Friday, September 28, 2018

There Is No Diversity of Thought at the Current City Council

I've discussed earlier the high rate of absenteeism by Councilmember Shuey and how by his being absent so frequently it impacts his ability to represent the people.  But even when he is present, it makes little difference. This is because there is no diversity of thought within the Council. Beyond simple matters like approving the previous meeting’s minutes, there are much more impactful votes. Votes on things like:
  • parolee housing
  • rezoning downtown parcels to high density, 
  • votes to sell off city land to outside developers, 
  • votes to work with outside developers to build memory care centers
  • And votes to restrict people’s speech.
And here is where the lack of diversity of thought becomes apparent. Except one vote from Councilmember Diaz*, the Council has voted unanimously. Not just sometimes either - for nearly 400 different votes, 100% of the time since January 2014 the votes have been unanimous.

Given the contentious nature of some of the issues and the disagreement among the residents of Clayton, you would expect that disagreement reflected on at least some of these issues at the Council. But that's not the case. The Council has voted unanimously, all the time.

In a town with as diverse views as we have here, those differing views are not being represented when there is no diversity of thought at the current Council.

The actions and motivations of the council should be transparent and not hidden behind some non-existent requirement to be neutral. As an independent voice on the Council, I would represent the view that:
  • The safety of our residents should be the primary duty of the city. 
  • That we shouldn’t restrict people’s ability to speak. 
  • That we shouldn’t have high density housing in our downtown. 
  • That we shouldn’t sell off our city to outside developers ensuring we lose control over how the land is used.
We can do better, and it's time for a change.

*At the Aug, 21 meeting, Jim Diaz voted "no" while the four other Councilmembers including Mr. Shuey voted "yes" to the more recent parolee housing ordinance.  Initially at the July 17 council meeting, Councilmember Diaz voted yes with a unanimous Council to a buffer of 500' from sensitive areas for parolee housing.  After hearing universal complaint throughout public comment at both the July 17 , and Aug 21 meeting, Councilmember Diaz indicated he wasn't ready to vote on the 2nd reading of the parolee housing ordinance.  When the other four Councilmembers increased the buffer to 1000' and pushed for a vote anyways, Councilmember Diaz voted no, switching from his previous yes vote.