Initial Reaction: November Ballot Set, Lots of Options For Voters

Photo by Contra Costa Elections

The filing deadline has officially come and gone and the November Ballot has now been set for local races in Contra Costa County. In total, 44 races were extended until 5:00 pm Wednesday due to many incumbents who did not seek re-election.

With the ballot set, the races are now clear.

At some point this fall, I will begin interviewing candidates in certain races to better assist the public in becoming educated on not only the candidates and where they stand, but the issues and their solutions in an effort to help the public make educated choices.

Initial reaction on a few races:

Antioch Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock pulls papers as she seeks re-election

Antioch City Council
Six candidates vying for two seats for just two years. On the surface, this race appears to basically a three-person race with Councilmembers Lori Ogorchock and Tony Tiscareno seeking re-election and whether or not Joy Motts can knock one of them off.  The two winners will get to run again when Antioch has all four council spots open for election as they move to Districts—along with the Mayor, City Clerk and Treasure. Yes, terrible planning resulted in all seven seats being up for election at the same time in the 2020 election.  Depending on how Districts play out in 2020, candidates could actually end up running in three straight elections over a 6-year period.

Antioch Unified School District
With both Trustees Walter Ruehlig and Debra Vinson seeking a seat on the County Board of Education, that leaves two seats up for grabs. Do voters seek experience? Or do they seek new ideas? That is the question as two former mayors in Jim Davis or Mary Rocha have entered the race. Rocha has served on the school board before and has an understanding of the District giving her the most experience. You then have Ellie Housholder (26) and Shagoofa Khan (18) who are doing the best campaigning of the bunch through social media to date who promise to bring new ideas to a District that has some major issues it will have to address overt the next two years.  From the few public comments Clyde Lewis has made, he appears sharp and knows what he is talking about while Candida Gonzalez-Amigo (Candy) has been a parent volunteer for years and is in tune with the District, she also appears to be solid.  Either way, based on voters wants and needs, there is someone for everyone in this race.

John Fink files paperwork

Brentwood City Council
In what looked like it would be a “walk” for Councilman Joel Bryant has turned into a battle with four other worthy candidates vying for two seats. Planning Commissioner and Realtor John Fink and Brentwood Union School District Board Member Johnny Rodriguez could both provide new blood on the council if Bryant doesn’t run a smooth campaign.  Another realtor, Olga Vidrialas could play spoiler and steal a seat with a solid campaign. Mike Jones, general manager of the Streets of Brentwood, also threw his name in the hat.

Contra Costa County Board of Education – District 5
This is an interesting bunch of candidates which includes incumbent Jeff Belle, and three challengers which include Annette Lewis and Antioch School Board Trustees Walter Ruehlig and Debra Vinson.  At this point, the mantra should be “anybody but Jeff Belle” after he lied on his candidate statement which caused Assemblyman Jim Frazier to create a bill to increase the penalty for doing so from $1,000 to $10,000.  Voters should eliminate Belle off the bat and focus their attention on Lewis, Ruehlig and Vinson.

Oakley City Council
This is typical Oakley where residents cry for a change after much complaining, yet only two residents in Michael Dupray and Dezi Pina filed. With Sue Higgins and Randy Pope seeking re-election, this could be the dullest race in all of East Contra Costa County.

Photo provided by Wolfgang Croskey

Pittsburg City Council
This race has the potential to be the most exciting race in East Contra Costa with seven solid candidates running—Merl Craft being the only incumbent.   In a surprise move, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier’s District Director, Shanelle Scales-Preston filed papers while Supervisor Federal Glover’s Aid for Special projects Holland B White also filed. Wolfgang Croskey, a former planning commissioner, a local business owner and active Chamber Member, is hoping to change up the tone of City Hall and is running. Also running is Planning Commissioner Durie Foster Jr who provides a solid news feed on his Facebook page and is in tune with what is transpiring in the City. Mark Gargalikis, a general contractor, also threw his name in. Should be a fun race to watch if candidates can stick to the issues and not go personal on one another.

