Although the submitting deadline remains to be months away, former Antioch Metropolis Supervisor Rowland “Ron” Bernal has confirmed that he desires to be the town’s subsequent mayor.
Bernal, who mentioned he has been contemplating a run for some time, didn’t announce his candidacy, however reasonably despatched out invites to his personal kickoff occasion, which can be on Jan. 25.
The longtime Antioch resident and former metropolis public works director retired in late 2021 after an almost five-year stint as metropolis supervisor — 23 with the town — and having spent a number of months final 12 months as Clayton’s interim metropolis supervisor. He mentioned after speaking together with his “kitchen cupboard” buddies, he determined it was “one thing I must do for the group… to maneuver the town ahead.”
Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe, in the meantime, confirmed he has filed a letter of intent to run for re-election, however has not made any bulletins and didn’t touch upon Bernal’s candidacy. He is also planning a non-public fundraiser – two days after Bernal’s occasion — and mentioned he’ll make an announcement after that.
Assistant Metropolis Clerk Christina Garcia mentioned that as of Wednesday, Thorpe and Bernal have been the one two to file letter of intent papers for the mayoral seat.
When Bernal was requested why it was necessary for him to run, he pointed to “the quantity of crime we’re experiencing, and the shortage of response from the police division.”
About half of the town’s cops have been positioned on go away following an FBI/District Lawyer investigation and a later probe over racist and homophobic texts. The investigation is ongoing, in accordance with Performing Metropolis Supervisor Kwame Reed.
“When anyone wants emergency help, the response time has elevated,” Bernal mentioned. “The police division must be adequately staffed.
“In the event that they’ve accomplished one thing mistaken, then self-discipline them; if not, then transfer again to getting our cops which might be that aren’t being criminally charged or not going to be faraway from the police division, get them again working,” Bernal mentioned. “I simply don’t know why it’s taking so lengthy. Our metropolis is struggling.”
The retired metropolis supervisor, who’s making his first bid for workplace, mentioned he desires to stabilize the police division after which transfer ahead.
“We’d like we have to put the mandatory reforms in place to be able to ensure that one thing like this doesn’t occur once more,” he mentioned. “However on the similar time, we have to get a everlasting police chief in there who’s the fitting individual for the job.”
Antioch’s final everlasting chief, Steven Ford, held the place for 10 months earlier than retiring in August of 2023, after which Antioch Police Captain Joseph Vigil took over as Performing Police Chief.
Bernal mentioned he additionally hopes to deal with homeless points in Antioch.
“Our homelessness scenario appears to be growing … companies are leaving Antioch and metropolis workers (numbers) are down,” he mentioned.
Thorpe, in the meantime, labored with workers and different council members to open transitional housing on the former 33-room Govt Inn to assist get homeless off the streets and into wanted providers. The council additionally earmarked $300,000 towards securing rooms at Contra Costa County’s Delta Touchdown Interim Housing in Pittsburg.
Final week at a press convention, Thorpe additionally denounced absentee company landlords who he mentioned have allowed properties to decay and develop into magnets for harmful homeless encampments and illicit drug visitors. He desires the town to contemplate potential measures to stop such absenteeism, and likewise to take authorized motion towards 9 business properties.
Bernal additionally pointed to key everlasting metropolis positions which might be vacant, together with that of metropolis supervisor, assistant metropolis supervisor, group improvement director, public works director, police chief, or assistant metropolis engineer and planning supervisor, which he says, if crammed, may assist the town get again on observe.
“And so, I simply imagine with my expertise, by working for Antioch for 23 years after which being a metropolis supervisor, I imagine I’ve the flexibility to assist us get again on observe with getting some folks in key positions in order that we will transfer this metropolis ahead,” he mentioned.
Candidates wishing to run for mayor have till August to file the mandatory paperwork.