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Payton Owes Antioch Candidates Apology and Refunds

Allen Payton of the Antioch Herald put out a disgusting racially driven hit piece the other day trashing many candidates in Antioch. His observations are off base, rude, and an immediate retraction and apology should be issued.

If I am a candidate, I request my ad be pulled immediately and request a full refund while publicly denouncing the article, the paper, and the publisher.  If I am a candidate who was not slammed in the article, I also do the same for moral reasons as that type of rhetoric should not be tolerated.

A paper shouldn’t accept money from a candidate only to slam them and make fun of them right before an election. If Mr. Payton does this to one paying customer, it means he will only do it again.

(Allen Payton in the center with Democrats Jim Frazier and Jerry McNerney)

For starters, the “observation” that he claims is that the Democratic Party only endorsed candidates because they are of a minority is false.  If he is so focused on the Antioch races as he claims, why did he throw in the College Board race with the endorsement of De’Shawn Woolridge? That District stretches across Contra Costa County.

Since he did that, he would also have to include State and Congressional races where the Democrats have endorsed Jerry McNerney (US Congress) Mark DeSaulnier (State Senate), and Jim Frazier (State Assembly)—all whom are white.  Mr. Payton doesn’t get to pick and choose what races apply to Antioch and what doesn’t.

The point is, Mr. Payton made a racist statement by using the word “observation” when many can turn this around on Mr. Payton and accuse him of supporting only “white candidates” such as Gary Agopian (Mayor), Mark Meuser (State Senate), and Mike Hudson (State Assembly). This is how stupid his observation is!

Moving on, he questions the endorsement of De’Shawn Woolridge suggesting he only received it because he is a minority. First off, Daniel Borsuk and Greg Enholm are not any more experienced than Woolridge.

Payton then moves on to a second attack De’Shawn Woolridge accusing him of using the word “honesty”. First off, Mr. Payton is not one who should be pointing fingers at others considering his checkered past, but I shall digress.

But since Mr. Payton wants to bring up experience, here is a list of what Mr. Woolridge has done:

  • Contra Costa County Economic Opportunity Council Member   (Current)
  • City of Pittsburg Community Advisory Commission Chairman  (Current)
  • City of Pittsburg Community Development Block Grant Sub Committee Member  (Current)
  • Pittsburg Unified School District Bond Oversight Committee Vice-Chair  (Current)
  • Contra Costa County Library Commissioner, 2011
  • Pittsburg Unified School District School Naming Committee Member, 2011
  • Black Caucus of the California Community Colleges President, 2011
  • Los Medanos College Associated Student (LMCAS) President, 2009-2010
  • Los Medanos College Shared Governance Council Student Rep, 2009-2010
  • Community College District Governance Council Student Rep and Constituency Speaker, 2009-2010
  • Student Senate for California Community Colleges, Region III Chair, 2009-2010 and 2011
  • Pittsburg Unified School District Student Attendance Review Board Member  2008-2011
  • Los Medanos College Associated Student (LMCAS) Vice-President of Finance, 2008
  • Los Medanos College Technology Advisory Group Student Representative, 2008

In comparing resumes of Woolridge to Ricky Gill, I’d say Woolridge is more qualified to run for Congress than Ricky Gill. After all, Woolridge has 3 jobs (1 full-time, 2 part-time) while according to the San Francisco Chronicle Mr. Gill has never held a full time job.  It’s hypocritical to go after Woolridge on experience who is running for the College Board and give a guy with the word “republican” next to his name running for Congress a pass.

Payton then attacks Woolridge for using a graphic on his personal Facebook page of his role models by calling it “over the top”. First off, its Mr. Woolridge role models and people he strives to be like (Martin Luther King and Barack Obama). Who the hell does Allen Payton think he is? This is a personal choice which given Paytons history, he has made some pretty poor personal choices and has no room to talk.

Payton then attacks Woolridge over LMC website providing an article written two years ago on Woolridge that was recently updated because he graduated. This is a non-issue and it simply just goes with the Woolridge bashing theme of the article.