As I stated back in July, there is nothing easy about being an elected official or they job they have done in a previous term–being a candidate is even more tricky. They make a decision or voice an opinion and a 1,000 people shout back that they can do it better or should be done another way. So my hats off to all of you.

The following list show candidates who ill be on the ballot.

Ambrose Recreation & Park

  1. Lupe Garcia
  2. Trina Hudson
  3. Mae Torlakson

Antioch City Council (2 seats for 2 years)

  1. Nora Foster
  2. Rodney Mcclelland
  3. Joy Motts
  4. Lori Ogorchock
  5. Caroleve Prudence Capelle
  6. Tony Tiscareno

Antioch Unified School District (2 seats)

  1. Candida Gonzalez-Amigo
  2. James (Jim) Davis
  3. Elizabeth Householder
  4. Shagoofa Khan
  5. Clyde Lewis
  6. Janice E Lipnisky
  7. Mary Rocha

BART (San Francisco Bay Area Transit, District 2)

  1. Mark Foley
  2. Joel Keller

Bethel Island Municipal Improvement

  1. Frederick C Bonilla
  2. Steven Lucas
  3. Dean Moreland
  4. Bruce Smith

Brentwood City Council

  1. Joel Bryant
  2. John Fink
  3. Michael “Mike” Jones
  4. Johnny Rodriguez
  5. Olga Vidriales

Brentwood Union School

  1. Scott Dudek
  2. Emil Geddes
  3. Steve Gursky
  4. Thuy Dao Jensen
  5. Anthony Penso

Byron-Bethany Irrigation, Division 1

  1. Larry Enos
  2. Milan “Pete” Petrovich

Byron-Bethany Irrigation, Division 1

  1. Timothy Maggiore

Byron Sanitary

  1. Danny A Hamby
  2. Daniel Kelley

Byron Union School

  1. Joshua McMurray
  2. Eva Pahl
  3. Melissa Ortiz

Central Contra Costa Sanitary

  1. Stephen Maris
  2. Michael McGill
  3. David Williams

Concord City Council – District 1

  1. Judy Herman
  2. Laura Hoffmeister
  3. Ron Leone

Concord City Council – District 3

  1. Dominic Aliano
  2. Kenji Yamada

Contra Costa Board of Education – Area 2

  1. Sarah Butler
  2. Diddo Clark

Contra Costa Board of Education – Area 4

  1. John Crowder
  2. Michael Maxwell

Contra Costa County Board of Education – District 5

  1. Jeff Belle
  2. Annette Lewis
  3. Walter Ruehlig
  4. Debra Vinson

Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools (Run off)

  1. Cheryl Hansen
  2. Lynn Mackey –

Contra Costa Community College – Ward 1

  1. John E. Marquez

Contra Costa Community College – Ward 3

  1. Rebecca Barrett
  2. Murray Bishop
  3. Michael Menesini
  4. Joe Munoz

Contra Costa Community College – Ward 4

  1. Jian Li
  2. Harleston Abram Wilson

Contra Costa Water District, Division 1

  1. Lisa Borba

Contra Costa Water District, Division 2

  1. John A Burgh

Diablo Water

  1. Enrico Cinquini
  2. Kenneth Crockett
  3. Howard Hobbs
  4. Paul Segar

Discovery Bay Community Services District

  1. Kevin Graves
  2. Bryon Gutow
  3. Robert Leete
  4. Brian Roger Lax, Jr

East Bay Regional Park District – Ward 6 (no race)

  1. Beverly Lane

East Bay Regional Park District – Ward 7 (no race)

  1. Colin Coffey

East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (no race)

  1. Brian Oftedal
  2. Adam Langro
  3. Carrie Nash
  4. Stephen Smith
  5. Joseph Young

Ironhouse Sanitary District (no race)

