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Announcement: Mark Anthony Jones on Why He Should Be Elected to City Council

Jones has been a resident of the Hercules/Rodeo area since 1977 and owns the 44 Sports Lounge.

My name is Mark Anthony Jones and I was born Feb. 14, 1966 in Richmond, CA. My wife and I opened 44 Sports Lounge in Hercules, Jan. 1, 2010. I’ve been happily married to Dana Jones for almost 6 years & we share two loving boys, Mark Anthony (13) and Mason (3). 

My primary reasons for running for city council, among other things, is to offer different and creative approaches to solving our city's financial issues; to see the city maintain its socially inclusive reputation and restore the city’s good name, both here in the Bay Area and nationally.

 I have been a resident in the Hercules/Rodeo area since 1977. Since that time, I have watched the area, specifically Hercules, go through tremendous growth and have stayed in tune with the city happenings. 

My wife and I are proud residents of this beloved city and its most recent publicized issues have given us great cause for concern. In January of 2010 we opened 44 Sports Lounge on Willow Avenue. This full service restaurant has become a very popular place for the over-40s to relax after work and watch a game. Having a business, home and family in Hercules, I have a very serious vested interest in its success. As a candidate for city council, I am determined, through hard work, creative and proven business savvy, to get Hercules back on track, as one of the most desired places to live, in the Bay Area.

I want the residents of Hercules to know Mark Anthony Jones. I am my own person, who has obligations to no one for anything and will not make empty campaign promises to get elected. 

My job, when elected, is to serve in the best interest of ALL the citizens in the city of Hercules, not just a select few. Moreover, I am an extremely accessible person and candidate, as many voters have already learned by visiting me at our sports lounge and introducing themselves to me. 

I am a fact finder and do not subscribe to innuendo or the churning of the “rumor mill.” I address issues head on. For example, there appears to be concern regarding an inordinate amount of police activity at our establishment, the 44 Sports Lounge. No doubt, others will try and use this matter against me in the upcoming election. But do you really know the truth behind these incidents? Has anyone cared to speak with me personally about them?

Again, I face matters head on and invite anyone with any concerns they have about these reported incidents, to thoroughly scrutinize them (with me personally if you like), to get to the truth behind them.

I know as a matter of politics, people will try and “spin” the reported police incidents, to gain an advantage. However, I invite any and all to analyze these reports, by contacting me or the Hercules Police Department and decide for themselves the truth about our family business. 

Public safety is my first priority.  It is a must that we continue to keep our city safe. In doing so, the city will remain vibrant. In a vibrant city, business will thrive; and communities will grow in a positive direction. Moreover, our senior citizens enjoy living in Hercules, because of the safety of the city. I want to keep it that way.

My second priority is to be intimately involved in re-establishing the cities credit rating. As a growing city it is imperative that the city has a positive credit rating.

My third priority is seeing the completion of the Sycamore project. This, and other city projects, have been started but have been put on hold for financial reasons. These projects must be a priority before they become urban blight. 

Specifically, the Sycamore Project, which has now sat untouched for weeks, could have been massaged into a real profit center, or at least an urban success story. As a member of the Hercules City Council, I will ask the necessary questions of fellow council members, city staff and Planning Commission, regarding the feasibility and practicality of the successful completions of such projects.  We as a city have to hold our leaders accountable for their decisions – that’s why we elected them to office.

In addition, the most talked about development project in our city is the Bayfront/Intermodal Transit Center. As a businessperson in this city, this project excites me.  It will give Hercules tremendous access to the entire Bay Area. This project, like any other project needs to be thoroughly scrutinized, to minimize city exposure and maximize the city success.  Every project should be looked upon in that manner.    

The future, of the city of Hercules is too important to just put anyone in office. We need a person that is fully committed to doing the right thing, even if their “supporters” don’t agree. We have an opportunity to turn the city of Hercules around.  But like our family restaurant business, it’s going to take hard work & dedication.  Please vote for the person who is “Leading by Example” MARK ANTHONY JONES on June 7th