Finally, Payton sinks to a new low by going “birther” on Woolridge by suggesting he show his birth certificate to prove where he lives. This goes to show you Mr. Payton has no class at all.

Sticking with the race theme, Mr. Payton then goes after Noel Pinto for accepting an endorsement of Willie Brown—could it be because Mr. Brown is African American? It’s a single endorsement, not the end of the world. Should I bash Mr. Payton for his endorsement of AD-11 candidate Mike Hudson who voted himself a 118% pay raise as one of his first actions as on the Suisun City Council?  So much for being Conservative right Allen? By the way, Mike Hudson is white so of course Payton backs him.

Moving on, Mr. Payton bashes one of Charlene Earley’s students for writing about Walter Ruehlig in the new Delta Living Magazine accusing Mr. Ruehlig of free Press just in time before an election. Does this make Mr. Payton feel like a tough guy picking on a kid trying to learn the ropes of Journalism? For the record, so what, the article was fair and focused more on volunteering than anything else. This is nit-picky and Mr. Payton can now feel better about himself picking on a teenager.  For the record, the teenager who wrote the story put out something better than Mr. Payton has ever written in that rag of a newspaper.

Then there of course is the Monica Wilson and Noel Pinto comments of how they work outside of Antioch and cant invest time in the community during the day while giving James Davis (white) a pass. This is poor rhetoric by Payton because how does he know Ms. Wilson or Mr. Pinto can’t make meetings that are not even scheduled yet but gives a pass to the “white guy”. You can’t bash someone if the situation has never come up before. For the record, I’ve spoken to both Wilson and Pinto months ago in the past and both will make it work just as Davis has in the past.

As for his cheap shot of claiming Ms. Wilson’s great accomplishment is helping with City clean ups, so what? Does Mr. Payton drive around with his eyes closed? Antioch is in need of neighborhood cleanups. I don’t see him getting his hands dirty, kudos to Ms. Wilson and others for cleaning up the neighborhoods and volunteering their time. If anything, it shows nothing is below her and will do her part to clean up Antioch starting with the trash.

I’d like to apply this same question to Mr. Payton on his blind support of Republican Ricky Gill who doesn’t even serve on any committee but feels like he is qualified to run for Congress. Given that Monica Wilson and Noel Pinto have busted their butts to get where they are in their careers, that makes them more qualified than Ricky Gill to run for Congress. By the way, has Ricky Gill helped on any of Antioch’s clean ups? Didn’t think so!

In closing, as you can see Mr. Payton is nothing more than a hypocrite supporting mostly white candidates who are Republican.  The best way to handle someone like this is to stop advertising and stop reading his rag of a paper/website.

Mr. Payton needs to issue an immediate retraction and an apology for playing the race card while putting out such a reckless piece. His observations are proof the guy has no class and puts Republican before anything else.

Ultimately, politics is about ideas and not race or sex. Candidates are picked on their beliefs and what they hope to achieve. Its wrong for Mr. Payton to put out a piece such as the one he did which highlights what is wrong with the Republican Party.



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13 Responses »

  1. This is typical Allen Payton. Are there still people who read that rag?

  2. Spot on Burk for calling Payton for what he is! I hope the candidates take your advice and hit him where it hurts, his advertising revenue!

  3. Mike, I have really come to appreciate your thorough coverage and attention to detail. Yet, I have also noticed your blog has a undeniable lean for The Democrat Party. The question is, would you be just as outraged if the Allen Payton had went after Republicans in the same manner. I honestly don’t believe you would. I think we call this “Selective Moral Outrage”. You don’t have to look very hard and you will find the same treatment given to Republicans all the time. I know you like to label yourself as “Politically Confused”. But as someone who is neither a Democrat or Republican, I disagree with your self description.

