Home Antioch Editorial: Self-Promoting Antioch Mayor Uses Sycamore Crime to Get More TV Time

Editorial: Self-Promoting Antioch Mayor Uses Sycamore Crime to Get More TV Time

by ECT

On Monday, Antioch residents will be treated to yet another Mayor Lamar Thorpe press conference as he will release a plan to address Sycamore Square in the City of Antioch.

In another “all about me” grandstanding segment, we will hear several proposals from Thorpe who will announce a crime prevention package, taking youth off the streets while providing them with employment and placing the store front owners on “notice” by preparing to call the site a “public nuisance”.

Sadly, TV media will likely fall for his shenanigans once again and showcase him across Bay Area TV screens when in reality he is piggybacking off the work of councilemmbers Tamisha Torres-Walker and Mike Barbanica who already put out videos with their plans which got no play aside from this publication and the Antioch Herald.

Both plans were reasonable and could be a starting point to actually making something happen to improve not only Sycamore corridor, but the entire community.

Say what you will about Torres-Walker, but her two videos last week calling for four more officers in the Sycamore corridor were raw, emotional and from the heart—ultimately, she was spot on in calling for the hiring of four more officers.

Although the videos are now deleted, she does deserve credit for going down to Sycamore, talking with the owners, residents and even spending several hours with the Antioch Police Department in conversation—she put in the work, she got uncomfortable and from what I was told asked some very tough questions.  In this case, she showed leadership in requesting more officers even if everything inside of her was saying otherwise.

For Barbanica, same thing.

His plan called for 2.5% increase in the police department each year until they reach approximately 170 officers – or the state standard of 1.48 officers per 1,000 residents. It may not be feasible without some major adjustments to the budget, but it’s a starting point.  Perhaps instead of 170 officers, they work towards 150-officers over the next several years.

Both indicated they would make proposals at the July 27th council meeting.

It’s both stunning and showcases the mayors ego that he would come out a day before the council meeting to put out his own proposal while ignoring his fellow councilmembers – another example of it being all about him and not working well with others.

And from what I have been told, the Mayor has not had a single conversation about Sycamore Corridor with Antioch Police officers while he was there last week—at least Torres-Walker did engage with the police before making her proposal.

Here is Thorpe’s Full Statement:

Sycamore Square… ripe for opportunity but for over 3 decades has been riddled with drug activity that spirals into violence. I spent this week visiting with the property owner, store front owners, residents, and yes the people involved in illicit activities about the challenges surrounding this little strip mall.

On Monday at 11 am (in the parking lot), I’ll be holding a press conference unveiling a crime prevention package focused on taking youth off Antioch’s streets by providing them with employment.

I’ll also be putting the property and store front owners on notice, I’m prepared to declare this site a public nuisance and require owners to take the necessary steps to mitigate issues that make it easy for criminal activity to occur on private property.

Additionally, I’ll discuss additional police overtime for proactive enforcement, a partnership with Contra Costa County Probation Department and more.

There is a lot to unpack here, but its rather ironic that Thorpe, who has sat on the city council for four years and now mayor since December, issues a statement on Sycamore after two council members issue statements. Was he asleep at the wheel for the past 5 years? Did this issue suddenly come up? No.

For starters, you don’t blame the business owners for a decades old problem and you especially don’t threaten them by declaring the site a public nuisance when the city has several other locations in the same boat—such as Cavallo and E 18th and Sommersville areas. Instead, you work with them. You come up with a plan as a council and with department heads within the city. You guy buy in from community stakeholders such as residents and the business owners—yes, the property owner will have to step up as well.

You don’t make grandiose statements just to make them. You need meat and potatoes with it and actual goals with accountability.

This is not going to be an overnight fix, a few months or even a year. Its going to take a lot of time, effort and resources.  This issue is much bigger than Antioch from Prop 47, AB 109 to zero bail (catch and release) and state laws that make it easier on the criminals to avoid jail time. And that is not even including the elephant in the room that this is a social economic issue.

So when I hear the mayor claim police overtime, he is fooling everyone and kidding himself.

For a detail like he may be proposing, officers would have to utilize their days off to come in for overtime, not work a 10-hour shift and go out for a few more hours. Sure, the money may be great and officers can take advantage of that in the short term, but then you have officers working for money rather than community investment—that is what I call a Band-Aid approach.

Unlike Walkers plan, who called for four new officers specifically for Sycamore Corridor, they can focus on relationship building, community policing, create programs and over time it should reduce crime and revitalize that shopping center with less riffraff.  She got it right!

Thorpe is seeking high profile patrols in a community that is anti-police which will likely result in high-profile confrontations which may result in excessive use of force complaints. Basically, he is asking for trouble with this approach even though the Antioch Police Department has conducted proactive details for years in this neighborhood.

One has to question if this is truly aimed at beginning to solve a problem, or the launch of a much larger campaign to create a bigger problem and arbitrarily use the Sycamore Corridor as a way to put police officers in the news to fit his anti-police narrative to further push policy down the road—perhaps to get him enough “street cred” for higher elected office.

Ironically, this new press conference is the exact opposite he has preached for months as he rammed down his police reform policy. Now we are going backwards. More police presence and less community policing?

This yo-yo mentality he has showcases he is in over his head and people should begin to see this. How can one blast the police department for the past year only to now need them to address a problem area in the city? This guy is unbelievable.

Ultimately, by announcing the press conference instead of a plan, highlights a Mayor who is not serious about getting to the root of the problem. He is more focused on putting his name out there, passing the buck all while TV media will placate to him as a new media darling.

