Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Be Ready to Vote! Voter registration training at Pittsburg Library Sept. 21

Monday, September 9th, 2019

Want to take meaningful action for the 2020 elections? Learn how to register others to vote.

A half-hour voter registration training will be just one of many voter services featured on Saturday, September 21 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. at the Pittsburg Library, 80 Power Avenue in Pittsburg.

The League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley will present ways for those interested in improving our election process and educating voters to get involved. Meet Joe Canciamilla, Contra Costa County Clerk and Registrar of Voters, who will explain the County’s push for voting by mail to make it easier for commuters and others to cast their ballots. Learn about Voters Edge to view online information about candidates and ballot issues. The League trains volunteers to describe the pros and cons of ballot measures to community groups and to act as timers and moderators for TV taped candidate roundtables.

The meeting coincides with the National Day of Registration on September 24. The event is free to the public and parking is available at the Pittsburg Library. The Library is also three-tenths of a mile from the Pittsburg Center BART Station.

For more information contact the League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley at [email protected]

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Embattled County Assessor Kramer to challenge Glover for Supervisor in next year’s elections

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors District 5 Map.

Gus Kramer from the County Assessor’s webpage.

By Daniel Borsuk

Legally and politically embattled Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer is “seriously planning” to run for the District 5 seat of the Contra County Board of Supervisors, a seat held by 20-year veteran Federal Glover of Pittsburg, the Contra Costa Herald has learned.

District 5 includes portions of Antioch north of Highway 4.

Miffed earlier this month when the board of supervisors decided to not award him a 1.96 percent cost-of-living increase that would have raised  his annual salary from $208,013  to $212,086, based on findings of an average salary study Contra Costa County Administrator David Tawa had compiled of nine other counties of elected officials holding the offices of assessor, auditor-controller, clerk-recorder, and treasurer-tax collector. (See related article)

“I am planning to file for the district five seat,” said Kramer. “I will file in March.”

At the early August board of supervisors meeting, Twa instructed supervisors to not award the assessor a cost-of-living increase by stating, “Currently the Assessor is 1.96 percent below the Average of the nine Bay Area comparable counties. A salary adjustment for the Assessor will be considered at a later date, once other issues in the Department have been resolved.”

Federal Glover from his Facebook page.

Kramer was re-elected to another four-year term of office in last November’s election, so he says he has nothing to lose in running for a supervisorial seat, he told The Herald.

Without going into detail, Kramer did not address the ongoing legal challenges he faces chiefly the Superior Court proceedings on allegations of “willful or corrupt” misconduct in office involving county employees.

The county assessor, who resides in Martinez, but grew up and attended and graduated from former Pacifica High School in Bay Point, said he has no problem running against veteran supervisor Glover.

“I want to reveal what is really going on during those closed door sessions.  There are many unanswered questions about the legality of those closed sessions,” Kramer said.

In the meantime, Glover told the Herald he plans to run for a sixth four-year term.

“I plan to run for re-election in 2020,” Glover said. “I have worked hard for the constituents of District 5. I will run on my strong record.”

Glover would not comment on Kramer’s prospective candidacy.

“I don’t want to read anything into it at this time,” he said.

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Antioch School Board approves map for district elections in 2020, will have to be redrawn for 2022

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

Antioch Unified School District Board of Trustees District Elections Map. By Cooperative Strategies.

Three seats will be up for election in 2020, two in 2022; Rocha, Householder currently live in same district

By Allen Payton

At a special meeting on Monday, July 1, the Antioch School Board approved a map for their first ever district elections on a 4-0 vote. Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White was absent at the time of the vote. The new districts will take effect during the November 2020 election. AUSD Trustee Map 4B & Statistics

The entire meeting lasted a little more than four minutes, with no members of the public speaking. The board’s vote took place during the first two-and-a-half minutes of the meeting, and Sawyer-White arrived about three minutes late. (View the meeting, on the District’s YouTube Channel, here).

