Monday, April 12, 2021

4.6.21 Meeting Summary

 Though I was absent from the last meeting due to being out of town on spring break, I did have a chance to watch the video and read through the materials.  The council took action on two significant items as follows:

Authorized the Police Department to apply for a grant from the CA Dept of Justice to participate in the Tobacco Grant Program.  This program reimburses the city for funds spent for certain purposes and is funded by Prop 56 in 2016 which increased taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products.  The purpose of the grant is to support local enforcement efforts to reduce the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors.  If this grant is awarded, Clayton will use the funds to hire and maintain a full time police officer that would be responsible for:

  • Acting as a school liaison and provide education to students, teachers and school administrators about tobacco laws at the two schools in the City of Clayton (Diablo View Middle School and Mount Diablo Elementary School);
  • Providing education to city tobacco retailers to ensure that they understand and comply with state and local tobacco laws;
  • Conducting tobacco related enforcement operations targeting locations where minors are likely to be present such as playgrounds, youth sports events, parks, local festivals etc.;
  • Conducting minor decoy and shoulder tap operations directed at tobacco retailers, including electronic cigarettes and vaping products;
  • Conducting tobacco retailer license inspections;
  • Investigation of tobacco related violations;
  • Providing community wide education classes through the use of various platforms;
  • Using social media platforms to enhance messaging.
The Council voted unanimously to approve applying for this grant.

The other significant item was to formalize a procedure for recognizing certain cultural heritage and other significant celebrations.  There was discussion about the proposed list and a few additional recognition items were added.  The procedure will be that the first time a celebration occurs a proclamation would be brought forward at Council and for subsequent years no further action would be taken other than an informational report out each month as to which events were occurring so they could be acknowledged without the addition of a new proclamation.  The Council voted unanimously to adopt this procedure.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Meeting 4.6.21 and Spring Break

I was absent for the 4.6.21 meeting due to being out of town for spring break.  Just returned from quite a long road trip.  I'll catch up on what happened during the meeting and post an update then.  For now, this is what I was doing in lieu of the meeting:

Delicate Arch


Thursday, March 18, 2021

3.16.21 Meeting Summary

 I was not able to attend this meeting due to scheduling conflicts but I did have a chance to watch the video.

The Council took two actions:

  • Adopted an updated salary schedule that was previously budgeted.  The salary schedule was effective 1.1.21.
  • Approved the release of an RFP for vendors to assist in preparation of the next Housing Element which is a required component of the General Plan.

Regarding the Community Church project - the request I had previously made was for information regarding the process.  As this will likely come before the Planning Commission and City Council, there was not discussion of this item at this time.  The informational packet can be found on page 32 of the agenda packet.



Friday, March 12, 2021

Upcoming Council Meeting 3.16.21

 There are a couple significant items on the agenda for the next meeting:

  • Adopting an updated salary schedule.  This was on the agenda in the prior meeting but the documentation was insufficient so it is being brought back this meeting.  We've already budgeted based on the updated salary schedule however CalPERS requires that changes to the salary schedule be provided publicly.  This schedule was effective as of 1.1.21.
  • We are putting out a Request for Proposal (RFP) to assist with preparation of an updated Housing Element.  The Housing Element is a required component of our General Plan (also a requirement) and must be updated from time to time, at least every 8 years.  We have received some grant funding for this effort based on prior applications (approximately $85K), and will expect to pay approximately $150K in additional funds to be appropriated from the Rainy Day fund.

In addition to these action items, as part of the consent calendar items, Staff has drafted an informational report on the Clayton Community Church Project.  I have received a number of communications regarding this project and previously requested that Staff update the community on status and what to expect going forward.  That report is included in the agenda packet.

Due to scheduling conflicts, I will not be able to attend this meeting.  If you have any questions or comments please reach out.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

3.2.21 Meeting Summary

 Last night there were a few significant items discussed.

  • We had a mid year budget review.  There were several unbudgeted items of a one time nature that were either incurred or planned to be incurred by the end of the fiscal year June 30, 2021.  As such, we appropriated a sufficient amount of dollars from the unrestricted general fund reserves to cover these items.  They included estimates for additional janitorial services in connection with COVID-19, election services, a portion to fund the purchase of an additional police vehicle, and if schools were to re-open projected costs for additional crossing guard services.  The largest amount was to complete the prior City Manager contractual obligation.  The remaining surplus from the prior fiscal year was transferred to the Rainy Day fund.  At the end of the day, overall balance of that fund after the appropriations and transfers increased approximately $141K bringing the total to approximately $508K.

  • We discussed sending a letter to our State legislative representatives regarding SB9 which is currently being considered in Sacramento.  The letter would take an "oppose unless amended" position.  SB9's main goal is to eliminate single family zoning throughout California.  It does this in a number of ways, primarily by allowing lot splits with only ministerial approval which is no review.  This means that any single family lot could be converted to contain multiple units.  Each of those units could then develop an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), and a Junior ADU, resulting in each single family lot being allowed to have 6 units. 