Fred Deltorchio May 13, 2011 at 04:42 PM
To those concerned with my previous Interim City Manager's report referring to 20 police calls at Club 44 I am providing a list of the calls: (Due to the length it will require more than one post) 11/07/09: Officers responded to an alarm. 01/27/10: Security check initiated by officer. 03/19/10: Report of juveniles trying to get someone to buy them alcohol at the liquor store. Officers contacted the group at Club 44. 05/05/10: Security check initiated by officer. 05/31/10: Security check initiated by officer. 06/17/10: Employee requested a walk thru due to large crowd at the business. 07/12/10: Employee requested a walk thru due to an unfamiliar group to him. 07/12/10: Security check initiated by officer. 09/02/10: Officers responded to an alarm. 10/21/10: Employee requested a requested a walk thru. 11/07/10: 911 disconnect. Employee wanted to report a possible disturbance and involved parties left prior to officers’ arrival.
Fred Deltorchio May 13, 2011 at 04:48 PM
Continued: 11/28/10: Report of subjects smoking marijuana in a vehicle outside the club. Officers arrested both suspects, one in possession of a firearm. 11/30/10: Security check initiated by officer. 12/03/10: Security check initiated by officer. 12/04/10: Employee requested a walk thru. 12/05/10: Security check initiated by officer. 12/06/10: Security check initiated by officer. 12/10/10: Employee said he has a couple of people in the business he is not familiar and requested a walk thru. 01/07/11: Employee believes they are over capacity and wants the crowd cleared. 02/05/11: Officers responded to an alarm. 02/27/11: Hit & Run at Biryani (next door) restaurant. After officers arrived patrons from the Club 44 Lounge became combative and challenged officers to a fight. It should be noted that security checks intiated by officers are listed as "calls" but are really not. They are a public relations/crime prevention practice encouraged by the Interim Police Chief and endorsed by the Club 44 proprietor. It should also be noted that since a meeting earlier this year between Mr. Jones and city officials, there have been no new police calls at Club 44, other than officer initiated security checks.
Glenn Abraham May 13, 2011 at 04:49 PM
Which has more practicality? Having Jones publish here, or anywhere, those details which prove the "... truth about our family business", or "a personal invite to discuss FACTS face to face" with 15,000 faces on 15,000 occasions? Which is more sincere? Simply publicizing the truth in one place for all to see, or offering an impossible alternative which will limit the truth to maybe six people? As for FINANCIAL REPORTS: the bully Romero has been discussing finances in great deal, and in public, for a very long time. If you reread Mr. Jones' announcement, you'll find no financial specificity beyond: -" As a growing city it is imperative that the city has a positive credit rating": very insightful, but how does he intend to regain Hercules' postive credit rating? -"Specifically, the Sycamore Project, which has now sat untouched for weeks, could have been massaged into a real profit center": Wonderful. How? -" the Bayfront/Intermodal Transit Center" [Again, as Jeffrey Boore points out, Mr. Jones is treating two projects as one]: " This project, like any other project needs to be thoroughly scrutinized, to minimize city exposure and maximize the city success." Good point. Scrutiny is required. How is that an implementable financial plan?
Glenn Abraham May 13, 2011 at 05:09 PM
The facts do look significantly less ominous than "Officers have responded to over 20 calls at the club over the last two years", as stated in "the Interim City Manager report, January 21st, on the City's website, under 'Police Activity', Page four under 'Disturbance'". Chief Deltorchio here points out that security checks initiated by officers "are listed as 'calls' but are really not", even though the Interim City Manager report simply stated that "Officers have responded to over 20 calls". Why is this item (also on the Interim City Mgr Rpt of 21Jan11) not in the above list? "On January 15th, at 12:22 A.M. Officers responded to a report of a large crowd causing a disturbance at the 44 Sports Lounge on Willow Avenue. The Lounge was being rented for a birthday party. Officers stayed in the area until the crowd dispersed."
Fred Deltorchio May 13, 2011 at 05:33 PM
An oversight by me...good catch Glenn.
Glenn Abraham May 13, 2011 at 05:44 PM
Thank you, Chief. And thank you for your service as Interim City Manager. In large part, Hercules' salvation is due to your work in restoring reason to civic administration over these past few months. We will miss you.
Joseph Catindig May 14, 2011 at 12:27 AM
Thank you CM Deltorchio for the clarification. I hope this "20+calls" issue will be put to rest now.
Jerrold "Jerry" Parsons May 14, 2011 at 05:45 AM
Mark, I wish you luck in your campaign and would only hope the people that are monitoring and making the comments regarding the amount of calls to your business are paying attention to the needs of our local schools. Jerrold "Jerry" Parsons - John Swett Unified School District - Board Trustee
Giorgio C. May 14, 2011 at 01:59 PM
I agree! I want to hear more from the candidates on what how they would get involved with our schools. Currently, there is a city council education subcommittee, but it appears to be on hold.
Jerrold "Jerry" Parsons May 15, 2011 at 06:10 PM
Giorgio C. The only candidate in this election that has reached out and shows an interest in the local Schools has been Mark. I am confident that Mark will be a good partner with John Swett Unified School district.
Susan D.Keeffe May 15, 2011 at 08:40 PM
