Home » Ron Bernal: “I Want a Government People Can Trust”

Ron Bernal: “I Want a Government People Can Trust”

by CC News
Ron Bernal

On Thursday, Ron Bernal officially kicked off his campaign to run for Mayor of the city of Antioch.

The event had over 300 people in attendance including those in the neighboring cities of Brentwood, Oakley and Pittsburg along with Democrats, Republicans and Independents as Bernal said he hopes to bring everyone together for a better Antioch.

“I want a city government that people can trust and right now city government is not something you can trust. I am going to commit to be honest, to have integrity and lead this city in a way we can be proud of,” said Bernal

During his campaign kickoff speech, Bernal stated he wanted to focus on safety, homelessness and creating new partnerships and bring new solutions to the city, while also restoring economic development.

He asked those in the crowd if they felt Antioch was a safe place to operate? Is Antioch helping our homeless get off the streets and a place where we can say that? Is Antioch a place where economic development is thriving?

Those in the audience responded overwhelming “no”.

“That is the same conclusion I came to and what is driving me. Those three issues,” stated Bernal highlighting the public safety was his number one priority of helping the community to feel safe, rebuild the police force and restore it, restore the neighborhood watch program that was once 200 groups strong.

Bernal also said he wanted Antioch to be a good neighbor to the rest of the county.

“I don’t necessarily believe Antioch is being a good neighbor to Oakley, and Brentwood and Pittsburg and the county right now because Antioch is in such crisis. We need to reach out to our neighbors and I want to work with the other cities around us and develop relationships,” shared Bernal. “I just want to see us be better neighbors to our people around us.”

In March of 2017, Bernal was named City Manager after serving as the assistant city manager/public works director/city engineer. He retired in December of 2021.

Since Bernal retired in December of 2021, the city has not had stable staffing in place. Under the leadership of the Antioch City Council, the city manager position has seen Cornelius Johnson (placed on admin leave before resigning), Ana Cortez (acting for a few days), Forrest Ebbs (left for Modesto) and Kwame Reed (currently acting) all serve over a two-year period. The council has also cycled through multiple police chiefs/acting police chiefs and other department heads including paying out a $244k settlement to former Public Works Director and City Engineer John Samuelson after he was terminated.

The City has also been dealing with the fallout from the Antioch Police Department text message scandal, a growing homeless population and little to no economic development with businesses leaving the city.

From Dec 29, 2021: Thank You Antioch

The following is from Dec 29, 2021 when Bernal retired and thanked Antioch for the last 23-years:

Thank You Antioch

Well, I knew this day was coming, just not so fast! Thinking about all of my experiences and encounters over the past 23 years, there’s one in particular that stands out.

In 2017 former Chief Brooks invited twenty or so members of our community, the youngest being in their 70’s and the oldest pushing the century mark, to share what it was like to be born and raised in Antioch. These amazing men and women told some of the most humbling and inspiring stories about their parents and grandparents, many immigrants who had called Antioch home and times long gone but fresh in their hearts and minds. The thing that struck me the most is that despite all of the challenges and change each of them had experienced during their lifetimes, none of them had anything bad to say about Antioch or the city it had grown to become.

In fact, all of them reminisced about how good Antioch was and is. About how their lives had been molded and impacted by the hardships and opportunities Antioch had to offer and how they were better people because of it.

There was a sparkle in their eyes as they remembered growing up in the town they still reside in and love. This special day has continued to remind me of the power of looking at what is good about Antioch, which is much.

For me, Antioch has always been about the beauty I see everywhere I look, every street I drive, and every hill I run. It’s the neighborhoods, whether old or new and the people who live and work in them. It’s the industry and home-based businesses. It’s people building their dream homes and others living on the streets just trying to survive. The true beauty of Antioch is its people, every part of the world represented, struggling to live in harmony and acceptance of each other, trying to overcome hatred and division, searching for hope and purpose and love. Everyday people like you and me, just doing their best to raise families, make a living, give back and live a life of peace, meaning, and significance.

Thank you for allowing me to accomplish all of those things and so much more. It’s been my privilege and honor to have played my small part in the Antioch story. May this place I’ve grown to love continue to look up and fulfill its destiny to become a community where every resident can find their purpose and proudly call this their home.

May God’s will be done.

