Wednesday, January 18, 2023

My 1.17.23 Meeting Summary

Last night the Council met to discuss and take action on several significant items:

- We established an ad hoc committee for Energy Services & Infrastructure Renewal consisting of myself and Councilmember Trupiano.  This ad hoc committee will work with Climatec, the vendor we engaged with at our 10.18.22 meeting, in order to evaluate potential opportunities for energy savings and efficiency related projects.

- We adopted a resolution in support of Our Neighborhood Voices (ONV) - an organization that is trying to advance a ballot measure in 2024 as a constitutional amendment taking back local control over housing matters.  We heard from former mayor and current councilmember of the City of Lafayette, Susan Candell, who is one of the people sponsoring the initiative proposal.  ONV is a straightforward idea - if there is a conflict between state law and local law regarding housing related matters, then local law should prevail.  Because Sacramento continues to pass housing laws each year, fighting against all of them individually is ineffective.  Instead, the approach that ONV is taking is to change the rules so that Sacramento can no longer usurp local government and force them to do whatever it is the whims of Sacramento wants in their one size fits all approach.

ONV is trying to build grass roots support across all of California on the idea that Sacramento has not been successful in its efforts to reduce homelessness, provide affordable housing, and recognize local control.  So far, over 30 individual cities, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) which is the So. Cal equivalent of ABAG and represents 191 cities, California Contract Cities representing 80 cities, the South Bay Council of Governments representing 16 cities, over 200 individual city and county leaders, and over 25,000 individuals have already signed on in support of this movement.  I am glad to add the City of Clayton to that list.

While this effort is something that unequivocally supports and cements local control, something that all of my fellow Councilmembers purports to support, the vote to pass this resolution was 3-2, with myself, Vice Mayor Diaz, and Councilmember Trupiano voting affirmatively, and Councilmembers Cloven and Tillman voting no.  Both Councilmembers in opposition raised a combination of concerns that included that the language in the proposal was not yet finalized, the proposal may not yield a greater number of affordable housing units, and that at times local control could be wielded in unfavorable ways.  While I acknowledge that all of these are true, at the end of the day this proposal is about local control and every movement needs to start somewhere.  We, and all the other cities in the state, need to take a position and tell Sacramento that we value local control.

We may not be the tipping point, but I am glad that Clayton is able to join with others voicing our support of local control.

- We adopted the 6th Cycle Housing Element as required by law.  This is the product of over a year of effort from our Community Development Director, as well as the rest of city staff.  Because of their diligence, outreach, and community engagement, the process went very smoothly and our Community Development Director is to be commended.  The ultimate changes in zoning are reflected and discussed in my previous post for the 1.10.23 Special Meeting:  We did make changes to what was discussed at that meeting, but primarily around phrasing and wordsmithing, consistent with the what was discussed at the prior meeting.  Ultimately the increased zoning we adopted is as follows:

The units are spread out across the city:

- I'm also excited to announce that we appointed Ron Bernal as Interim City Manager to serve while we continue our search to replace the current City Manager who is leaving at the beginning of February.  When I learned that our current City Manager was leaving I reached out to a colleague who had worked for the city previously and inquired if they knew anyone who would be qualified for the interim role.  They recommended Mr. Bernal and we set up meetings to discuss the opportunity.  In talking about the role, it was clear that Mr. Bernal was well qualified, and brought extensive experience in local government most recently retiring from the City of Antioch as their City Manager. As Interim City Manager, Mr. Bernal will be able to manage day to day operations while we continue our search for a candidate to take on the permanent role.  Mr. Bernal has already begun meeting with city staff in order to effect the smoothest transition possible and I look forward to working with him.

- We formalized the working agreement with Clayton's Miscellaneous employees who have been working under a previously expired agreement.  The terms of the new agreement are largely unchanged so this was mostly a housekeeping matter.