    The letter that was drafted took an "oppose unless amended" position.  The amendments sought however did not affect the main goal of the legislation - to end single family zoning. The draft was okay with all single family parcels to be split, ending single family zoning in CA, but wanted to restrict additional ADUs.  I did not feel this went far enough and signaled that we are okay with ending single family zoning.  I voted no.  The Council ultimately voted 4-1 to send this letter with only myself being opposed.

  • We set the time for a special meeting to conduct a goal setting session.  It will be at 4pm on Monday March 22.  The city has hired a facilitator to assist with discussion.  The meeting will be open to the public via zoom.


In my public comments, I also commented about the state of our schools and distance learning.  Statement is below:

I’ve looked through the last couple school board meetings and I have to say, if anything is on that agenda that isn’t related to opening schools as fast as possible, then you are doing it wrong

This has been a failure from top to bottom and those in leadership positions have forgotten their primary duty – to educate kids.  From the state level where teachers have just recently been able to get vaccinated – why they weren’t on the list from the first place is mind boggling, to the school district who is unable to do the right thing and stand up for our students, to the union who is capitalizing on a national travesty to further their own ends.

 Recently there was a survey asking MDUSD families what their preference was to return.  The District is trying to take the results of this survey, about 50/50 between returning hybrid and full distance learning, to mean something.  But this survey was a sham.  Sure it asked a question, but the choices were abysmal.  The only options offered were either full distance learning, or two days per week, two hours per day, in the afternoons only for “support” rather than actual instruction.  That was an insult to working parents and to tout those results as somehow indicative of parents desire to maintain fulltime distance learning is disingenuous.  The District should be ashamed.

I’ve looked at the demands put out by MDEA, the local teacher’s union and I find it strange that they are more restrictive than anywhere else.  They demand that the case rate be measured not by county, but by city.  And that to have kids back in the classroom, that rate be no greater than 7 per 100,000, rather than the 25 per 100,000 put out by state health officials.  Clayton has about 11K people, which means to meet that requirement our case rate would need to be ZERO. Not sure which medical school the teacher’s unions went to, but presume that they are in a better position to determine medical safety than the CDC or state and local health officials is absurd.

The more things open up, it is a given that the chance of people getting sick increases.  No risk can be mitigated to zero though.  And while that potential risk increases, we know that the actual negative impact distance learning is having on our students’ education, socialization, and mental health is real and is happening right now.

If this is your school board, send a message loud and often that their actions are unacceptable.  They work for us.  Fire them.  Recall them.  Don’t ever vote for them again. 

If this is your union, send a message loud and often that their actions are unacceptable.  Remember you don’t have to pay the dues and you don’t have to be a member of an organization engaging in activities you do not support.  In 2018, the United States Supreme Court held in Janus that compelling public sector employees like teachers to be a member of a union they do not wish to belong to, or to pay dues or agency fees against your will, is unconstitutional.   The district has raised the alarm that 1,000 out of 29,000 students have left the district.  If this is the course of action being pursued by MDEA, I would hope to see an even greater exodus from MDEA’s ranks as well.

Kids belong in school.


There have been a number of communications regarding the Clayton Community Church proposal near the elementary school.  I requested that staff assemble a few bullet points to clarify the process and what the public should expect to see as the project moves through the pipeline, as well as where they can get involved.

Councilmember Diaz requested a future discussion item about the status of outdoor cannabis cultivation.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Upcoming Council Meeting 3.2.21

 There are a few significant items on the agenda for the next meeting:

  • A mid year budget review for FY21.  We are on a fiscal year that ends June 30 and as such the end of December is the mid point in the fiscal year.  This meeting we evaluate results to date and can make any adjustments as needed.  We'll address some one time spending needs from our Rainy Day Fund to cover costs associated with an employment contract for the former City Manager, and discuss the transfer of remaining funds to the Rainy Day Fund.
  • Discuss a draft letter in regards to SB 9 which purports to eliminate single family zoning state wide.  The current draft takes an "Oppose Unless Amended" position.
  • Set a date for our annual goal setting session which is targeted to be 3/22/21.

If you have any thoughts or questions, please let me know.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

2.16.21 Meeting Summary

There were two significant items on on the agenda last night.

  • We started the process of recognizing various cultural heritage events including some events that may be of importance but not necessarily cultural heritage.  The plan going forward will be to identify these items and bring back to Council for concurrence, and then recognize each at their appropriate time.
  • I had requested that public comment on non-agenda items be moved up from item 6 to item 3 in the standing agenda.  Often times there is 40 minutes or more before we get to public comment and my hope was that we could increase public participation by making the public comment period earlier and at a more set time.  When we are back to in person meetings especially, I know it can be difficult for some, especially those with young kids, to be able to dedicate the time to wait just to raise an issue at Council.  This was done in hopes of making public participation easier and more accessible.  I made a motion that was rejected on a vote of 3-2 with just myself and Councilmember Diaz voting yes.