The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by former Antioch City Councilmember Ralph A. Hernandez
Wrong is wrong no matter who supports it. Antioch’s proposed Transactions and Use (Sales) Tax increase Measure “W” is a trick on the public and Voters! The Mayor and Council Members, and other select employees, have much to personally gain by its passage! Measure “W” is really nothing more than more taxes paid that’ll go into the General Fund, period, with no specific or required funding for anything promised (City Attorney’s impartial analysis). The Council picked and controlled “Citizens Oversight Committee” cannot enforce or punish anyone if the money is used for any other purposes!
Antioch’s public safety and lack of manpower issues can also be pointed out as contributed to by certain greedy employee groups primarily looking out for themselves and their pocketbooks! I’ve complained regularly that our City’s public safety was being jeopardized by certain self-serving employee groups. They preferred increases in their own existing members’ wages and overall benefits, not using the money instead to pay for more Police manpower to make our city safer!
The Antioch Police Officers’ Association, in particular, when given the choice of more Police manpower, or increases in wages and benefits, always instead chose only the latter for themselves. The APOA’s support is therefore very self-serving and hypocritical, and so that they’ll receive their guaranteed raise(s) due this month, as others also expect to receive soon! It’s obvious why they want the voters to pass the Tax increase Measure “W”.
Consider for yourselves their City reported top 2017 wages / total pay and benefits of a Policeman:
- Chief = $232,164 / $430,928
- Captain = $209,292 / $392,114
- Lieutenant = $181,440 / $332,252
- Sergeant = $143,592 / $362,904
- Corporal = $129,228 / $301,723
- Officer = $114,864 / $284,948
The APOA has a very expensive generous retirement plan, for which they previously paid none of their traditional 9% share (the City paid it for them). Then their Retirement Plan was enhanced to the costlier “3% at 50” Retirement Plan, with the City once again fully paying for their additional greater costs. The APOA chose for themselves, not for more manpower! The City’s $100,000,000 plus pensions debt is another major reason why the City wants Measure “W” passed. It’ll also be used to cover up for the Mayor’s and Council’s incompetent costly decision making.
They’ve had the power to change things for the better for years, but haven’t done so. The public’s safety within our community hasn’t really improved, as it should’ve long ago! Crime essentially has been ongoing and unmitigated for too long! They’ve just given ‘feel good’ lip service to our community and made vague and unkept promises, again! Even when I’ve personally spoke out at Council meetings, and in person on a one-to-one basis with the elected Mayor and Councilman, they’ve chosen to ignore the evidence and facts presented to them!
The two Incumbents running for re-election should not be voted for! And, the Mayor and Council Members as a whole should be ashamed and step down if all they’re going to do is continue to mislead the public and fool them with this nefarious and underhanded Measure “W” just to cover their behinds. I believe that they’re nothing more than tricksters, charlatans, insincere, phony, and a disgrace to the public they claim to represent. Measure “W” is a perfect example of their continuing planned betrayals to the public!
Norma and I, as ballot signers “AGAINST” Measure “W”, challenge two of their signed “FOR” Proponents to a public and open forum debate concerning Measure “W”. The Voters deserve to publicly hear and know both sides!
Vote “NO” on Measure “W”. It’s just another fool-the-public tax increase!
Ralph A. Hernandez,
Former Antioch City Council Member