I had the honor to be a member of the Antioch City Council from 2000 through 2008 and I continue to speak out on issues facing our city and East County.
Antioch is in serious trouble. Mayor Jim Davis recently announced that our city might be on the verge of bankruptcy. He mentioned the real possibility that we might not be able to make payroll within the next six months. We’ve already seen deep cuts in our police staffing as well as throughout city government. Our reserves have been depleted.
When we were growing, Antioch avoided these problems by bringing in revenue and new investment. Unfortunately for us, this effectively stopped in 2006, before the downturn in the housing market, which began in 2007. Ever since we stopped growing, our financial situation has become worse.
In 2005 we passed Measure K by a nearly 60-percent vote. I was proud to strongly endorse this initiative, which allowed us to bring Roddy Ranch into Antioch. It also gave us our own urban limit line, which the voters of Antioch control. We had had many fights with the county over land planning. Creating our own line put us in charge.
This brings up Brentwood’s Measure F. The initiative area borders both Brentwood and Antioch. Currently, it’s within Brentwood’ sphere of influence (SOI). However, I believe a majority of Antioch residents would vote to annex this land if the people of Brentwood don’t want it. The extra funding it would provide would help us enormously with our budget issues. Additionally, this area would also build roads and utilities we need to allow our growth to continue in the southern part of our city. In fact, implementation of the Roddy Ranch development requires other areas to help pay for infrastructure.
We know that a sphere of influence can change. We saw it when the City of Pittsburg successfully got LAFCO to change the SOI for the Baker property from Antioch to Pittsburg; and then Pittsburg annexed the Baker property. The Baker property is now developed and known as Century Plaza and Delta Gateway. Its sales and property tax revenues go to Pittsburg instead of Antioch.
I can’t vote in the Measure F election. But many friends in Brentwood have asked me what I thought about the chances of the site coming into Antioch. Although I can’t predict the future, the bottom line is that it would complement Antioch’s plans for Roddy Ranch and FUA1, where Kaiser Hospital is located.
Arne Simonsen, Antioch