According to the staff report, Board members are currently elected in “at-large” elections, where each member is elected by voters throughout the District. At its May 23, 2018, meeting, the Board adopted a resolution No. 2017-18-28 indicating its intent to transition to “by-trustee-area” elections, in compliance with the state’s Voting Rights Act, and in response to a threatened lawsuit. The same attorney who threatened to sue the District, is the same one who threatened the City of Antioch, which also changed to district elections beginning in 2020.

In May, the district published four proposed trustee area maps on the District’s website for consideration by the Board and the community. Community meetings were held on May 28, 2019, and June 1, 2019. As a result, revised scenario maps 1A and 4A were created and posted. An additional map, scenario map 5, was submitted for consideration on June 6, 2019, and posted on June 7, 2019.

At the June 12, 2019, Board of Education meeting, Trustee Ellie Householder requested revisions to scenario map 4A. Scenario map 4B was then created and posted.

A hearing was held at the June 26, 2019, Board meeting and the Board members requested an additional hearing, which occurred Monday night.

The vote also means not all trustees will be up for election at the same time, but all five seats will be up for four-year terms. Three seats will be up in 2020, those of Board President Gary Hack, Vice President Diane Gibson-Gray and Sawyer-White. None of them live in the same district as another trustee. Hack lives in District 4, Gibson-Gray in District 1 and Sawyer-White in District 3.

For the two seats up for election in 2022, the other two trustees, Mary Rocha and Householder live in District 5. So, if both choose to run for reelection, they will either have to run against each other or one would have to move to the other district. None of the incumbents currently live in District 2, which is also up for election in 2022.

The districts are based on the 2010 Census and will have to be redrawn in 2021, prior to the 2022 election and be based on the District population determined by the 2020 Census. Rocha and Householder may end up not living in the same district. But, if they end up living in the district of another trustee who was elected in 2020, they would either have to move to the other district or not be able to run.

The five districts as currently drawn have population sizes ranging from 20,810 to 22,507, and each includes at least two elementary schools.

Filing for candidates in the November 2020 election opens next July.

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Antioch School Board considers four alternatives for 2020 district election maps

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

By Allen Payton

At their regular meeting on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 the Antioch School Board was presented with four alternative maps for the district elections in November 2020. They take into consideration racial demographics, locations of the district schools, as well as the locations of the current residence of each of the five trustees. AUSD Trustee Area Scenarios Presentation 052219

Only Trustee Ellie Householder had suggestions for the consultant from Cooperative Strategies, asking that he return with another alternative combining Scenarios 1 and 2. No one from the public spoke on the matter.

A schedule for public input on the maps is as follows:

Tuesday, May 28 – Community Meeting on Trustee Area Scenarios at the District Office at 5 p.m.

Saturday, June 1 – Community Meeting on Trustee Area Scenarios at Black Diamond Middle School at 10 a.m.

Wednesday, June 12 – Board Meeting: Second Public Hearing on Trustee Area Scenarios

Wednesday, June 24 – Board Meeting: Final Public Hearing on Trustee Area Scenarios, Board Consideration of Map and Change in Election Method, Public Hearing on General Waiver Request, Board Consideration of General Waiver Request.

July/August – County Committee on School District Organization Holds a Public Hearing and Considers Approval of Change in Election Method and Trustee Area Map.

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Rep. DeSaulnier to host two “Conversation on Race” Town Halls with Special Guests Rep’s. Bass and Lee

Friday, April 12th, 2019

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) will host a pair of town halls to engage in a “Conversation on Race” on Tuesday, April 23rd and Saturday, April 27th. These town halls are the latest in a series of discussions on race hosted by Congressman DeSaulnier and are intended to facilitate more understanding, healing, and progress to help us move forward as a nation.

“A Conversation on Race” Town Halls
Tuesday, April 23rd

Special Guest: Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and first African American woman Speaker of the California Assembly

6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Diablo Valley College Cafeteria

321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523


Saturday, April 27th

Hosted With: Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13)

12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Black Repertory Group Theater

3201 Adeline Street, Berkeley, CA 94703


These events are open to the public, press, and photographers.