  1. Chris Lauritzen
  2. Susan Morgan

Knightsen School

  1. Robin Pastor
  2. Liesel Williams

Knightsen Town Community Services

  1. Tricia Bello-Kunkel
  2. Linda Matteri
  3. Alvin Simas
  4. Gilbert Somerhalder

Liberty Union High

  1. Pauline Allred
  2. Roy Ghiggeri
  3. Brian Roger Lax Jr
  4. Lisa Moniz
  5. Erick Stonebarger

Martinez City Council – District 1

  1. Lara DeLaney

Martinez City Council – District 4

  1. Debbie McKillop
  2. John Stevens

Martinez – Mayor

  1. Yazmin Llamas-Morales
  2. Rob Schroder

Mt. Diablo Unified School

  1. Cherise Khaund
  2. Debra Mason
  3. Linda Mayo

Oakley City Council

  1. Michael Dupray
  2. Sue Higgins
  3. Dezi Pina
  4. Randy Pope

Oakley Union Elementary

  1. Kim Beede
  2. Erica Ippolito
  3. Mark Jordan

Pittsburg City Council

  1. Marilyn Craft
  2. Wolfgang Croskey
  3. Durie Foster, Jr.
  4. Mark Gargalikis
  5. Mark William Linde
  6. Shanelle Scales-Preston
  7. Holland Barret White

Pittsburg Unified School District (No election)

  1. Joseph Arenivar
  2. Duane Smith
  3. De’Shawn Woolridge

Walnut Creek City Council

  1. Rebecca Byrd
  2. Matt Francois
  3. Spencer Dress
  4. Iman Novin
  5. Cindy Silva

State & Federal Voting List


  • John Cox – R
  • Gavin Newsome – D

Lieutenant Governor

  • Ed Hernandez – D
  • Eleni Kounalakis – D

Secretary of State

  • Alex Padilla – D
  • Mark Meuser – R

State Controller

  • Roditis Konstantino – R
  • Betty Yee – D

State Treasurer

  • Greg Conlon – R
  • Fiona Ma – D

State Attorney General

  • Steven Bailey – R
  • Xavier Becerra – D

State Insurance Commissioner

  • Ricardo Lara – D
  • Steve Poizner – no party preference

United States Senator

  • Kevin De Leon – D
  • Diane Feinstein – D

US Congress – District 5

  • Anthony Mills – no party preference
  • Mike Thompson – D

US Congress – District 9

  • Marla Livengood – R
  • Jerry McNerney – D

US Congress – District 11

  • Mark DeSaulnier – D
  • John Fitzgerald  – R

California State Assembly – District 11

  • Jim Frazier – D
  • Lisa Romero – R

California State Assembly – District 14

  • Tim Grayson – D
  • Aasim Yahya = D

California State Assembly – District 15

  • Jovank Doreen Beckles
  • Buffy Wicks – D

California State Assembly – District 16

  • Rebecca Bauer Kahan – D
  • Catharine Baker – R

California State Superintendent of Public Schools

  • Tony Thurmond
  • Marshall Tuck

For the full election details, click here.

Mike Burkholder
Publisher of EastCountyToday

Candidates may contact me at [email protected] with any press releases or information regarding their campaign.


  1. Antioch needs to wake up and pay attention. Jim Davis was a horrible mayor and his 14 years on the council left a mess the current council and city is dealing with. He was unresponsive and if you recall, 2011-2012 had some of the worst crime to date because he was mayor when they cut the police force. Go back to 2010, the Antioch Police force had just 95 offices. Fast forward to today, even with Measure C they are still at 95 officers. Some things never change. Thanks Jim Davis for being part of the biggest screw up in Antioch by firing cops instead of cutting elsewhere. You had a slogan of Tough On Crime, yes I still have the mailer, you should change it to tough on cops!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I can’t believe Jeff Belle is running office again. Does he have no shame for what he did? I don’t understand politics and why he wasn’t forced to resign. I don’t like any of my choices in that race. Did the quality of candidates go down this year?

    Watch out for Rodney Mcclelland in the Antioch City Council Race, he would be fantastic on the council.

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