By Allen Payton, Publisher & Editor
The only other races in which I’m offering endorsement, this year, other than those in Antioch are for the Oakley City Council.
As a neighbor living in Antioch since 1991, I’ve been watching the changes, growth and improvements in Oakley since I was on the Antioch City Council from 1994-98 when we voted to give up the land between Highway 160 and Neroly Road, which was part of our city’s sphere of influence, and make the freeway the city boundary. That helped give the soon to be formed city more of a sales and property tax base with the gas stations, hotel and other businesses located there.
I don’t always support someone for office who is running for their fifth, four-year term, wanting new blood, fresh ideas and perspective. That’s usually when things aren’t going well in a city, county, school or special district. But Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick is an exception. He has earned another term, having accomplished much during his time on the council, having helped guide Oakley to the successful city it has become.
Since that time, I’ve witnessed the council, with Romick being the longest-serving member, make wise decisions and create a community that is safe with a nice quality of life.
Following are Romick’s long list of accomplishments:
- Police – The city converted from a contract with the Sheriff’s Department to an in house Oakley Police Department which included hiring and processing approximately 35 sworn and professional support employees, equipping and construction of office space and evidence storage facility, selection and purchase of required safety equipment, implementing a new report writing and records management system and developing a policy and procedure manual
- Roads – When the city first incorporated many of the main roads, Main Street, Empire and Laurel Avenue on Oakley were 2 lane country roads without sidewalks, they are now functional 4 land roads. As a Board member to the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, representing East County, oversaw the completion of the State Route 4 widening from Loveridge to Balfour and the extension of BART to Antioch
- Parks – When Oakley incorporated in 1999 there was one city park. Now there are 35, including East County’s first all abilities park and Oakley’s first dog park, five joint use parks and two parks managed by the East Bay Regional Park District – the Antioch/Oakley Regional Shoreline and the Big Break Regional Shoreline. The city is also working with the state on a 1,200-acre marsh restoration project at Dutch Slough.
- Initiated the weekly Oakley Outreach email blast and consistent social media posts to keep the public better informed.
- Held Oakley’s first and annual Memorial Day event, Veterans Day event, National Night Out event, Heart of Oakley, Movies in the Park, July 4th Fireworks and Christmas Tree Lighting
- Worked with senior community to secure and update the old fire station as the Senior Center.
- Coordinated the construction of Oakley’s Veterans Memorial.
- Jobs – Romick’s and the city’s greatest and most recent accomplishment was the approval and opening the Contra Costa Logistic Center at the former DuPont site, and locating the Amazon distribution center there.
Councilwoman Claire Alaura has served the community well in her first term on the council. During her year as mayor, Oakley became the 16th safest city in California. She will continue her efforts. While Alaura pushing for and wants a new library for the city, instead of the combined one at Freedom High School, she and the supporters of that effort will need to identify a funding sources for both the construction costs and operation costs, as well.
She also gets credit for the Logistics Center and Amazon locating in Oakley. She deserves another four years on the council.
For the third seat, the choice is clear and that should be local business owner and real estate broker, Aaron Meadows. He’s not only a lifelong, fifth generation resident, his mother’s family, the Cutinos have been in Oakley for 110 years. That’s a rare thing in California, these days.
Meadows community service dates back to before the city was incorporated, when he served on the Oakley Municipal Advisory Committee from 1993 to June 30, 1999. He currently serves on the Oakley Union School District Bond Oversight Committee.
Meadows also served on the Holy Rosary School Board of Directors from 2006-18, Delta Family YMCA Board of Directors from 2001-10. He’s been a member of the Rotary Club of Oakley since it was formed in 2019.
He has earned the trust of colleagues in the real estate industry having served on the Delta Association of Realtors Board of Directors from 2002 to 2011, and as treasurer, president-elect, and then president in 2007. Meadows also served on the California Apartment Association Contra Costa, Napa, Solano Board of Directors from 2014-19 and the Contra Costa Wine Grape and Olive Growers Association Board of Directors from 2005-08 representing the Diablo Vista Vineyards for which he’s been a partner since 1993.
His broad experience in real estate, property management, construction and the wine industry will help Oakley in its next phase as the city seeks to attract businesses to employ the residents. Meadows is committed to focusing on three areas once elected: first, public safety, which should always be the city’s first priority; second, economic development, specifically streamlining the permitting process for commercial projects; and third, bringing a solution to the lack of fire service for families and businesses.
He knows the leaders in neighboring cities of both Antioch and Brentwood and can work with them on a regional basis for issues affecting all of East County, such as local jobs, transportation and fire service.
I’ve known Aaron for over 20 years and can tell you he’s a straight shooter, does what he says he will and works hard to get it done. He has the experience, knowledge and commitment to the community that Oakley needs in a council member and will be a great addition to the city’s leadership team.
I’ve also known Kevin since he was first elected in 2004. You can be sure he’s a man of his word, tells it straight and has proven his commitment to listening to the public, and solving problems and addressing challenges the city faces to the satisfaction of the residents.
Please join me in supporting Kevin Romick, Claire Alaura and Aaron Meadows for the Oakley City Council in this year’s election.