Please RSVP at or by calling 925-933-2660. To request ADA accommodations or for more information, please contact Congressman DeSaulnier’s Walnut Creek or Richmond office.

Congressman DeSaulnier launched his first town hall of this series on February 3, 2018 and information on it can be found here.

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A split Antioch School Board votes against promoting V.P. Sawyer-White to president

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

The new Antioch Unified School District Board of Trustees at their first meeting together on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. From left to right, Diane Gibson-Gray, Ellie Householder, Board President Gary Hack, then Vice President Crystal Sawyer-White, Mary Rocha and Superintendent Stephanie Anello.

Speaker, new Trustee Householder decry it being the second time an African American female board vice president bypassed for president; Hack re-elected

Crystal Sawyer-White. Photo courtesy of AUSD.

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018 the Antioch School Board on a 3-2 split vote, chose to not elect Crystal Sawyer-White to be president of the board for the next year. Instead they voted to have Board President Gary Hack to serve for another year. Hack initially said he was abstaining from the vote stating, “yeah, I know it’s a cop-out” but then changed his vote to a “no”. He was joined by Trustee Diane Gibson Gray and new Trustee Mary Rocha in opposition, while the other new trustee, Ellie Householder joined Sawyer-White in support of her appointment.

Members of the public, school district staff and Gibson Gray gave their reasons why Sawyer-White should not be president, that she “was not ready”. One public speaker decried it as racism, pointing out the fact that it was the second time in a row that an African American female board vice president was not elevated to serve as president of the board. Former trustee Debra Vinson was denied the presidency last year, at the end of her year as vice president. Householder shared some of the concerns expressed by Mims. Rocha didn’t speak on the item.

During public comments Mission Elementary School Principal Monte Gregg was first to speak on the matter. She asked the board to “Look at the board meeting of Oct. 24, 2018 starting at 2 hours 33 minutes and you can hear the direct quote of board Vice President Crystal Sawyer-White and facts speak for themselves.”

Velma Wilson, who has been at odds with Sawyer-White in the past, said, “When we have leadership you really must learn how to follow before you can be an effective leader. I have been at these board meetings and I have sat here and have endured disrespect. I was actually even told by board trustee Crystal Sawyer-White that I committed a Brown Act violation. So, everyone in this room knows that Velma Wilson can’t commit a Brown Act violation. Oh, but Crystal you won’t know that, because you just missed the Brown Act training that this district had available for you and you didn’t attend.”

Sawyer-White attempted to say something, but Wilson said, “No. Don’t cut me off, sister. Not, tonight.”

“You do not know Brown Act, you do not know Roberts Rules of Order…you will not be suitable to sit in the role of president. Crystal Sawyer-White is not ready.”

The next speaker was Amy Betterncourt, a coordinator in the district’s educational services department, who provided some statistics about Sawyer-White’s tenure on the board. “She has arrived late 68% of all meetings…the board as a collective whole has been tardy 13% of that time. I have concerns with Trustee Sawyer-White’s ability to vote independently. For example, there were seven occasions of 373 action items in which she did not align her votes with former trustee (Debra) Vinson. There were 11 occasions in the last year in which Ms. Stephanie Anello had to remind her that the information she claimed to have no knowledge of were discussed at a previous meeting or shared in a Friday board update. Furthermore, Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White has participated on discussion items which totaled 86 minutes collectively. Of that time 73 minutes were spent on her personal growth as a board member and her desire to have a conference and travel budget.”

Willie Mims, a frequent critic of the school district, was next to speak claiming the decision was race related.

