Tuesday, April 20, 2021

4.20.21 Meeting Summary

 Tonight, there were a couple significant items discussed:

  • We adopted priority areas for the fiscal year ending June 2022.  These include Land Use and Housing, Public Safety, Financial Stability, Quality of Life, and Good Governance.  There are several sub items under each of those main priority areas.  Going forward the city will work towards establishing prioritization within those areas including allocating funding as appropriate, and implementing a reporting system to provide a regular update on achievements within the priorities.

  • We unanimously approved a series of resolutions which will enable commercial property owners to take advantage of Golden State Financing Authority Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program.  This will allow certain commercial businesses to take advantage of a financing mechanism to associate the cost of certain clean energy improvements, which typically have very high up front costs, and in exchange pay through a property tax assessment.  

One subject that has come up in discussion with residents and in the comments tonight is the recent Stop AAPI Hate rally that was organized and took place when I was away on spring break.  Apparently there was action taken trying to associate myself and an effort to hijack this event into something it was not.  I was asked to denounce various actions, etc. else I be presumed to be involved or something to that effect.  I have no interest in getting into the business of denouncing things generally.  Doing so can lead to a slippery slope where Councilmembers are asked to weigh in on all matters of the day to denounce this thing or that thing.  

Given the interest however, I want to be clear.  I had nothing to do with whatever efforts to try to use my name or public office to any end and if asked how I felt about this being done beforehand I would have objected.  My understanding is that the rally came together rather quickly during a time I was out of town and without access to internet.  If I do support something, I will say so.  This effort was around the rotation of the office of the Mayor.  As I said in my previous comments, I really do think it best for the community to move past this and focus forward.  I have no interest in further discussing the mayoral rotation, nor do I have interest in the Mayor position at all.

There are many actual issues that are important to the residents of Clayton and my focus is on city business that can make our town the best it can be. I’m glad the Stop AAPI Hate event that was organized was successful. That any person is able to express themselves and share their ideas is a testament to our country’s principles recognized and enshrined in the 1st amendment.

Monday, April 19, 2021

RHNA and the Lack of Judicial Review

Every eight years, the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) conducts a Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA), mandating that local jurisdictions plan and zone for a pre-determined number of housing units. Once that pre-determined number is approved by local planning agencies, cities have no recourse in debating its validity.

In January, the City discussed and sent a letter addressed to HCD regarding the latest RHNA allocation and methodology.  In that letter we identified areas where erroneous data and assumptions were used and we requested that HCD re-examine the RHNA figure allocated to ABAG and revise those figures.

Currently, cities and councils of government are unable to seek judicial review of HCD’s determination of existing and projected need for housing or the regional council of governments’ methodology to allocate the HCD’s housing need determination. If erroneous data or assumptions were relied on by HCD or a council of governments, cities have no legal recourse and could be unable to meet their housing allocations.

New proposed legislation, AB1258 introduced by Assembly Member Nguyen, would give cities the ability to request judicial review and seek the expertise and impartiality of the courts.  Currently AB1258 is not even set for a hearing in the Assembly Housing Committee as it is not part of state leadership’s housing package.  We as a city, ABAG as our local Council of Governments, and individuals should contact Assembly Member Nguyen to offer support so this bill may have a better chance of being brought forward.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Upcoming Council Meeting 4.20.21

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

  • Discuss adoption of City Council Priority Areas for the fiscal year ending June-2022.   In March we held a special meeting for a goal setting session.  The priority areas identified are those that came from that meeting and this action would recognize those priority areas.  This would not however actually rank the items in terms of priority, appropriate funds, or establish a mechanism to report on any of the priority items.  Each of those things would need to be done at a future date.  The five areas of priority that were identified were Land Use and Housing, Public Safety, Financial Stability, Quality of Life, and Good Governance.

  • Discuss inclusion of commercial properties with the city in the Golden State Financing Authority Property Assessed Clean Energy) PACE Program.  PACE programs, generally speaking, allow property owners to fund certain solar investments through property assessments.  This makes acquiring solar energy easier as commercial property owners, on a voluntary basis, could easily transfer the program financing upon sale of the property.  It also provides a different financing vehicle than might otherwise be available.  There is no risk to the city and in executing this type of arrangement we would also separately seek indemnification from the PACE provider.

Please let me know if you have thoughts or questions on the above.

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