The acting city manager tried to evict the congressman from the Antioch community center office, with the breakup lease ending next January
Will now negotiate with the congressman’s officee, United States House of Representatives Jural advisor in a closed meeting on Tuesday evening
Also kickstarted a local nonprofit; to use for the Department of Community Resources; Councilwoman Ogorchock is not happy, should locate it inside the Rivertown Resource Center instead
McNerney helped Mayor Thorpe recall the fundraising roast the next day
By Allen D. Payton
In the first two weeks of his new position, Acting Antioch City Manager Con Johnson, through Parks and Recreation Director Brad Helfenberger, attempted to eject Congressman Jerry McNerney from the office space he’s renting inside the Antioch Community Center at Prewett Family Park on Lone Tree Way almost 11 months earlier than the end of the lease next January. In a January 10, 2022 letter to McNerney, Helfenberger wrote, “Consistent with Section 10 of the District Office Lease Attachment, the City of Antioch hereby terminates the District Office Lease Agreement at effective February 15, 2022. You are required to leave the premises…before 5 p.m. on February 15, 2022.” Letter from Helfenberger to McNerney 01-10-22 Bail McNerney-Antioche
In a Jan. 13 response, the congressman, who is retiring at the end of this year and will no longer need the space, and whose district, CD-9, will no longer include parts of Antioch wrote a letter to Mayor Lamar Thorpe – who McNerney helped with his recall campaign fundraising roast the next day – Johnson and Helfenberger and copied each of the other four council members. McNerney wrote: “This letter is to inform you that I will not be closing this office on February 15, 2022. Our current lease does not expire until January 2, 2023, when we will vacate the premises. Section 10 of the District Office Lease Attachment, which you cited in your letter, does not establish the right of either party to terminate the lease prior to the expiration date. . McNerney response letter 01-13-22
McNerney’s office had to involve legal counsel for the United States House of Representatives
In a follow-up email to Johnson and Helfenberger dated Jan. 11, 2022, McNerney’s chief of staff, Nicole Damasco, wrote, “I have discussed this matter with Associate House Administrative Counsel , Cecilia Daly. In his opinion, since the initial 2013 lease, which was extended without amendments, does not include an early termination clause, article 10 does not apply. Cecelia, Chiakis and I would like to schedule a conference call with you and the City’s legal representative tomorrow to discuss this in more detail. » McNerney-Antioch Rental and Eviction Emails 01-22
This refers to Chiakis (Xiong) Ornelas, McNerney’s senior field rep who works out of his Stockton office.
Then in another email from Damasco on Jan. 13, she wrote, “We have spoken with the office of the House Administrative Counsel who assures us that Section 10 of the District Office Lease Attachment does not confer no early termination clause for either party, and that we are legally allowed to stay in our space until January 2, 2023.
Additionally, we have been advised that it will not be possible to relocate our office by February 15, 2022, even if we choose to relocate. This is because house rules require the General Services Administration (GSA) to arrange for the movement of furniture and equipment belonging to the house, and we are unable to coordinate with the GSA in time. allotted. Although we are legally permitted to remain in the space until the current lease expires, Representative McNerney is willing to work together to find a solution that will ensure the best services for the residents of Antioch.
Local businesses and organizations also showed the door
Emerald Consulting, owned by Keith and Iris Archuleta, who run the Youth Response Network, also had their lease terminated by the City for the office space they had occupied at the community center since May 2015. Keith is also the director executive of the Community of Antioch. Foundation, but that organization did not rent the space.
“We’ve given the community foundation permission to use the space for meetings,” Iris Archuleta told the Herald last month. “We’re on month-to-month, so we’re not going to dispute it. We just told them we would be moving by the end of the month.
“From what they say, they’re going to put the person they hired to run the youth programs,” she continued. “We received a letter and a phone call from the recreation department. We took out our things and removed our information from the door.
Space to be used for the new Community Resources service
The city plans to use the space for the community resources department, created by city council last year, which will include a yet-to-be-hired director of community resources and public safety, the manager from the Antioch Youth Services Network, Tasha Johnson, and the city’s Unhoused Resident Coordinator, Jazmin Ridley. The public safety portion of the new department will not oversee policing, but community crisis response, violence intervention and prevention, animal services and code enforcement. The department will also include environmental resources and the city’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
The board will discuss the formation of an ad hoc committee to develop the details of the department at its meeting on Tuesday February 22 under agenda item 10.
Advisor Ogorchock ‘blown away’ by Johnson’s Efforts
In a Jan. 19 email, District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, in whose district the Antioch Community Center is located, asked Johnson about his efforts to evict the congressman. She also asked him why the city wouldn’t use the Rivertown Resource Center on W. 10th Street, the old police station, which houses other nonprofits. Email from Ogorchock 1/19/22
Ogorchock wrote: “I am very surprised by this email. When did we start considering the community center as the location for this new department? Why would we think it would be acceptable to give 30 days’ notice to a federal elected official who has been there for a while? Has the congressman been there since the community center opened?
Congressman McNerney regularly sees our constituents there, and some of those individuals are our veterans.
How much research have you done on who is renting parts of this building? Since you were only CM for a short time, 15 days (?), I’m assuming you haven’t had enough time to properly consider the effects of these actions, an example of this would be that the prosecutor de la ville is not a party to the forwarded emails. When did you get the idea to use the community center for this department?
We just approved on the consents agenda on Tuesday the cost of hiring an independent appraisal of the resource building on 10th Street (former police building). Why would we spend money doing this when you were planning to use the community center? We authorized up to $50,000 for the assessment to be completed, it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money. It would not be a financially sound decision on our part.
Shouldn’t we have had the city attorney review the lease before the director of recreation contacted the congressman’s office? Why was it his responsibility and not yours or the city attorney’s.
To be completely honest with you, I’m blown away by this move, not sure I’m happy with it either. We need to maintain a friendly relationship with the congressman, to make sure he is in our community so that he is accessible to our community.
The city council will negotiate a new lease on Tuesday
From now on, the city council will meet behind closed doors, beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, to negotiate the rental of three of the rooms of the community center, according to the agenda of the meeting.
Closed Session Agenda Item 2 reads: “CONFERENCE WITH REAL ESTATE PROPERTY NEGOTIATIONS Pursuant to California Government Code Section 54956.8: Property: Antioch Community Center, rooms 125, 126 and 127 (comprising 474 square feet of office space) located at 4703 Lone Tree Way, Antioch CA 94531; Agency Negotiations: Cornelius Johnson, City Manager, and Thomas Lloyd Smith, City Attorney; Parties Negotiators: Jerry McNerney, United States Congressman; Under negotiation: price and payment terms.”
Attachments to this post:
Email from Ogorchock 1/19/22
McNerney-Antioch Lease Article 10
McNerney-Antioch Rental and Eviction Emails 01-22
McNerney response letter 01-13-22
Letter from Helfenberger to McNerney 01-10-22
McNerney response letter 01-13-22
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