“I’m sitting back there listening to this, an egregious assault upon a board member. I didn’t hear one positive thing that came out of these people’s mouths of what this lady has done since she has been on this board. No one is entitled to anything. But when it comes to fairness and equality then she deserves an opportunity like everybody else. I know that last year, two years ago, there was another African American woman who was slated to become board president. They found all kinds of excuses not to appoint her. Now we’re sitting here and the same thing. So, I’m looking at the issue of race coming into play here. Regardless of what these people are saying the elephant in the room is race. You had one in Debra Vinson. You found some kind of way to get rid of her, not to promote her. Now you have one, here scheduled to become the next board president. You’re supposed to be operating on a rotation basis. The board president does not belong in the hands of one or two people, every year a recycle center. Everybody should get an opportunity to serve regardless of what you think about them. I stand here in support of Crystal Sawyer-White. I think that you as a board you need to operate beyond the racial lens from which you see, which you view the world. See this person as a human being who has served this board, who served her community as no one else has. Regardless of what they said, she does support children.”

Several in the audience applauded Mims’ comments.

Jason Murphy was the last public speaker, stating he is “Dr. Jason Robert Murphy, I’m actually a director of educational services.”

“When I came to this community along with my late wife who also had the opportunity to serve the community as a teacher…we both had the opportunity to continue work in the spirit of putting students first. I wanted to thank you for the opportunity for the learning experiences. All I would ask is that we continue to make decisions in the interest of students. That is why we are here.”

Board Discussion and Votes

The board then took up the matter, with Hack speaking first.

“Knowing full well that there is a precedence of presidents being elected for two-year terms. But I have developed a philosophy. Let me share those five things.”

“I think the president needs to understand…that the task is to facilitate not dominate. Second one is being president is not a personal agenda, it’s a district wide agenda. The president needs to be out and about in the district seeing what’s happening. And to be prepared to attend and give speeches at community events…including the graduation ceremonies, and to put the district’s business high on their agenda. I think those are things we need to think about whoever the president is going to be.”

Householder was next to speak, asking questions about the history of the position.

“I was under…the idea that it was under a rotation basis,” she said.

Anello asked Gibson-Gray to share the background of the presidency.

“We have had board members take the position in two years, when the vice president may or may not have been ready,” she said. “Part of the problem is, too not everyone jumps up and says I want to be president or vice president. So, a lot of times it’s looking around and seeing who is best equipped and qualified for the position. It’s not an actual rotation. We have never set that kind of precedence.”

“Personally, it’s not my role to evaluate a board member for competency,” Gibson-Gray added. “It’s the voters. They should do that.”

Householder had some questions about the process and any bylaws, then was next to speak about the matter.

“It seems like we have a lot of things that are kind of like our practice,” she said. “But if we don’t actually have a policy around this, we’re going to keep coming into these issues over and over again.”

“I really take into consideration what Willie Mims said,” Householder stated. “It just concerns me that this is now, we have someone up for the…normal rotation based on the history of what we’ve done previously, who just so happens to be an African American female and again, we’re getting this huge resistance and this feeling,  a very intense tension and feeling that I have that we’re just doing the same thing, again. And I know we had a previous board member who was vice president who was slated to be president…did not end up becoming president and now we’re kind of in that situation again.”

“For me personally, going forward to avoid these issues I just think to avoid this in the future, where this is kind of something we’ve done in the past, it’s not something we have written down, it’s just this ambiguous thing and it leaves these questions and kind of muddies the waters going forward,” she continued. “So, I suggest that us as a board take a serious look at what our policies are…for electing the president… so that we don’t come into this tension again, going forward. Because it seems like we have this historical thing that keeps going on and then when it comes to African American women who are going to take this leadership position, all of a sudden, it’s ‘no, we don’t actually go by this historical precedent it should be by their qualifications’. So, it doesn’t seem like there’s a fair standard that’s being put…it seems pretty obvious to me that there are some issues.”

Gibson-Gray explained her reasons for not voting for Vinson the last time the board voted for board president.

“When you censure a vice president, I don’t think the next year it’s appropriate to vote them into office,” she said. “But that was a one-off. We have not had that one before.” (See related article).

Householder then made a motion to appoint Sawyer-White, saying “because I believe this person needs to be given the opportunity to reach her potential.” Sawyer-White seconded the motion.

Before the vote was finalized, Gibson-Gray asked to say something.

