A white man, Black man, Black woman and white woman, all members of the Antioch city council in a meeting and all wearing Christmas sweaters,

Monica Wilson Chosen as Antioch’s Next Mayor Pro Tem

A white man, Black man, Black woman and white woman, all members of the Antioch city council in a meeting and all wearing Christmas sweaters,

In its last meeting before Christmas, the Antioch City Council elevated member Monica Wilson, third from left, to be next year’s mayor pro tem. (Screenshot captured by Samantha Kennedy / The CC Pulse)

By Samantha Kennedy

The Antioch City Council selected council member Monica Wilson at its Tuesday meeting to serve as mayor pro tem for the next year.

The mayor pro tem acts in place of the mayor when they are absent and has all the powers of that position when filling in.

By city ordinance, a council member is first considered to serve as mayor pro tem if they have previously not held that position. Because all current council members have acted as mayor pro tem, the council member who received the highest percentage points in their last election is considered first.

Wilson’s last election to the council in 2022 garnered 36% of the vote in her district, the highest of the other council members in their respective districts. She previously served as mayor pro tem in 2021.

In 2012, Wilson became the first Black woman elected to the council and has since advocated for police reform and ending homelessness.

Wilson is also a “regional and statewide leader” in battling human trafficking, according to her campaign website. (She announced in June she was running for a state Assembly seat in next year’s election.) Her work helped create the Human Trafficking Task Force at the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office.

She will succeed council member Tamisha Torres-Walker in the role, who acted as mayor pro tem for 2023.

Environmental justice element added to general plan

Council passed an amendment to the city’s general plan to include the environmental justice element, which is meant to ensure that EJ neighborhoods are treated fairly during the development and enforcement of environmental laws.

Language in policy often refers to impacted communities as disadvantaged communities; however, Antioch residents preferred “EJ Neighborhoods” in its place for this element.

Several goals of the element include increasing access to healthy food and public facilities, improving environmental conditions and better transit options.

Thorpe said he was hoping staff would put this item on the agenda at a later date as a work study session, which would allow for a more in-depth discussion of the element, because he felt it needed to have more understanding and education surrounding it.

“These are big policy questions that we’re being asked,” he said.

City staff said the element is allowed to be changed by the council in the future if it wishes to and calls it a baseline of environmental justice.

The element is meant to “be a living document that will respond to changes over time,” according to the staff report. “As the EJ Neighborhoods evolve, the EJ Element will address new issues and provide solutions.”

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