On Tuesday night, the Antioch City Council voted unanimously to remove Lamar Thorpe from the Economic Development Commission as well as serving as Councilwoman Monica Wilson’s alternate on the City Council.
Wade Harper stated he would like to have Thorpe removed from the Economic Development Commission due to Thorpes’ involvement with the Card Room Initiative, sponsored by the California Grand Casino in Pacheco (CA) and is in the electoral process in the City of Antioch.
Although Harper wanted to perform the removal quietly through letter, the City Attorney stated it had to be done in public since the appointment was done in public.
During Public Comment, Antioch resident Karl Dietzel addressed Monica Wilson
“I support and ask you to remove Lamar Thorpe as an Economic Development Commissioner. I am stunned that a commissioner in our city goes and works with an outside company to just dictate what we do. The problem with Antioch is that we are run way by outsiders. Investors, builders, god knows now gaming industry. To me that is an ethical problem, how can one of our economic commissioners who represents us work for somebody else to stop it. I just support that you remove him,” explained Dietzel. “Monica, I had a chance to talk to you outside, I am very disappointed in your double sided decision making process and I feel like even though I support the removal of Lamar, I feel like Lamar is scapegoat for your problem and your mistake. You voted at council to vote one way and then signed the petition the other way. I just hope it really hurts you for your campaign because that is not the way to run things. We need to run our city by our council, not from outsiders.”
Lamar Thorpe then addressed the council highlighting his disappointment with the decision to remove him from the economic development commission.
“I am thoroughly disappointed because I have a disagreement with you mayor and council about a particular issue and that you would use that to retaliate against me to remove me from the Antioch Economic Development Commission where I have been advocating for the prosperity of our city,” explained Thorpe. “Not only have you burdened the city of Antioch with the fiscal responsibility of an election, you have gone out of your way to remove an asset because I do not hold the same opinion as you.”
Thorpe further stated he will continue to work for the city of Antioch to promote safety, economic growth and accountability because he has a vested interest in the city.
Antioch resident Fred Hoskins spoke on procedures saying this could have been handled within the economic development commissioners to get their opinion.
“People make mistakes, but the mistake here is a mudslinging slam against a human being who sincerely gives a heck of a lot to this city. So if it takes the entire council members to vote out his removal, why don’t we just vote to keep him on the commission because I find out the Mayor doesn’t have any discretion on letting him go, its got to take all of you,” said Hoskins. “Now we have an opportunity to right a wrong. I am asking you to retain Lamar as a commissioner and if you wish.”
Willie Mims highlighted he was in disagreement with removing Lamar Thorpe from the commission.
“One of the concerns I have was that your attorney made the decision to put this item on the agenda without consultation with the council who is supposed to make the final decision on anything, so why did your attorney bypass you to make the decision in the first place,” said Mims.
Mayor Wade Harper stated Mr. Mims misunderstood.
“I asked for it to be put on the agenda. He talked about the process. I wanted to do it by letter and just quietly remove the person and I wanted to do it by letter and there are emails that went back and forth that prove that,” stated Harper. “The attorney recommended this is our process since it was done openly this is how we have to do it, openly. So I wanted to do it by letter, it would have been done fine privately but this is our process since the entire voted on it the entire council has to vote on this.”
Mr. Mims stated he was in total opposition of the removal of Thorpe.
“This man has been the recipient of a public assault of battery on his character and that the political pressure from the newspapers seem to be coming down on this council to make that decision. The decision should not be made based on what is being printed in the newspaper. My question to all of you is that did any of you ask Lamar, did any of you get his side of the story. At least he deserves to give his side of the story instead of the side of the side that has been printed in the newspaper,” explained Mims. “This is an assault on his character and I hope you have the moral courage and intellectual heart not to accept this recommendation.”
Councilwoman Mary Rocha highlighted that two-years ago she went to a meeting in Concord where Thorpe, who was representing the city did not shed good light on the City of Antioch.
“What he did was stand up there and blast us about how terrible we were as a council. How we were not doing the right thing and how economic development was a waste in Antioch,” said Rocha. “Maybe those were not the correct words, but Sean (Wright) knows what I am talking about. I took him to task, I came back and reported to Monica because he was her representative, reported to the Mayor and said this was not right for somebody in one of our commissions to be putting down Antioch in public, especially in Concord where everybody was there. I was very embarrassed and had to make my remarks to counter what he had said.”
Rocha stated to Mr. Mims that at certain times, people need to have respect for the City of Antioch.
Mayor Wade Harper stated that when you represent Antioch
“When you represent the City of Antioch as a commissioner, you are representing the City of Antioch. As a citizen of course, you are free to sign petitions and do whatever you want with petitions, but to prevent any further conflict of interest I do not think he should serve on the economic development commission, especially if he is advocating for a casino that wants to have an impact, whether favorable or unfavorable on the city of Antioch.,” said Harper. “There was a Letter to the Editor which he wrote, it criticized the city council so he did not point out he was one of the proponents openly, but did so in a Letter to the Editor.”
The Antioch City Council then voted 5-0
Thorpe also removed as Councilwoman Monica Wilsons Alternate
Councilwoman Monica Wilson submitted written notice that she wished to remove both Lamar Thorpe and Patrice Guillory as her alternate City Council Member backup.
The alternate councilmembers fill in for elected councilmembers in the event of a declared emergency and a councilmember is unavailable or dead.
The letter to remove both Thorpe and Guillory was submitted on February 16, 2016.
Fred Hoskins addressed Councilwoman Monica Wilson because he stated this was Monica’s decision, not the rest of the council.