“While I respect the rotation process, I have concerns that Crystal has not learned enough about Roberts Rules of Order, Brown Act. I think there’s some education that can happen. So, I will be voting ‘no’,” she stated. “I’m sorry. But it’s been a challenge.”

Sawyer-White responded, emotionally saying, “Either way, this has just been a rough two years and I’m disappointed. I really am.”

“So, I don’t need you doing that, alright?” addressing Gibson-Gray. “I support the community, as a whole. My daughter graduated from Deer Valley. I attended many PBIS meetings. This is not easy. It’s not a salaried paid position. You volunteer. I’ve studied many hours. But I had a feeling this was going to happen. So, I just want to publicly say this, I’m not surprised. The Brown Act training, you only need to attend that, once. In the beginning I asked about training and you nominated me, Board Trustee Diane Gibson-Gray, to be vice president because you said I attended training. So, I’m not understanding that.”

“I befriended some friends from other districts and we’re not moving forward as a district, whether I’m here, or not,” Sawyer-White continued. “And I’ve encouraged other parents to observe and view what’s going on here. Even some of the other leaders in other cities. It’s just mindboggling that we’re not moving forward.”

“The role of the president, I understand it,” she stated. “But the next person who is president has to be a little more open minded to what’s going on in the 21st Century. We’re moving forward as a district for the kids’ sake. What they’re addressing, charter schools, declining enrollment. This is a problem. I’m not all for charter schools. But there is an issue with Antioch Unified School District. I just hope the next person will realize that and we can’t move forward if…the president is not going to move forward.”

Gibson-Gray then said, “I’m going to nominate you for vice president, again.”

“Oh, no. I decline. I decline. I decline,” responded Sawyer-White.

Gibson-Gray continued saying, “The reason is, last month you said you hadn’t had Brown Act training, so you couldn’t run a meeting. Then as we saw this evening it’s Roberts Rules of Order. It’s not easy to sit in that seat and I would like you to have more opportunity to learn how to run a meeting before we put you there. I don’t think it’s fair. You have attended trainings you have tried to learn. But, until you sit in that seat and run meetings, it’s difficult.

“I’ve been there three times,” she continued. “I didn’t want to be president for three years, and finally I was forced into it. I just think you have a little more…that you need to learn about the meeting format, running it, etc.”

“That’s basically just nerves,” Sawyer-White responded. “I don’t even eat dinner when I come here. It’s just been so nerve wracking, out of the norm to come to these meetings. If you don’t have the support of the community and your kids attended and graduated. I’m just not understanding. Two kids in the district. I work. I’ve attended concerts based on my schedule and availability. But I would change my schedule to meet the needs of the presidency. I would like also more protocols for this particular candidacy. We’re backwards. We’re just so backwards. We don’t have protocols for certain things to address the kids of the district.”

“Well, I just want you to be successful. So, that’s why I’m going the way I am,” Gibson-Gray replied. “It’s difficult to run public meetings, to speak in public. I get nervous, too. I just thought you could use a little more time to…”

Sawyer-White cut her off, saying “You don’t need those qualifications to be president and that doesn’t specify that in the board bylaws at all. I think my background and even Ellie, her background involved in education. I’ve worked in non-profit, I’ve worked with the juvenile system. Teachers have reached out to me, and I haven’t mentioned their names, there’s some concerns, here.”

Householder then said, “I do agree that…this is a very important role. Until you’ve sat up here, it can be very nerve-wracking up here and I just really think unless we have some protocols and procedures of what we’re supposed to do, that we should follow the historic precedent.”

