Thursday, April 16, 2020

Bill Walcutt on The Olivia

Former 3 term Councilmember and Mayor, Bill Walcutt recently reached out to me.  He had written an editorial regarding the Olivia project and sent it to the Pioneer.  Unfortunately, the Pioneer rejected his piece, telling him they only publish guest editorials that they invite.  The Pioneer then printed an editorial written by Councilmember Catalano who voted in favor of the project.

Mr. Walcutt served on the Clayton City Council starting in 1990.  He was elected again in 2000, and in 2004.  Below is the editorial that he submitted to the Pioneer that was rejected:


Thank you Vice Mayor Wan and Councilmember Diaz for representing the interest of Clayton residents and voting against the atrocious 3-story development in our historic downtown. As a former Clayton Councilmenber and Mayor, I am appalled that our majority, pro-growth, Council members voted to approve a project that will completely destroy the historic rural ambiance of our historic downtown forever. The developer should be ashamed.

I am really disappointed in Mayor Pierce, who along with me and many other former Counilmembers, Planning Commissioners and citizens spent hours in community meeting and public hearings developing the Town Center Specific Plan. A plan that was developed to protect our historic downtown and Clayton's small town rural character. Pretty sad day for Clayton

I read with reproach the response from our land use attorney Councilmember. I wish she would have used all her attorney land use skills and knowledge to develop findings (reasons) to deny this atrocious development instead of excuses for approving it. A development she said she had mixed feelings about. And then to say if you do not like our decisions you can file a lawsuit. I guess I would expect that from an attorney. In addition, she has warned us that more is to come this year because the State is going to require cities to rezone underutilized land. Sounds like a done deal. A zoning change is a legislative act and can be challenged through the referendum process unless the state has also taken that right away from us.

I am really getting tired of the stale argument that we need all this high density development in Clayton so our kids, teachers, fire fighters, and police officers can live hear. The police offices, fire fighters and teachers that live in my neighborhood would not want to downsize to live in an apartment.

High density development makes no sense in Clayton. It should be located near mass transportation hubs and job centers. Clayton has limited transportation and it does not have a job center. Every home we build puts 2 more cars on the road each day which adds to more congestion, more carbon emissions-something Sacramento said they want to reduce. Hypocrisy.

It is ironic that California can choose to violate federal law and file lawsuits against the federal government for everything the federal government does they do not like, but them require the cities and counties in this state to abide by all their draconian rules, regulations and laws. Cities are just roiling over. Clayton has Councilmembers on the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and California League of Cities-both are very powerful lobbying groups. I wish they would use their political clout to fight for the sovereignty of our cities and counties. If the state is going to run our cities, then we certainly do not need all the expense of local government.

Moreover, building affordable housing in California and Clayton is a joke. Sacramento is attributing housing affordability to the cost of a mortgage or rent while at the same time doing everything in their power to increase the cost of living in California- making living in California less affordable. Hypocrisy. Mortgage payments and rent are only one aspect of housing affordability.

California has the highest construction cost in the nation, the highest property taxes, highest insurance rates, most costly entitlement process, highest building material cost, highest water and electrical meter hookup cost for new construction, highest construction equipment cost because of CARB regulations, highest labor cost, highest utility cost, highest water rates, highest gas tax, highest gas prices (because California requires a special formula CARB gas), highest income taxes, highest vehicle registration cost, highest sales tax, and on and on. Guess who is responsible for all of this--Sacramento. They are not addressing any of these cost and, in fact, they are contributing to this self induced crisis. And then they want the taxpayers to subsidies their destructive living cost policies. Hypocrisy at its best. I guess this is why people are leaving California.

I wish our city council would use their skills, knowledge and political clout to fight for the protection of our little town.

There is currently litigation filed in connection with the project. A thread discussing it is here.