Digging into issues surrounding City Council election

By Keith Haydon on October 8, 2018

Haydon, Keith mayor for websiteWith the City Council election less than a month away, I want to focus on issues raised by this important vote.

Two council positions are up for election, and there are four candidates. City Councilman and Vice Mayor David “Shoe” Shuey is running for reelection, with Planning Commissioner Carl “CW” Wolfe hoping to step up to the City Council and residents Brian Buddell and Jeff Wan also running for seats.

Residents have asked me how candidates qualify to run for a City Council position, how the election campaign process works and about recent development issues downtown. In case you had similar questions, I will share some of these questions and responses with you:

Q. What are the qualifications for a candidate to run for the Clayton City Council?
A. A candidate must be a resident of the city of Clayton, complete and file an election packet that includes a nominating petition signed by at least 20 qualified, registered Clayton voters and pay the necessary filing fees.

Q. How does a potential candidate gain experience to run for the City Council?
A. Actual experience in an official city position, such as serving on the Planning Commission or Trails and Landscape Committee, is not required to run for the City Council. However, I highly recommend it because it would help candidates gain more knowledge about how Clayton’s city government operates under state and local laws. Being active in any of Clayton’s many volunteer groups and organizations would also be helpful to learn about local issues, concerns and interests on the minds of other residents who volunteer their time and efforts for the benefit of the entire Clayton community.

Q. The City Council election appears to be quite contentious this year. Are there any guidelines on how the City Council campaigning is to be conducted?
A. There is a Code of Fair Campaign Practices agreement that City Council candidates are asked, but not required, to sign and follow. This agreement commits the candidate to conduct a campaign following the basic principles of decency, honesty and fair play and not to use any dishonest or unethical practices. The candidate also agrees to immediately and publicly repudiate support derived from any individual or group that uses tactics that the candidate condemns. I understand that three candidates submitted signed agreements. I encourage you to find out if candidates have signed and are following the agreement.

Q. There seems to be some confusion about whether the City Council supported, or approved, an assisted-living/memory care facility and a three-story, high-density housing unit downtown. What is the status of these development ideas?
A. Two concept ideas were submitted to the city over the past year for an assisted-living/memory care facility on the large, vacant lot owned by the city between the church property on Main Street and Clayton Road. Each developer conducted further extensive analyses, one of which included holding public/community meetings. The City Council encouraged this to gauge public reaction. After this research, each developer decided not to finalize any plan. No formal proposal was ever submitted to the city for staff processing and critique, and no proposal was set for public hearing before the Planning Commission or City Council.

Meanwhile, a private property owner has submitted renderings for a three-story, high density housing project on land behind the Post Office. The Community Development Department has the renderings, but no plans have been finalized and nothing has been submitted to the Planning Commission or City Council for public review.

The Planning Commission and City Council have not taken any official action on either of these two ideas. Should any proposal be formally submitted to the Community Development Department and critiqued by city staff, the Planning Commission and City Council would conduct thorough evaluations, including obtaining public input via noticed public hearings, before ruling on such proposals.

Meanwhile, the Diablo Valley Chapter of the League of Women Voters conducted a Candidate’s Forum on Sept. 24, with all four candidates in attendance. Each candidate had an opportunity to answer questions on a variety of topics. The Clayton branch of the American Association of University Women and the Clayton Community Library Foundation co-sponsored the forum.

Residents can view the forum on the city’s website at ci.clayton.ca.us. Look under the City Council tab, then Live Streaming, City Council Meeting Archive for the Sept. 24 forum.

I hope you enjoy the change in our weather to our mild fall climate, and I encourage you to take advantage of Clayton’s excellent trail system to enjoy our beautiful setting at the foot of Mt Diablo.

I look forward to sharing more information about Clayton items and activities with you in upcoming issues. Feel free to send comments to me at khaydon@ci.clayton.ca.us.

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