— Ron Bernal

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Yes, Yes, and Yes!!! January 26, 2024 - 9:12 am

Sounds like a terrific game plan. I can certainly get behind someone who knows what Antioch can be. Restoring safety, getting city staffing numbers up, economic development and restoring adequate code enforcement are my top concerns.

Stark Contrast January 26, 2024 - 9:14 am

Notice Lamar has put forth NO plan. Just blame and complain as usual as the city collapses.

Street Sweeper January 26, 2024 - 2:54 pm

Make Antioch great again.

AntiochWatchDog January 26, 2024 - 3:32 pm

Dear CCN and Mr. Bernal,

I am setting aside 20 min of my day to respond; no, this is not the mayor. I am one of the watchdogs in the area. I want to share my opinion without spending too much time on another man’s dreams.

While I am delighted and hopeful for this upcoming election for the future of Antioch, I need clarification about some of Bernal’s questions and statements.

The first is, ” Is Antioch helping our homeless get off the streets?” People say “No,” and I have to disagree. Antioch has been doing a lot more than neighboring cities. However, its implementation and execution have not been effective. Now, this has been causing certain parts of the city to decline economically. Yet, I do not think this is the root cause of why businesses have been fleeing out of Antioch – that and public safety are best suited for another time. Antioch has been working to assist the homeless population on its own, and that is the problem; both the city’s EGO and the negligence of its neighboring cities, with the exception of Pittsburg (although the hotel is not enough anymore) is what is causing the waste of resources to address the problem. This is not an Antioch problem; this is a Regional Problem.

With this in mind, what constitutes being a “good neighbor”? Are you implying neighboring cities have been good neighbors to Antioch? Has the city of Antioch not spent time, energy, resources, money, and sanity to address the homelessness situation? Was the +96 increase in the homeless population and significant decrease in other cities insufficient to claim that “Antioch is the place to send the unhoused to”? Tell me one time when these neighboring cities have discussed a solution to address the situation. My time is ending; I hope you get the point.

TwoCents January 27, 2024 - 8:12 am

The content of your post is not that of a watchdog. Just someone expressing an opinion. How are you holding elected officials accountable, watchdog?

Street Sweeper January 26, 2024 - 5:03 pm

The unhoused doesn’t even make it on the top 10 list of Antioch problems.

CC News January 27, 2024 - 7:35 am

depends on who you ask. I would say many do considering the issues they are causing

Street Sweeper January 27, 2024 - 11:52 am

Top #10:

#1 Lamar Sanchez-Gomez LaThorpe
#2 The Entire City Council
#3 Violent Crimes/ 187s
#4 No Police Chief
#5 Zero Traffic Enforcement
# 6 Stale New Business
# 7 School District is a Joke
#8 Sideshow Fiascos
# 9 Becoming more Ghetto by the day
#10 Dilapidated Housing
# <— insert the unhoused here.

TwoCents January 27, 2024 - 8:09 am

Definitely not the top 5. Many of them choose to live on the street and don’t want help treating their addiction(s) or mental health issues. Antioch has spent too much time and money on social services programs that cater to those who lack of motivation in life or make ongoing bad decisions in life. More money should be spent on teaching life skills instead on depending on handouts.

John January 26, 2024 - 8:28 pm

Antiochwatchdog. Now everyone thinks your the mayor. Nice job.

AntiochWatchDog January 27, 2024 - 2:24 pm


Tbone January 27, 2024 - 9:48 am

Ron Bernal has no enemies. I have known Ron for over 28 years and he is my Brother and Friend. He married my wife and I in 2014. I know that Ron will put in 100% of his effort to try to fix the problems. He’s not running for Mayor to feed his ego or for the money, he is doing this to help because Antioch needs the help at this time. I’m sure he would rather enjoy his life than immerse himself into the politics of Antioch, but he has a calling. He knows how things work in Antioch and he was a leader as the City Manager who had a lot to due with the desalinization plant. VOTE for Ron!!!!!!!!!!

Oniwy January 27, 2024 - 4:24 pm

Wow, this is amazing. This is a person who can deliver a message coherently, logically, calmly, and in complete possession of himself. Yes to all the major points he made in his speech!

Denise Bellante February 1, 2024 - 11:25 am

Where can I sign up to help him run for mayor.

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