    • I’ve gone after both parties for playing identity politics because I do not believe in it. Politics are ideas and thoughts, not sex or race. You promise one group of people one thing, then you have another group wanting a similar deal–its a slippery slope. The last Democrat I went after hard for this identity politics game was Patricia Hernandez in the primary in the Assembly District 11 race. I go both ways.

      For the record, I am a registered Republican. But with the likes of Mike Hudson and Ricky Gill, and other far right candidates, its scraping the bottom of the barrel in candidates so of course i am going to go left because I feel they can better represent the District and actually get things done instead of being the “party of no”.

      • Burk, don’t even waste your time with “observer”, they wont even use their real name so why even give them a response?

    • I agree that there has been some of that on the Democratic side regarding Ricky Gill with folks focusing on his given name. I think that by reminding people of his given name it stirs up similar racial fears and anxiety.I think that those tactics are unnecessary and reflect poorly on anyone that uses them.

      Mr Gill’s inexperience and “fluffing” of his resume gives plenty of material to campaign on.

  4. Allen Payton is a piece of trash just like the rest of the candidates he supports. Well stated Burk. A boycott is a lovely idea but if no one reads his rag to begin with, is a boycott even possible?

  5. It is a sad fact that racism still exists but many of those folks that are racist don’t really see it in themselves. People don’t want to admit to themselves or others that they are uncomfortable with certain types of people whether it is because of their skin color, religion, sexual preference, ethnicity, gender, etc. Then there are the folks that KNOW they feel that way but KNOW they can’t say it straight out so they craft pieces like Mr Payton’s article.

    Mr Payton’s article was a thinly veiled opinion piece that will fuel certain people’s underlying fears and paranoia.

    Straight up this is who he was trying to reach: those folks that are undecided or fall in the moderate range that are uncomfortable with people of color but may or may not be aware of it.
    The message: Be afraid because the local Democratic Party folks are showing preferences for people of color so you should feel like white folks are being discriminated against. Don’t trust the Democratic Party.

    I think the message will resonate mostly with those folks that think small & make decisions based on fear rather than on reasoning and information.

    I think the piece also reveals why Mr Payton has had a fairly unsuccessful political career. He tries awful hard to be relevant but has never really made any positive contributions to his community. He has a reputation of being someone that is willing to do the dirty stuff behind the scenes to support folks that share his small minded view of the world. He is willing to say and do things that others won’t- I’m not sure if that reflects on his intelligence, his hyper ambitious need to be in on things so he sacrifices his respectability, or because he is just plain mean. I suspect it is some combination of all three.

    Hopefully his small minded opinion piece like will influence only a few in the way he meant it and will galvanize folks who disagree with Mr Payton’s tactics to go out and support the right candidates no matter what their gender, skin color or even party affiliation is.

  6. What a bunch of wonderful comments about my commentary reporting on what candidates have done and said during the current election! It’s amazing how you turn to attacking me because I wrote something you didn’t like or agree with, instead of arguing and debating the points of what was written.

    Big minds discuss ideas and concepts. Small minds discuss other people.

    If you read my commentary, you’ll understand I’m not the one making the accusation about the county Democrat Central Committee’s endorsements of local candidates in East County being possibly race-based. I reported about the concerns and complaints made by others. That’s what those of us in journalism/the media do. I didn’t contact the statistician. That was done by one of the candidates who forwarded that information to others, and I received it in my email, too.

    The Antioch Herald has not endorsed any candidate in the current election. Candidates who purchase an ad in the Antioch Herald are not immune from criticism or being challenged by me, any of our writers, columnists or readers who wish to comment. I have not endorsed any candidate publicly, either.

    If any of the candidates got their feelings hurt by what I wrote, then I apologize. But, if they can’t handle the heat of being challenged in what they say or do, and held accountable, then they need to stay out of the fire of running for and serving in office. My comments were constructive criticism of those candidates who I believe are not ready to be elected. I don’t just criticize candidates or elected officials or their decisions, I offer suggestions and alternatives. Anyone can take a shot at anyone else. That doesn’t accomplish anything.

