Planning consultant says Antioch’s crime, schools, homeless are deterrents to employers locating here

Arnold and Jerry released 50,000 criminals from prison. An unknown number of criminals were never prosecuted by DA’s. since they knew even if convicted the criminals would receive little or no jail time—so why waste the money and effort.

We now have Prop. 47 which will release another 10,000 criminals—and more crimes will not be stopped since cops no longer have an incentive to prevent crimes. Policy has consequences. In Antioch it is an economic dislocation.

“Loewke then listed numerous constraints to development. The first of these, he stated as, “The high level of actual crime and perceived crime risk are viewed as substantial obstacles to investment in Antioch, both Downtown and City-wide, and as contributing directly to a reduced quality of life.” He contrasted this perception with that of downtown areas in neighboring cities, which are viewed as having a, “relative absence of crime.” He also noted, later in his presentation, that Antioch’s crime rates are substantially higher than its neighbors, with the violent crime rate being five times higher in Antioch than it is in Brentwood, Oakley, or Pittsburg.”

LA crime has gone up 10% and San Frans’ went up 23%. What is the cost of these new victims?

Walton_High_School_New_Classroom

Planning consultant says Antioch’s crime, schools, homeless are deterrents to employers locating here

By John Crowder, Antioch Herald, 11/22/14

A second meeting regarding was held in the Council Chambers at City Hall on Wednesday, November 19, regarding the Downtown Specific Plan and City-wide General Plan Land Use and Zoning Ordinance Update. The session included a joint meeting of the Antioch Planning and Economic Development Commissions. Besides the community members in the audience, the meeting was also attended by Mayor Wade Harper, City Manager Steve Duran, and Councilwoman-elect Lori Ogorchock.

After a couple of comments from the public, consultant Dick Loewke once again gave a presentation, this time detailing opportunities and constraints to development in the city.

Loewke began by identifying land resources that he said were either not utilized, or, in the case of the fairgrounds, were underutilized. He listed a number of parcels that he said could be developed.

Loewke then listed numerous constraints to development. The first of these, he stated as, “The high level of actual crime and perceived crime risk are viewed as substantial obstacles to investment in Antioch, both Downtown and City-wide, and as contributing directly to a reduced quality of life.” He contrasted this perception with that of downtown areas in neighboring cities, which are viewed as having a, “relative absence of crime.” He also noted, later in his presentation, that Antioch’s crime rates are substantially higher than its neighbors, with the violent crime rate being five times higher in Antioch than it is in Brentwood, Oakley, or Pittsburg.

Another major impediment to development was the perception of the Antioch public schools. Loewke said that, “Employers and employees with children who can afford to do so tend to look outside of Antioch in order to gain access to better performing public schools.” He qualified his remarks, however, by saying that this is a result of, “perception,” and that, “What AUSD schools are doing is excellent.”

Loewke mentioned several other constraints, including the large number of homeless people in the downtown area, the lack of places downtown where people would normally gather to socialize (i.e., restaurants and coffee shops), the lack of themed festivals and public events, current zoning regulations which prevent good businesses from moving downtown, and congestion on highway 4. He also noted that only 10% of Antioch’s employed residents work within the city.

Even given the numerous constraints identified by Loewke, he said there existed opportunities as well. He said that Antioch might be able to take advantage of a demand for medical office and service industrial space. Downtown, Loewke said that Antioch could accommodate additional small office users and artisan retailers.

Following the presentation, both the public, and members of the two commissions present, commented on what they had heard. Some of the ideas presented included the creation of a youth center, to include computers and wi-fi access, and a River Walk. Many of those speaking opposed bringing additional housing projects to Antioch as a solution to revitalizing the economy.

Several of the speakers were in favor of the creation of an event plaza, as opposed to construction of additional housing, downtown. Lee Ballesteros, representing Citizens for Responsible Antioch Waterfront Development, spoke about a proposal her group had submitted to the city advocating just such an idea. “Our vision for Downtown is for an active, vibrant, event plaza, as opposed to selling it and putting up homes. Events and quality of life is something that is very important to people,” she said.

Kerry Motts, Vice Chair of the Planning Commission, agreed with Ballesteros. He referenced the Todos Santos Plaza in Concord as illustrative of what Antioch could accomplish.

The planning process is expected to continue for another 16 months, according to Loewke. The slide presentation from the November 19 meeting can be found on the City of Antioch website, under the tabs for ‘community’ and ‘downtown-plan.’

 

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. Gotta Gedada Displace says

    My forehead is starting to scab over from frequent slaps of disbelief! After (presumably) listening to evidence of problems with crime, school quality and homelessness, did I understand the article correctly, that there was TOTAL ABSENCE of requests to ADDRESS THOSE PROBLEMS, but a PLETHORA of proposals for various PROJECTS, (whose construction / presence would magically vanish the problems)? “Shop till you drop” in the electorate, is now “Shop till your City Drops” ? Has news not reached them about how that succeeded in Stockton?

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