The residents of Antioch should not be fooled by this media play by Thorpe any longer, his undermining of his fellow councilmembers and power trip. I encourage the community to stay on point with the issues and begin seeking accountability, asking tough questions and participate in your local government at all levels by working on solutions, not being obstructionists.

Thorpe has gotten away with too much for too long with a loud minority running the show and grandstanding during council meetings. The silent majority now must get involved and take back its community from this incompetent leadership.

The community needs to begin getting involved at some point, lets hope it begins during Tuesdays meeting.

Mike Burkholder

Mike Burkholder
Publisher of ECT
[email protected]


Street-Sweeper Jul 25, 2021 - 8:40 am

Mike Barbanica can really make a positive change in the community if HE chooses to. He is really the only hope at this point for the citizens of Antioch.

Thorpe and Torres-Walker are fucking useless and talk out both sides of their mouths.

Bill Moon Jul 25, 2021 - 8:41 am

Has the Antioch City Council been asleep at the wheel. This issue has been going on since the 1970’s. I agree with 95% of this editorial. Its like Tamisha woke up one day and decided Sycamore crime was an issue. Where has she been? I like how it was pointed out Thorpe has been on the council for 4 years and mayor for nearly a year. He could have at any point done something for Sycamore. It wasn’t until 2 others had a plan? Ya, okay Mr. Mayor.

Jerry Jul 25, 2021 - 8:42 am

HAHAHAHHAHAHA this is classic. Nailed it, Need more of these pieces published please.

Munson Jul 25, 2021 - 8:46 am

Thank you for this. Thorpe can’t stand when others get attention. There is no good reason why the Walker and Barbanica could not request their plans at the council meeting and they tackle those ideas before Thorpe inserting his own ideas. Thorpe is an attention seeker who likes headlines but has done next to nothing. Thanks for calling it like it is ECT

Amy Jul 25, 2021 - 8:55 am

I am so sick of Thorpes press conference. Just introduce the policy at the council meeting like a normal person. His attention seeking ego is just too much.

Donna Salazar Jul 25, 2021 - 9:47 am

Why does he hold press conferences ? Always trying to create News. Instead of just doing his job thus by his actions becoming News Worthy. Also how can 4 more policemen make a difference anywhere in Antioch if they are working with their hands tied?
Give the officers we have the equipment to do their job safely while keeping the rest of us safe. Body Cameras and Tazers made after the year 2000 come to mind. If you don’t you put 4 more Human beings 1st responders lives at risk. TTW can’t have it both ways. Obstruct vital city police policy’s and actions. Then try to cover up THAT SHE IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE ANTI POLICE BECAUSE SHE ILLEGALLY SITS ON THE CITY COUNCIL
She wants police unable to defend themselves. She wants organized attacks on police. She cares nothing for this city.

Tracy Jul 25, 2021 - 11:28 am

Did you see the part in her email to Chief Brooks where she just has to remind him that she knows what it’s like to have police chase someone (a reference to her kids who ride on the streets illegally) … this was in her email regarding the “rideouts” promoting by her son.

She is on that council illegally, because she’s an ARSONIST — whether treated as a convicted felon or hit with a “misdemeanor” doesn’t matter. She needs to be removed.

Tim Jul 25, 2021 - 10:25 am

If you take nothing else from this editorial, pay attention to the last part. The time to get involved is NOW! Show up to council meetings, issue public comments. Hold them accountable. Speak up. Stop being silent. The imamates have run this city for far to long.

Robert C. Jul 25, 2021 - 2:36 pm

Your analysis of Mr. Thorpe is spot on. He’s an incompetent joke. This is where a recall election truly needs to happen.

Terry Wilde Jul 27, 2021 - 9:57 pm

ROBERT C. There’s a RECALL PETITION to get him out on the .. change.org… site … if you subscribe to NextDoor, someone there has a direct link to it. I will double-check.

Lola Saavedra Jul 25, 2021 - 4:19 pm

When the live meetings start, my friends and I will walk in carrying fire extinguishers.

BULLDOZER Jul 25, 2021 - 4:25 pm

Why does this POS consider the store front businesses to be a “public nuisance?” I hope they fight him tooth and nail. It’s ROMI’s LIQUORS which is a public nuisance. It should be bulldozed into dust.

Martin NMN Jul 26, 2021 - 1:49 am

Why is Lamar bothering with the Sycamore problem? The feds are already working on that. It’s out of the city’s hands.

LoveableCurmudgeon Jul 26, 2021 - 4:15 am

Don’t know if Mr. Barbanica is interested, but his work on the City Council sure makes him the right person to be mayor of Antioch. He has been the most effective, and proactive, council member in my 30 years in Antioch.

Street-Sweeper Jul 26, 2021 - 9:43 am

Then he should step up and have no fear.

John Q Public Jul 26, 2021 - 10:15 am

These two make Ralph Hernandez and Mary Rocha look competent

Street-Sweeper Jul 26, 2021 - 4:52 pm

Lol, so true!

Grace Wilson Jul 27, 2021 - 2:32 pm

Hay Lamar! You want to improve the entire community? That’s easy! JUST LEAVE ANTIOCH! Take the arsonist and the vice-mayor with you!

Tiffany Silva Jul 28, 2021 - 12:18 pm

ROBERTC. You can access the RECALL PETITION by going here:



Len Judge Jul 29, 2021 - 7:37 pm

We have to do whatever it takes to save Antioch from this disgusting trio! I and my friends and neighbors just signed the recall petition to get this honcho gone. Now we have to work on the Wilson woman. The foul-mouthed Walker one is not legally elected, so she should just be kicked out. Her vote means nothing!

Chris Aug 6, 2021 - 12:28 pm

Another clown show 🤡🤡🤡by our worthless Mayor.

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