    As for anyone on here who made an anonymous comment, come on. This is America where we have freedom of speech. Don’t be afraid to identify yourself when making your comment. Taking cheap, anonymous potshots is cowardly. Man- or woman-up. Don’t be so hateful. I can handle it as I’ve developed thick skin over the years, having been in leadership positions and ran for office and served for a time, myself. Plus, I try to follow the scripture that says, “it profits a man to overlook an insult.” But, you really shouldn’t write something anonymously about someone that you wouldn’t write or say to that person. Follow the Golden Rule and treat people like you want to be treated.

    You can always send a letter to the editor or comment on an article on the Herald website. We pretty much publish all of them, even those critical of me, the paper or anything we have published or any issue in the community – as long as they’re not slanderous, libelous or can be found guilty of defamation of character. That’s because we believe in both freedom of the press and freedom of speech and will defend every American’s right to express themselves.

    If businesses don’t want to advertise in my paper because of something I write, so be it. Some don’t. That’s their freedom of choice. There are some business that I won’t let advertise in my paper based on what they sell, which is my freedom of choice as the owner and publisher.

    But, don’t even think about trying to paint me as racist because you have no idea what you’re talking about and are attempting to twist what I wrote. I have no problem with anyone of color (black, white, brown, tan, yellow or red) being elected to any office, as long as they have the experience, have accomplished something before seeking office, understand the issues and will work for what’s in the best interests of the community, not advancing a special interest’s or political party’s agenda, especially at the local level. (Frankly, although I disagree with most of President Obama’s agenda, I was proud of America for electing the first black President – Bill Clinton not included, LOL). Don’t try to read into what I wrote that’s not there. There’s nothing “veiled.” You really need to just take it on its face value.

    People need to be challenged, as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said the year I was born, on “the content of their character” and on what they say and do, not the color of their skin, their ethnicity or gender. God looks on the heart not the outward appearance. We need to do the same. I love all people. But I don’t have to agree with their viewpoints or support or endorse their decisions or actions, that I believe will be or are detrimental to themselves, others, our community or society.

    Finally, Mike you really need to get your facts straight and read what was written and understand it, before writing something about what someone else wrote. Much of what you wrote is seriously false and full of misinterpretations. Plus, you really need to tone down the vitriol if you want people to respect and read your blog. I believe you desire to make a difference in your community. But, you’re not going about it in the best way. The one positive thing I can say is at least you attach your name to your comments. Good luck on Tuesday.

    One more thing, if you’re going to use my newspaper as a rag, or oil catcher beneath your car or in the bottom of your bird cage or kitty litter box, all I ask of you is to read it, first, and cut out and use the coupons. 🙂

    If anyone would like to discuss any of this further or any other matter affecting Antioch and East County, feel free to contact me any day, but Sunday, between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. and Sundays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

    Remember to vote by Tuesday.

    Allen Payton
    Antioch Herald
    (925) 457-5324

  7. I feel the need to respond in more detail to all the foolish, false claims and accusations you’ve made, Mike.

    As for my “blind support of Ricky Gill,” you have no idea what you’re talking about. Heck, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I supported his opponent, John McDonald, in the Primary and I’ve published press releases from both the McNerney and Gill campaigns on the Herald website, as well as ran both of their responses to my questions, in their own words, plus the photos each of their campaigns provided, in the November issue of the Antioch Herald which arrived in Antioch mailboxes, Thursday, November 1st. I attended Gills campaign office opening in Antioch and covered it for the Herald. I wasn’t invited to McNerney’s opening of his East County campaign office. Don’t even know if there was an event. I think I’ve been quite fair to both sides in this election. Besides, my commentary didn’t mention any of the partisan offices – Assembly, State Senate, Congress or U.S. Senate, representing Antioch. So your comments have nothing to do with what I wrote. Again, you need to get your facts straight before writing things.