Parsons Are you the same person who does not live in Hercules who supported a candidate in Pinole? If so, this election is about the City of Hercules. WCCUSD school board issues belong elsewhere. For concerns there I suggest attending the School Board meetings held every other Wed night. Even though you are not a resident in the WCCUSD attendance area, the meetings are open to the public. For John Swett USD issues those board meetings are also open to the public. The relevant issues for the City of Hercules can be revisited by watching the debate video.
Jeffrey Boore May 15, 2011 at 08:42 PM
Simply mentioning that you are in favor of education is not the same thing as reaching out to do something about it. Has Mark Jones done anything other than state that it is a priority? I certainly may have missed it, so I am asking sincerely, not flippantly. I'd say, too, that I don't think that education is among the most important issues for a City Council member, since education is a responsibility of the state and (unfortunately, in my view) of the local school board. There is a little that a city council member can do by way of boosterism, advocacy to the school board, or minor programatic contributions, but that is not a big part of what makes our schools work. And, I suspect, if we take a poll among the candidates, we'd find that all would make similar statements of how important education of our youth is to our future. Who would argue against that? Is there anything specific that one candidate advocates that the others oppose?
Susan D.Keeffe May 15, 2011 at 08:47 PM
Parsons Are you a Hercules resident? There was someone with your name who supported a Pinole candidate who lived in either Rodeo or Crockett. Just asking. This election is about the City of Hercules. John Swett school board issues belong elsewhere. For concerns there I suggest attending those meetings which are open to the public. The relevant issues for the City of Hercules can be revisited by watching the debate video.
Susan D.Keeffe May 15, 2011 at 09:05 PM
My apologies re duplicate post. I realized if Parsons lives in the John Swett area he would not be interested in WCCUSD issues. WCCUSD serves Hercules. Of course as a John Swett trustee he already knows that and should understand which issues are the city's and which are the purview of the school board.
Giorgio C. May 15, 2011 at 09:57 PM
The city council has previously played a role in addressing concerns with Hercules schools, such as the lack of seats resulting from high numbers of transfers from nearby cities orchestrated by one Hercules principal. The city council responded to the parents and it worked. One parent going to the school board meetings is not enough. The parent's comments do not even get recorded in the minutes. I expect backing from the City council whenever the district fails to meet their responsibilities-obligations, resulting in harm to the quality of education and to our children in our schools . The PTA serves a purpose, but there are issues better addressed by parents-citizens, excluding the teachers. To current council members and future council members, you need to learn the issues regarding the district. They are very costly to the citizens of Hercules, especially when the previous WCCUSD superintendent bankrupted the district. We are all still paying for this today at $700,000.00 per year. Where is the oversight? Sounds like our City government. People move to Hercules because of the quality of our schools, so it is good for business if nothing else. The city council recently voted on a school bond measure. There will be more. I am stunned that we are even having this discussion. If not our City council, then who?
RJ May 15, 2011 at 10:12 PM
I've yet to see a city council in Hercules reject a school bond or parcel tax when asked to support it by the WCCUSD school board. It would be refreshing to see a sitting council tell the school board we will not take a position and its entirely up to the voters. From what I've seen of the Hercules council, is they've never seen a tax they didn't like.
Giorgio C. May 16, 2011 at 01:28 AM
Vice-Mayor de Vera recently voted no on such a bond, but she was the lone wolf on this one.
Jerrold "Jerry" Parsons May 16, 2011 at 01:28 AM
Hello Susan, John Swett Unified School District covers a portion of Hercules and hope all the candidates are aware of the needs of all kids in Hercules, not just the WCCUSD portion. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to e-mail me directly at jerryp1969@yahoo.com
Jerrold "Jerry" Parsons May 16, 2011 at 01:33 AM
Hello Susan, we also service Hercules. I am not sure where you live, but the Foxboro and Franklin Canyon areas of Hercules are in the John Swett Unified School District. I am not trying to create a debate here, but simply pointing out that someone from the current group of candidates has reached out and is aware of some of our successes and challenges.
John Loudermilk May 16, 2011 at 01:56 AM
Kudos to Vice-Mayor de Vera who recently voted no on further support of another bond. Home owners are being taxed out of their homes by the WCCUSD parcel taxes. WCCUSD is not fiscally responsible and has wasted a fortune via mismanagement. No more parcel taxes for any reason!
Giorgio C. May 16, 2011 at 02:19 AM
Jerry, Thank you for reminding us that your district services residents of Hercules. I was unaware of this, so really appreciate you brining this to my attention. I would like to contact you in the near future to get your take on things if that is ok with you. Thanks again for sharing. I greatly appreciate it, even if I am slightly embarrassed by my own ignorance. Two districts for Hercules residents-who knew? Thanks again. Sincerely, Giorgio Cosentino gcosentino1964@gmail.com
Susan D.Keeffe May 16, 2011 at 10:47 AM
Parsons, You are correct. John Swett USD also services Hercules.Those issues also are not pertinent to the City issues.
Giorgio C. May 16, 2011 at 11:40 AM
