Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Yard Signs Are Here!

For everyone that already signed up to receive a yard sign, Thank you!  I'll be dropping them off after work throughout the week.  While signs don't vote, they are a great way to get the word out about my campaign.  Sharing and liking posts on Facebook, Nextdoor, and social media and talking with your local friends and neighbors are the best ways to spread the word.

If you'd like a sign, please sign up here:

Monday, August 29, 2022

My Key Issues in 2022

When I talk to people in Clayton about running for re-election, I've found people to be very supportive. They share their experience living in Clayton, how they feel about their city government, and what they'd like to see in the future.  I ran for office in 2018 because I felt the Council didn't listen to the residents of this city.  After serving for four years, I have done my best to listen and represent the interests of the people of Clayton.  Even though at times I have been in the minority and not been successful in persuading my fellow Councilmembers, I felt it important to state my position and ensure that point of view was represented on this Council.

So why am I running for re-election and what do I want to do as a member of the Council? I still feel that I can make a difference.  My priorities haven't changed all that much, though they have been refined:

Public Safety – Nothing is more important and I’m grateful that we live in a town that is able to enjoy our parks and trails, have kids able to walk and play, and have a community that comes together to support one another.  I’m proud to have lead efforts to bolster traffic and pedestrian safety around our schools – negotiating for an additional crossing guard at the elementary school and updating the crosswalk and interactive traffic signals outside the middle school – both at the request of the schools themselves.  I’m proud to support our police and the fine work they do and I will continue to support them even through the fiscal challenges the city faces.

Quality of life – We all came to Clayton for different reasons, but high among the list is the great qualify of life that is afforded to us.  This means maintaining property values, keeping our schools desirable, and maintain the wonderful amenities available like our trails and parks.  As we face financial challenges, we need to prioritize the things that add the most value, be more efficient with our resources, and really assess what is important to focus on and what is not.  There are many areas that we can make changes to in order to preserve the great quality of life we all enjoy, while being more responsible with the resources we have.

Fiscal Sustainability – Deficit spending should be reserved for extraordinary times.  As a city we need to live within our means.  Before any tax increase is considered, the city should do everything in its power to reduce expenses and increase efficiencies – raising taxes should be an absolute last resort.  Properly prioritizing means using the limited resources of the city in the most efficient and effective way possible. There are many areas that we can make changes to in order to preserve the great quality of life we all enjoy, while being more responsible with the resources we have.

Transparency in Government – People should understand why their representatives vote the way they do.  Unfortunately the city has become less transparent over the past four years – the minutes for meetings do not convey the rationale for what actually happened, and most members of the Council only rarely publicly share their views on why they took certain actions. Instead, people are forced to watch hours long videos in order to hear the thoughts of their representatives. That is why communication is such a key part of my campaign. 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. I have and will continue to commit to providing summaries and commentary for every meeting and significant action this council takes. It is critical for an engaged community to be able to understand what is happening, ask questions, and expect answers.

Every action of the council should support one of those priorities and if elected these will be my focus.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

I'm Running for Re-Election This November

I am incredibly grateful to the people of Clayton who have allowed me to serve as their Councilmember over the last four years. I am an active CPA working in private industry, the Treasurer of my small HOA, an East Bay native, and a Clayton resident for the past 13 years.

It has been a great experience meeting and talking to folks around town and doing my best to represent my fellow Claytonians. While I am only one of five Councilmembers, I’m proud to have shepherded quality of life improvements at Regency and Rialto, improvements to traffic and pedestrian safety near our schools, and helped increase transparency in communications and community engagement. I am running for re-election to ensure the Council listens to the residents they represent and to preserve the character and charm of our city.  We need strong organizational leadership for Clayton to continue to be a wonderful place to live and raise a family.

Currently the city’s biggest challenge is fiscal sustainability. This Council has refused to make any cuts to address our budget shortfalls. Choosing deficit spending rather than reducing expenditures has exacerbated the problem. If we do not reduce our expenses the majority on the Council will try to raise your taxes.

