rising as property taxes and Measure C funds have risen over the last few years. Over 50% of our revenue comes from property taxes and sales tax with Measure C contributing an extra 10%. Over 70% of our expenditures go to the police as the police budget for the 2015/2016 year is 36.2 million. As citizens we understand how important our police force is to our city and our quality of life and so we have increased taxes on ourselves twice over the last 4 years with Measure C and Measure O. The biggest issue with the budget is the transfer of Measure C funds that should go to hire more police officers back to the general fund. The Measure C oversight committee is our line of defense and they have gone to our City Council to question this shift and our Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem are not listening and taking action to protect us. This shell game with Measure C funds needs to stop now.
- Harper: According to our most recent mid-year budget our current operating budget is $51,469,011. We have a salary savings of $1,544,233 due to vacancies in the police department. Of this amount, $130,852 dollars is being allocated to fund additional part time Animal Care Attendants and one Office Assistant position at Animal Services next fiscal year to improve service and care at the animal shelter as approved by City Council on June 14th. We projected to receive $2.3M in Measure O revenue, but due to training of the new Business License Representative and getting the business license discovery company up and running, identifying and collecting this tax has been slower than anticipated. As a result, projections for FY16 have been reduced by $1M. So we have an internal employee working to collect measure O funds as well as an outside company. (This is from the June city council agenda). Our funds are being spent properly. We have implemented a policy to pay down unfunded liabilities and pensions as well as strengthen our reserves.
- Ogorchock: Our current budget is $52 million. Each department has their own budget to work within. The budget is complicated, lengthy in size and hard to understand. I believe we are spending our funds appropriately, but also believe we can make our budget a bit easier to understand with individual line items.
Do you believe there is a disconnect between City Hall and the residents of Antioch? If yes, how will you improve the relationship?
- Harper: I think we as a city have been more effective in our communication than ever before. We have the city manager’s weekly and monthly reports. We have the city’s facebook page as well as the police department’s facebook page. We have had special meetings, community cafes. Our city council members are out in the community engaging our residents. I personally attend multiple meetings and events and return emails and telephone calls. But we can always improve on communications. Sometimes we interpret disagreement as a disconnect, but that is not necessarily true. I don’t think measure E is evidence that the city council is disconnected. I don’t think preventing a 4 star restaurant with a few card tables from opening was a huge victory. I think this was just an attempt by a gambling establishment to limit competition. I plan to use social media more effectively to communicate with the residents of Antioch. Please check out the #theantiochchronicle.
- Ogorchock: I believe we as a city have the responsibility to reach out to the community and work towards building relationships with our constituents. We need to be present, and this is almost full time opportunity. It is not one of evenings, or a couple days a week, or just on weekends. If someone reaches out to me, it is not frivols, it is important to them, therefore important to me. I am present, I am in the community on a constant bases and will continue to do so.
- Wright: City Hall has had an inability to sit and truly listen to the residents of Antioch. They hold “charade” town hall meetings where public input is asked for but then not taken into consideration as they develop future plans. The process is broken and we need leaders who are able to listen with respect, engage in conversation from all sides and facilitate a process that leads to a final decision that is best for the citizens of Antioch. One of the ways that this relationship can and will be improved under my leadership is to bring back the community forums that were held in the past. These forums allowed for citizens to share their ideas and ask for solutions to problems that they saw in Antioch. Council and Staff were held accountable to follow up on those ideas and concerns and respond back in a timely manner. I will reinstitute this form a public engagement to allow our citizens to be involved in the process.
What do you foresee as the biggest issue facing the mayor’s seat going forward?
- Ogorchock: Transparency. There is a perception issue within our city. We do not taut what we do well, and we do a lot of great things within our city. We need share all the positivity that our city and community do. We have a beautiful river front, downtown area, Lone Tree Golf Course, Community and Event Center and Prewitt Park, we need to get the word out, share, be proactive instead of reactive. With a strong presence in social media and the media I believe we can reverse the negative perception into something positive and unique.
- Wright: Antioch needs true leadership to make difficult decisions and fight for us. Antioch is challenged and needs a new direction: a leader who listens, collaborates, communicates and unifies behind a common vision. My experience and passion are best suited to help Antioch succeed. Measure C funds- meant to reduce escalating crime- are being misspent. 100% of Measure C money needs to hire police and code enforcement officers immediately. We’ve heard the talk now we need the results. Antioch has expanded Highway 4, will extend E-BART, has access to multiple railroad lines, and a deep water port but no plan to create permanent high paying jobs. It must be easier for businesses to open in Antioch so people can live, work, play and worship in our community. These are the three biggest issues facing Antioch and I am ready to take on the challenge and ask you for your vote.
- Harper: We can’t focus on the mayor’s seat. We have to focus on the community and reducing crime, blight and improving our economy. I plan to utilize social media as never before to reach out to the community. It’s not about the mayor or the mayor’s seat. It’s about coming together with a cohesive city council and having the city manager and his staff on the same page in improving our community.
As Mayor, you are responsible for setting the agenda, how will you ensure all voices are heard to ensure agenda item requests make it onto the agenda both from councilmembers and the public?
- Wright: One of the ways that this relationship can and will be improved under my leadership is to bring back the community forums that were held in the past. They allowed for citizens to share their ideas and ask for solutions to problems that they saw in Antioch. Council and Staff were held accountable to follow up on those ideas and concerns and respond back in a timely manner. I will reinstitute this form a public engagement to allow our citizens to be involved in the process. We will hold staff and council accountable and ensure that all voices are heard, respected and answers sought.
- Harper: Technically the mayor assists the city manager in setting the agenda. Many of the agenda items are day to day operational issues. I meet with the city manager regularly. We review the requests made by councilmembers and place items on an agenda. Many questions can be answered during the city manager’s weekly one on one meetings with councilmembers. The city manager keeps a running list of city council agenda requests. More importantly we have to make sure that our agenda items move the strategic plan forward and promote economic development and jobs. We as mayor and city councilmembers have to forego any pet projects for the sake of the agreed upon strategic management plan. That is how we hold ourselves accountable.
- Ogorchock: All parties want their voices to be heard, the community’s, staff and council members, and all should be and will be when I become Mayor. I will work with the city manager to make sure that the council’s voice are agenized along with the communities. I also, believe in open forums, where all individuals who attend will have an opportunity to speak their minds and receive a response to their concerns.