I am an active CPA in private industry, the treasurer of my small HOA, and I’ve been a Clayton resident for over 9 years. My family moved to Clayton to raise our kids. We came for the great schools, safe neighborhoods, and small town feel and charm.There was also a section on non-agenda items. In that section I addressed the inconsistency and inability to reconcile the statement made recently with the video evidence that contradicts the current statements made:
I think it's incredibly important that people have the opportunity to participate in their government, the opportunity to be heard, and the commitment from leadership that they will respond as appropriate. For too long that opportunity hasn’t been available here. Yes anyone can come to these Council meetings and speak for 3 minutes. But there is no requirement to actually engage in dialogue at these meetings. There is talking, but no communication. That's because the Council is under no obligation to respond to questions, to pleas, or anything for that matter.
For example, at a previous Council meeting, I prepared a list of questions. I posed them during my 3 minutes. I presented a copy for each Councilmember in written format so you could respond during your turn. But the Council declined the opportunity to address the questions, or even acknowledge them - they sat untouched for the duration of the meeting.
When substantive comments and questions go repeatedly unaddressed and unanswered, it creates a sense of being ignored. It’s the same thing when you label groups that have different views as a “vocal minority”. It minimizes what they have to say as if it’s not important, treating minority views as if they don’t matter. That is why communication is such a key part of my campaign. Direct questions should receive direct answers. Period.
With today’s technology, those who are charged with governance should meet the people where they are, and provide as many means for communication as possible. Sure there are Council meetings. There are other on the record public gatherings, like the debate earlier this week. But there are also a large group of Clayton residents that participate in other ways. Like on NextDoor. Why doesn't the Council participate there, or when they do, they avoid direct questions? Why is Councilmember Pierce proud that she only ever posted there 2 or 3 times? I can set up an online forum in a day and make it public so anyone can ask questions. A subreddit? How about a twitter account? Something public that has extremely low barriers to entry and is available to all would go a long way towards ensuring that folks have that opportunity to participate.
And it doesn't have to be just one thing. I don't know what form this all could take - but these ideas here are all super low cost and easy to implement. I do know that an opportunity for dialogue should exist and right now it's lacking.
There will always be those who do not have a desire to participate, which is their choice and their right. But these types of things are easy and they would provide greater opportunity for the people to engage.
So while I want to preserve all of the wonderful things about this city, there are some areas where more of the same is no longer okay. More of the same is when the Council no longer listens to the people it represents. No, I am here to speak truth to power. At some point the Council lost its way and I’m running for City Council to correct that.
Can you elaborate on when the Council plans to address the sign ordinance that is no longer being enforced? From the latest Mercury News article that highlighted the problematic ordinance, it indicated it wouldn’t be taken up until after November. Why is that? I see there is nothing on the agenda today as far as action items go – can it be added to the next meeting?The Council declined to respond to the discrepancy between their assertions and the factual record.
I also note that in the article, and on NextDoor, Councilmember Pierce and Councilmember Catalano insist when they were voting to limit people’s speech, they thought they were only voting to limit the size of individual large signs, not the aggregate signage on a property. I can’t reconcile that with the evidentiary record that clearly demonstrates understanding and direction that the restriction was to apply to aggregate signage, not individual signage as you now state. Can you reconcile that discrepancy?
Regarding open public dialogue, the Council asserted that they are available, that people can reach out via their city email addresses, or talk to them one on one. The problem with that is that it's not public. For some reason they are unwilling to engage in public discourse. Part of the value of public discourse is to allow more people to engage in easier ways, plus we would start getting the wisdom of crowds which could lead to better decision making. The Council made it clear they were uninterested in public communication and discourse.
Brian Buddell talked about how the other candidates were unwilling to take actual positions and how their statements were often void of any substance. He challenged them to address this shortcoming about specific issues that matter to Clayton residents, like downtown development, high density housing, and parolee housing.
In Brian Buddell's section for non-agenda items, he made it clear that with the weak parolee housing ordinance that the Council voted unanimously in favor of coming into effect, that regardless of whether an actual parolee home enters the city, disclosure requirements would negatively impact the property values in the targeted areas.
After hearing my request to add the sign ordinance to future agendas, after being reminded by Brian Buddell that Councilmember Diaz voted in favor of the parolee housing ordinance with the understanding that it would be taken up again, the Council was silent. The Council then declined to request anything to be put on future agendas, essentially ignoring everything that was being asked for, and what they had stated the Council would do.