“I am very sorry if you were duped into a decision that forced the city into making a decision concerning money. But I don’t think you had to have consensus in your designating who was your backup… I would like to see Monica, lets let this go, if you want someone to replace Lamar, just do it. Don’t make a public spectacle out of it. It is not appropriate and it’s absolutely unbelievable,” said Hoskins. “No individual doing what they think is right should be admonished for a circumstance that developed.”
Willie Mims stated that when you make decisions, one should not allow the newspaper to change your mind.
“The newspaper has a habit of bullying people and I felt like Lamar and Patrice were recipients of a bullying attack which was totally unfair. I find this somewhat troubling to have these two on the agenda as an item. Was it necessary? Couldn’t you just have not removed them and be gone with it,” highlighted Mims. “I am concerned because their names were dragged through the mud. It was a serious and an injustice to them.”
Mims opposed the recommendation by Wilson and stated they should stay where they are.
City Attorney Derek Cole highlighted that the attorney’s office said this was a matter of process and the city codes do require appointments be ratified by the council, but any removal from office be ratified by council.
Councilwoman Monica Wilson, for the second time in the night, stated she did sign the petition.
“I signed it willingly because I felt like this had a significant amount of people signing it and I really do believe this really should go to the voters and I felt like councilmembers voted for this to go to the June ballot so the voters have an opportunity to talk on this, but to this matter, yes there is a lot of buzz and chatter going on about this and it’s become quite a distraction.”
Wilson noted she was fine with Don Freitas being her only alternate.
Councilwoman Mary Rocha highlighted to the public that they had to appoint with public approval so they also have to remove with public approval.
The Council voted 5-0 to remove Thorpe and Guillory.
Monica Wilson came off looking really bad. Her comments made no sense that she signed a petition then says she wanted the voters to decide? She is talking out of both sides and clearly is in over her head. I actually feel bad for Lamar after hearing him speak. He is the scapegoat for Wilson’s double speaking and she not have been removed.
ECT wrote about political bullying recently and maybe this is part of what they were talking about. If this is how both Wade Harper and Monica Wilson run Antioch, I’d hate to see them serving the Contra Costa County on the Board of Supervisors
This whole thing is embarrassing to Antioch and hope change comes soon in November. We need stronger leaders and no more political games or bullying.
Jim, I will respond to your comments since you mentioned my name. My decision to request for the removal of the commissioner was made with careful consideration. Our commissioners should not be carrying the water for Cardrooms/casinos. Keep in mind that it was the commissioner’s actions that brought this issue forward. I believe I responded appropriately to have the commissioner removed. My city council unanimously agreed. The commissioner will be able to continue his work with the Cardrooms/casino as a proponent of the Cardrooms ordinance without any conflict in serving as an Economic Development Commissioner. I welcome your comments.
I am reposting this from the other article
Monica Wilson, you are two faced and a fraud. You signed the petition and then vote to place it on the ballot. If you felt that strongly on it, you could have fought to ensure your council adopted it before money is wasted if you claim so many signatures were on it. Did you forget it was only a year ago the council created its own ordinance that was strong and you sold them out too.
Your actions do not match up with your weak words. Instead, you followed the lead yet again of your mayor and council. You do not have leadership skills, you are a follower and hope you lose your election for both supervisor and council in a landslide.
An example of COVER MY BUTT and do as I say not as I do. Funny how someone can disagree with what is right and then be removed because members of the council. This council sucks. What goes around comes around Monica Wilson! If Lamar is your guy and we know you are friends, you should stick up for him and what you believe in. Instead, you threw him under the bus to protect your own butt. Sorry, that backfired on you.
Hopefully the public is now aware of how you operate and reject you like you did to Lamar.
Good job Karl Dietzel, you said it well and sums up about how I feel. Shame on Monica Wilson.
When I was a member of the Economic Development Commission I found Lamar to be a voice of reason and advocate for Antioch. He is passionate and bright and doesn’t deserve this action against him. Antioch has lost a voice for the people.
A little bit of history here. Lamar Thorpe takes great pride in bragging how he helped get Monica Wilson elected to the Antioch City Council as her campaign consultant. In return, Thorpe was appointed to the Economic Development Commission.
A few years later, they both throw each other under the bus by Lamar highlighting Monica signed the petition. In return, she removes him as her alternate council member and the council removes Lamar from the economic development commission.
Monica and Lamar deserve each other, neither should be serving public office either elected or appointed. I agree with karl’s comments at the council meeting. I can also appreciate Willie Mims comments.
Lamar did nothing wrong. He had a difference of opinion with the Council and they chose to alienate him and make him out to be the devil. Political bullying at its best which started with the Antioch Herald. No reason to remove Lamar unless Harper and Wilson are worried about their political future.
This entire council are a bunch of bullies.
I thought the former commissioner that spoke during this item had very interesting things to say about the commission. Some of which I have felt for a very long time. This commission has not worked for the City of Antioch for a long time. Wish I had written down exactly what she had said.
Lamar should not have been removed. He was doing what he felt right and I hope this comes back to bite Monica in the a$$. The Council has lost my support over the Beede lot but has lost my respect for their pettyness on Lamar. This council is really something else. Monica, grow up!
So does this mean that anyone pushing for the Beede lot town square will be removed from any city committee or no longer be allowed to participate? Remember council, you have set a precedent, now you have to treat all people fairly and the same.
Lamar did not live by the oath he took when he became a Economic Development Commissioner. He is suppose to work for the good of Antioch, not sell us down the drain. It is clear that he saw this as a political move to help get him elected to either the City Council or the Treasurers office. I do not care for his morals or ethics.
Oh the drama! Like watching a Jerry Springer show.
Man, I love Antioch.
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