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.