    The birth certificate comment was a joke, Mike. Woolridge is the one who said he was a “native of the district” yet he was born in Oakland. Both can’t be true. So I challenged him on it in a humorous way. Does he understand what the term “native” means? He should. He has a college degree. So he knows he’s not being honest. Sheesh, dude. Get a sense of humor. I was trying to be clever by tying in something political everyone has heard about, to a local campaign. Guess you didn’t get it. Do I really need to explain all my humorous comments to you? LOL

    And it was Monica Wilson in her own words who said participating in city cleanups was her greatest accomplishment.(Had you lived in Antioch and read the October issue of the Herald, you would have known that). I don’t believe that’s good enough to qualify someone to serve on the Antioch City Council. We’ll see if the voters think otherwise. Yes, I participate in the city cleanups from time to time and the Coastal Cleanups, with the Antioch Rotary Club, too. But, again you’re making this about me. I’m not the one running for office. Stay focused on the issues and don’t be so defensive of those candidates you support. Let them defend themselves if they think they need to. Besides, why do you care? You don’t live in Antioch and won’t be affected by the decisions the candidates for council make, unless they serve on a regional committee. You have enough to worry about in your own community of Oakley and the Ironhouse Sanitary District. I suggest you write about that, which you know something about.

    As for comparing Wilson’s and Pinto’s ability to be available during the day in Antioch for meetings, to Davis – read what I wrote. It’s about who is in a management position. They all work out of town, but Davis, who works in Walnut Creek is in a management position at his job and has proven the ability to take time off work to be available in Antioch during the day. Pinto is possibly in a management position as the head of traffic enforcement in Berkeley, so I said maybe he’ll be able to be available. But Wilson isn’t, as an Executive Assistant at Mills College in Oakland. So she will have a more difficult time being able to take off work when she wants. I prefer self-employed individuals who work in Antioch or those in executive/management positions who work in town or in communities nearby, to serve on the council, who can be available during the day in Antioch. That has nothing to do with skin color. I wrote from experience, having served on the council for four years, and the first two as Mayor Pro Tem, how much time it takes. But I owned a business in Antioch and was able to take the time away from that to be available for meetings with residents, business owners/reps and city staff. I don’t need a crystal ball to look into the future to know about that and whether working in Oakland or Berkeley will affect ones ability to be as available as someone who works in or near Antioch, again in a management position. Don’t be so naive to just believe what a candidate tells you. It’s a long drive to Oakland and Berkeley. Again, we’ll see what the voters say and if either or both are elected, we’ll see if Wilson or Pinto are able to do what they say they can.

    OK. I’m done.

  8. As to the length of my experience, the necessary judgments if my experience warrants tenure on the College Board will continue to be in the eye of the beholder to decide. There have been people on both sides of the aisle, who have provided criticism as to whether I am qualified to run and/or serve. I am thankful for each and every person taking the time out to give their assessment; beyond me simply saying they have freedom of speech protection, people are entitled to give their assessment on any candidate. When running for office, these types of criticisms are a part of the political arena and are the first major test for whether an individual can handle public service. Nevertheless, I personally feel that I do have what it takes in ideas, life experience and experience in the community to serve as trustee, as do people who know my story and have a full understanding of my life experience and my community experience that will make me a great Trustee. I have real world experience that has given me opportunities to exhibit leadership and gain personal growth from each and every moment. I have direct experience in the Community College district, knowing its operation and the issues that people feel passionate about across the four constituency groups will help me best serve the great residents of Ward V. This direct experience can show accomplishment of ideas and resolution of issues that I face on behalf of my constituents at the time (the students). I will be glad to sit down and discuss any and all of my experience with anyone. Even though I disagree with Mr. Payton on a few things that he said, I respect his right to give his personal assessment of the College Board race and the candidates that seek this office. Ultimately no matter what, it will be the voters who will make the most important determination of all who is the best candidate to serve as the next Ward V Trustee of the Contra Costa Community College District.


  1. Contra Costa Democratic Central Committee Rejects Racially Driven Endorsements Claim | East County Today

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