“I just haven’t heard these kinds of concerns raised about other members,” she continued. “I just feel that everybody should be given the opportunity to learn. Crystal Sawyer-White is coming into her third year of serving and so why not give her a chance to blossom into the role and be a leader for our population of students who’s primarily students of color. That’s just a reality of that we’re living in, now and I would like to see leadership and see us giving people of color the opportunity to be leaders in this community. She might not be the most perfect…she might not know everything down to the letter of exactly how it’s supposed to be. But her and I both haven’t been serving since, you know, the 70’s. No offense to anybody (to laughter from the audience). I’m just saying you gotta be given the opportunity to come into that role. And sometimes you can’t learn unless you just do. And I was told for years, and especially this past election cycle that I shouldn’t do it because I didn’t have the experience and I didn’t know this, and I didn’t know that. But, guess what the people elected me, and the people elected Crystal, as well.”

“So, I just think we just need to give everyone a fair shake. It’s a year and I think we should be coming together to support her or to support anybody who is going to be the president and vice president. If we want to do something different then let’s write a policy about it. I’m just going based on historical precedent and it just seems to me that it’s fair…and I don’t want there to be tension, either. You know I want it to be like kumbaya,” Householder concluded.

With no more comments from the board members, the vote failed on a 2-2-1 vote. Hack said, “Abstain. It’s a cop-out. I know.” He then immediately changed his vote by saying, “no”.

Gibson-Gray then made a motion that Hack “retain the seat.”

The motion passed on a 4-1 vote, with Sawyer-White voting against.

“Alright. That was painful,” Hack said.

The board then took a break, Sawyer-White left the meeting and did not return. To view the recording of the meeting visit the district’s YouTube page.



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New Antioch School Board members Rocha, Householder ceremonially sworn in Wednesday night, Rocha twice

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

New Trustee Ellie Householder is given her ceremonial oath of office by Antioch Councilman Lamar Thorpe on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018.

Chooses former Antioch Councilman Tiscareno for Personnel Commission

New trustee Mary Rocha during her first ceremonial oath of office administered by her son and Antioch High Principal Louie Rocha, Jr.

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, the Antioch School Board welcomed two new members elected in November, Mary Rocha and Ellie Householder. Both held ceremonial oaths of office in front of the audience inside the Lone Tree Elementary School auditorium, as they had each been sworn in as new members previously, so they could participate in a closed session meeting earlier that evening.

Householder was first to take her ceremonial oath, with Antioch Councilman Lamar Thorpe swearing her in. She then introduced her family who was in attendance.

“My mother flew all the way from Arizona to be here tonight,” she said.

Former Antioch mayor, councilwoman and school board trustee Rocha held two ceremonies. First, with her son Louie Rocha, Jr., the principal of Antioch High School, administering her oath. She said she had asked State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson to swear her in, but he was late. When he showed up a few minutes later, Rocha had him give her the oath, again.

Following Rocha’s second ceremony, Torlakson said, “yay, you’re in again.”

Rocha taking her second ceremonial oath of office, this time administered by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

Rocha introduced the rest of her family, including her husband Louie, Sr.  She mentioned her “40 years of friendship and working together” with Tom Torlakson.

Each new trustee was then seated on the dais and given the opportunity to speak

“I’m really excited about moving forward,” said Householder. “There’s a lot of positive momentum from the election.”

Rocha asked her family members to stand and thanked them, getting choked up as she spoke.

“I just want to thank everyone of you because each of you have done something special for me,” she said.

“This time I’m excited. I have three grandchildren going to school and my son who has never graduated,” Rocha added to laughter from the audience. “I will do my best for all of you. We will have disagreements, but it doesn’t mean we don’t care about each other.”

New Antioch School Board Trustee Ellie Householder takes her official oath of office administered by Antioch Councilman Lamar Thorpe, as her parents Dave Householder and Karen Matty, and Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts, second from left, look on, at the Round Table Pizza restaurant, early Wednesday evening, Dec. 13, 2018.

Tiscareno Chosen for Personnel Commission

The new board’s first major issue was to appoint a replacement for Rocha, who resigned on Dec. 7 following her election to the school board. Three people applied, including former Antioch Councilman Tony Tiscareno who lost for reelection in November, and Shagoofa Khan and Dr. Clyde Lewis, Jr. who were unsuccessful candidates for school board, also in the November election.