Education is a city issue. Here is the mentioning of an education subcommittee on the city webpage. Hooray! http://www.ci.hercules.ca.us/index.aspx?page=651
Giorgio C. May 16, 2011 at 12:21 PM
The other option is to require that one member of the WCCUSD board be a resident of Hercules. With the current board, two members are from El Cerrito, the remaining 3 from San Pablo/Richmond. Here is a good article about mayoral involvement with schools in the US. In some cases, everyone is waiting for some new solutions to take effect, such as charter schools. http://www.citymayors.com/education/usa_schoolboards.html
Jerrold "Jerry" Parsons May 16, 2011 at 01:06 PM
I believe that one of the most important investments in any community is good schools and must be on the radar of any candidate who is running for city council. It is directly related to property values and is a major factor for families with children when making the decision to purchase a home. I know that Hercules has a great rapport with WCCUSD and look forward to a better rapport with John Swett Unified School District (JSUSD). In 2012 it would be great if the Hercules area that JSUSD serves, could find a qualified candidate to run for the JSUSD. I purchased my first home in Hercules and believe it is one of, if not the best cities in Contra Costa County and want the best that we can do for our entire region. I love our current board, but understand the importance of every area within a school district to have representation. Jerrold "Jerry" Parsons Life long resident of Rodeo/Hercules John Swett Unified School District Governing Board Member - Trustee jerryp1969@yahoo.com 510-703-9862
Susan D.Keeffe May 16, 2011 at 04:54 PM
To get back on topic for relevancy for the upcoming election, today's Patch article says it all. There's no point in chasing a red herring. Hopefully Mr Jones understands what this election is about.
Sal May 16, 2011 at 08:03 PM
@Jeffrey Boore, You say earlier, " Of course, we should not be starting construction on a building that we cannot afford to finish. Who would do something so crazy as that?! That would be as crazy as spending millions of dollars on designing a facility on land that we don’t own and have no realistic prospect of owning. Is there anyone who would make those kinds of crazy decisions?" I think you make great points, but from what I can gather your comments could be directly associated with the Waterfront Project. To me this sounds exactly like what the City would be doing. The Waterfront developer has no money, that is obvious, all he is trying to do is leverage the City and have the City be in the same boat as they are on Market Hall and the soon to be Sycamore North ghetto, oh I mean project. I hope the new candidates that are elected will take a real long hard look at the deal that the City is trying to work in order to make the Bayfront happen. Can someone explain to me how anyone can or is willing to pay $3.00 to make a $1.75??? Thats what this project would be, it would cost nearly twice as much to build it than what you could sell it for in this market, so why is the City spending so much time and effort to try and deliver this dead project? Mr. Charlie Long I know you were hired to try and make this happen, but please start delivering the facts about this project!
Jeffrey Boore May 16, 2011 at 08:42 PM
@Sal - Where do you get your information that the Waterfront developer has no money? That is not true. The money for the commercial side of the development has never been the big issue. The problem now, though, is that there is a very real threat for those investors to withdraw that money because the city has blocked the project from moving forward for so many years that they have lost confidence that Hercules is serious about ever entitling the development. If this city will move forward with entitling the project and will commit to the reasonable public investment in the necessary infrastructure to support it, then the commercial side of the development will move forward. That was true four years ago, two years ago, and today. Further, I don't understand at all your suggestion that we could end up with a half-finished building like the disaster at Sycamore North. What building would that be? Surely you don't mean the train station, because I'm not suggesting we begin building that until the money is in hand. Surely you don't mean the commercial buildings, because there is no reason at all to believe that the developer, who has built many successful, similarly scaled projects, would repeat the stupidity and malfeasance of our city's leaders.
Jeffrey Boore May 16, 2011 at 08:51 PM
The development of the waterfront was conceived in the charette by thousands of Herculeans, supported in the Waterfront Initiative by nearly 4,000 Herculean's signatures, received glowing support at the state and national level, and then was effectively thwarted by a handful of people in city hall. Nearly every aspect of the financial mess that we find ourselves in can be traced to the decisions of these few people that have blocked the development of the waterfront from moving forward. A significant part of the motive of those few people was to divert the money intended for waterfront development into the pockets of cronies like those at Red Barn. It is now very galling to see yet another chapter in this unfolding where the popular waterfront project, whose delay has cost this city so many scores of millions of dollars, is now being compared as though it is similar to the very schemes that have thwarted it.
Giorgio C. May 17, 2011 at 02:58 AM
Hey Susan, I raised the question of education. Someone responded. We are having a discussion. If you don't like it, butt out. Go elsewhere. Gee whiz. Who asked you for the time of day. We get it. You don't like Candidate Jones. Here's a suggestion-don't vote for him.


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