Antioch’s Rodney McClelland re-enters city council race

In a rare move, a candidate who suspended his campaign more than a month ago, has re-entered the race for Antioch City Council.

Rodney McClelland, a lifelong Antioch resident, withdrew from the race and suspended his campaign committee on Sept. 23 because of “personal reasons.” He later explained that his mother had passed away and he was dealing with her estate, and “no longer could commit the time and energy required to run for office.”

But late on Monday, McClelland, whose name is still on the ballot, had a change of heart and announced he was re-entering the race. Because he suspended his committee, however, he cannot raise any money for the council seat race in the remaining days.

“I probably should have just taken a break, but I took an oath to serve. If I was elected, I would still be obligated to serve,” he said. “I am going to get back into this. I have an uphill battle because my name is not out there as much as others.”

Even so, McClelland said he “will never apologize for putting family first,” noting now that his personal issues have been resolved, he has restarted his campaign.

Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonson said in recent years he can’t remember any candidate re-entering the race as McClelland has done, though many candidates have qualified but never formed a committee, participated in questionnaires or debates.

For his part, McClelland said he thought the “the citizens of Antioch deserve a choice for a different path other than ‘tax and spend.’”

McClelland is the only City Council candidate to oppose Measure W, the local one-cent quality-of-life sales tax measure. Measure W, which would take effect in 2019, would replace Measure C, a half-cent sales tax measure that was geared to help increase the police force and was set to expire in 2020.

“Measure W doesn’t seem to be a temporary fix,” he said. “It’s 20 years — that’s a lifetime.”

McClelland said the proposed tax will hurt a lot of people who are struggling financially, as well as businesses.
“It shouldn’t be a penalty to live in Antioch,” he said. “Can we trust they are going to use the money where they say they are going to?”

And, though the measure includes an oversight committee, McClelland says it reports to the council and therefore has “no teeth” to it.

“I’d rather see a good economic growth plan than another tax,” he said. “…The passion in me and the love I have for the city made me want to get back into the race to be sure Antioch has a different voice. I want to see it move in a positive direction.”

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