Khan did not show up for the public interview, so only Tiscareno and Lewis the question and answer process.

At the conclusion, the board voted 4-1, with Vice President Crystal Sawyer-White opposing, and Tiscareno was announced as the choice for the commission. However, a public hearing must be held in January, which was scheduled for the board meeting on the 23rd, “to provide the public, employees, and employee organizations the opportunity to express their views on the qualifications of the person recommended by the Board of Trustees for appointment. The Board at that time may make its appointment or may make a substitute appointment without further notification or public hearing. If the Board is unable to agree upon an appointment within thirty (30) days after the notification of the vacancy, the appointment to fill the unexpired term shall be made by the Superintendent of Public Instruction within thirty (30) days.”

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Motts becomes Antioch’s newest council member, Mayor Pro Tem

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

New Antioch Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts takes her oath of office administered by her daughter Rachel Motts, as John Moglia holds the Bible, during the ceremony Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018.

By Allen Payton

Two Antioch council members were given their oaths of office Tuesday night, Dec. 11, 2018 and the top vote-getter in the November election became the city’s new Mayor Pro Tem. Joy Motts received the most votes in the council race, earning her the designation of Mayor Pro Tem for the next two years.

Before the ceremony began, outgoing Councilman Tony Tiscareno shared his thoughts and thanked those who supported him and applauded his fellow candidates for running a clean campaign on the issues.

“I appreciated serving with you,” said Mayor Sean Wright. “But most thanks go to your wife.”
Tiscareno responded, by saying to his wife, who was in the audience, “I do appreciate the sacrifices you’ve given to us, to me.”

“I was doing chores, today. She has plans for me. If the chores keep up, I may have to do something else,” he added with a laugh.

Tiscareno was then presented with his photo that hung on the wall inside the lobby of City Hall, as well as certificates honoring his public service from local, state and federal elected officials who represent Antioch.

Re-elecgted Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock takes her oath of office administered by Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks, as her son Jared holding the Bible, and daughter Audra look on, during the ceremony Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018.

First to take the oath was reelected Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, administered by Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks. He daughter Audra Ogorchock and son Jared Ogorchock, who held the Bible upon which she placed her left hand, joined her.

“I’m going to keep this short,” Ogorchock said, after she was sworn in. “I want to thank my family. Everyone wants to know where my husband is. He’s at work.”

She thanked her son and daughter, as well.

“Thanks to all those who voted for me,” she continued.

Motts then took her oath of office, administered by her daughter Rachel Motts, who was deputized by City Clerk Arne Simonsen for the ceremony. John Moglia held the Bible on which Motts placed her left hand.

Following her oath, Ogorchock got choked up as she congratulated Motts.

Motts then said, “I’m absolutely thrilled to be here. I can’t believe it. I owe it all to people who believed in me.”

“I love Antioch,” she continued. “I was going to keep working with the community whether I was up here, or not.”

“I promise everyone I will give 150% to this community,” Motts stated. “I’m just really excited about going to work for you. We’re going to make this a fantastic place. If you want to reach out to me, I’m all about transparency, integrity and honesty.”

“I’m excited it’s predominantly a female council,” said Councilwoman Monica Wilson. “I’m just looking forward to the work that’s ahead of us. So, congratulations to you both.”

Wright then shared his thoughts.

“Tonight, is a fantastic evening,” he said. “I just want to say thank you for your passion and commitment to this community. We aren’t always going to agree one with another. But, the disagreements aren’t because we’re getting paid off. It’s because we love Antioch…and we choose what we feel is best. I know your heart is with Antioch and that you’ve served Antioch already all along. I congratulate you…on having the trust of the people, right here. I look forward to working with you.”

The council then underwent a reorganization, with Motts being elected, according to city ordinance, the Mayor Pro Tem.

Ogorchock moved and Wilson seconded the motion to appoint Motts the city’s new Mayor Pro Tem, replacing Councilman Lamar Thorpe who held the position for the past two years. It passed unanimously 4-0 as Thorpe was absent during the meeting.

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