Incumbent Mary Rocha, current Antioch Mayor Jim Davis, school board member Walter Ruehlig and community members Noel Pinto and Monica Wilson are vying for two open seats.
Davis is riding his experience in hopes it lands him in victory lane. Having served the city in an official role since 1998, he said he knows what it takes to lead in good times and bad. During his time as a council member, and later as mayor starting in 2008, he worked with community groups and organizations. He also kept a close eye on the development of Highway 4. His main goals are keeping the city’s budget solvent, hiring more police officers, upgrading the police department’s equipment and attracting businesses to downtown.
Rocha, the former mayor of Antioch, has focused her campaign on public safety, economic development and quality of life for all Antioch residents. She believes the city could greatly benefit from hiring more police, community service officers and code enforcement staff. The city has a huge opportunity, she said, to use the money allocated by the annexation of the GenOn plant to stimulate economic development for the city.
She also wants to home in on available grant monies for senior programs, put youth to work using funds available in the city’s budget and continue art and cultural programs for residents.
Walter Ruehlig, a current school board member, said people would flock to the city if it had safe schools, lowered the rate of crime and blight, and showed economic vitality.
“We need bold, innovative leaders whose only agenda is the entire community,” Ruehlig said. “I am proud that my grassroots campaign is funded by me and by Joe Citizens, and not by special interest upon special interest. Nobody will buy or bully me or lead me by the nose.”
Ruehlig said he is fully confident that Antioch can make a turnaround with help from his can-do attitude and sharpened governance skills.
Noel Pinto, a city administrator, said his fresh perspective would do wonders for the city. He believes his 31 years working for the Port of Oakland, City and County of San Francisco, University of California, Berkeley and City of Oakland has given him the experience he needs to lead Antioch. He wants to fully fund the police department, lure new businesses and create budget and finance committees to develop economic vitality. He believes the city is a suitable place for both biotech and high-tech industries to build campuses. If elected, he wants to incorporate residents into the decisionmaking process by holding community meetings.
Monica Wilson, an executive assistant to a dean at Mills College in Oakland, wants to move the city forward by using a team approach to create a strategic economic development plan. Once her plan is in place, the city would rely less on property taxes and have funds available for things such as police and community programs. She said the city needs to create incentives for business so they want to come to Antioch, and encourage those businesses to hire and train locals.
“I want to push the plan,” Wilson said. “I really think these goals are achievable.”