We need solutions that address our structural issues without increasing the tax burden on our residents. If elected, I hope the people of Clayton allow me to use my voice and experience in private industry to make the changes needed to balance our budget while continuing to provide the services that make Clayton a wonderful place to live and raise a family.

If you haven't already, please sign up for updates.  While I will continue to post regarding the actions of the Council, I will also be posting updates on my ideas and what we can do as a city.  I know I will need help and will ask for it shortly so please stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

8.16.22 Meeting Summary

Last night the Council met to discuss a few significant items:

- We designated Councilmember Cloven and Tillman to be the League of California Cities voting delegate and alternate, respectively, for the upcoming annual conference being held in early September.  The conference is in Long Beach and will require travel, lodging, and registration.  I inquired as to who pays the fees and both Cloven and Tillman indicated they would cover their own costs and not seek reimbursement.

- We approved a resolution of intention to form a Community Facilities District (HOA) for the Diablo Meadows development at the southern end of Mitchell Canyon Rd.  This 18 unit development was approved last year and is expected to begin selling somewhere around the end of September.  It is typical to establish HOAs for new developments to ensure that the residents bear the cost of the ongoing maintenance and infrastructure.  The city acts as a backstop for certain stormwater related costs if the HOA is unable to do so, as required.

- We reviewed a list of outstanding and completed council request items.

In addition to the above, I had further discussion regarding the $1,600/day fee to run the fountain as was indicated in the prior meeting.  I was skeptical of this figure and asked the City Manager about the source of this figure.  It turns out that staff had estimated a figure several years ago and the $1,600 figure was that same amount inflation adjusted.  Given there is no evidence present to support the original estimate, I suggested it would be prudent to get actual data to see if that is an accurate number. I let the City Manager know that in the budget documents for the FY21 year, there are notes that indicate the cost for the fountain to be an additional $160/day.  There is no indicated basis for that figure either.  We discussed a plan to get better info and I look forward to getting the results.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Upcoming Council Meeting 8.16.22

There are a few significant items we will be discussing at our next meeting:

- We will be discussing the designation of a voting delegate and alternate for the League of California Cities 2022 annual conference being held September 7 through 9.

- We will discuss the establishment of a Community Facilities District (HOA) for the Diablo Meadows Project development at the southern end of Mitchell Canyon Rd.

- We will discuss the current open and completed Council request items for prioritization

If you have any thoughts or questions on the above, please let me know.

Monday, August 8, 2022

8.2.22 Meeting Summary

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wasn't able to attend the 8.2.22 Council meeting, however I did watch the replay and wanted to give an update.  There were a few significant items discussed:

- A discussion of the schedule for the operation of the fountain was discussed.  Currently there are 15 days of operation per year, mostly aligning with federal holidays and some events in town.  The discussion was around adding scheduled days - Juneteenth to continue alignment with federal holidays and September 11th in recognition of the tragic events of that day.  During the discussion it was shared that the approximate cost of running the fountain was in the neighborhood of $1,600/day.  The Council voted 4-0 approving the additional days of operation.

- A discussion of the library lease and service agreement between the City and Contra Costa County.  The last formal agreement was in 1995.  The new agreement is in line with the County's efforts to standardize library services throughout the county and Clayton has effectively been operating under the newer terms since July 1, 2021.  This agreement formalizes what has already been operationalized.  The Council voted to approve the agreement 4-0.

- A discussion regarding the use of Endeavor Hall by the Clayton Community Theatre Company.  Historically the city has offered discounts in order to enable certain arts programs.  By providing a deep discount on the rental rate of the facilities, the productions are able to continue.  Without this discount, the Clayton Theatre Company would be unlikely to be able to continue.  The Council adopted the agreement to continue the historical discount for the use of Endeavor Hall 4-0, with a commitment to discuss city wide fee structures at a future meeting.