New chief brings county experience to Clayton job

By Keith Haydon on March 5, 2018

Haydon, Keith mayor for websiteThe most exciting news that occurred in Clayton since my last column is the swearing in of Elise Warren as the new chief of police at the Feb. 20 City Council meeting.

After Warren was sworn in, her daughter performed the ceremonial pinning of the police chief’s badge on her uniform to seal the appointment. The council also recognized interim chief Joseph Kreins for his service and leadership.

Many members of the Clayton Police Department and the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department attended Warren’s swearing-in ceremony, and the council took a “Cake Break” to celebrate the occasion.

After serving in the Sheriff’s Department for more than 28 years, Warren has extensive public safety experience and contacts in the county that we expect will be valuable assets in her new role leading our Police Department.

More on the Planning Commission

To continue the description that I started last month on how our city operates, I want to finish the details of the Planning Commission’s role in local government. In addition to the statutory responsibilities explained last month, the commission is also an advisory body to the City Council. The board reviews and approves proposed construction projects, and recommends revisions to town ordinances and plans to the City Council.

The City Council appoints the five members to overlapping two-year terms, with a limit of serving no more than four consecutive terms. Several terms of office typically end each June 30.

A dose of TLC

The City Council also appoints members of the Trails and Landscape Committee (TLC), which is comprised of up to 11 residents who also serve two-year terms. The TLC provides input and general guidance to the City Council and staff regarding priorities of the current and future needs of Clayton’s Landscape Maintenance District.

With the passing of Measure H in 1997, Clayton voters approved this district to provide special parcel tax revenues for the maintenance of public roadway landscaping, open space and trail system improvements within the city.

District responsibilities do not, however, include city parks. Those landscaping and maintenance needs are funded by the city’s General Fund or the special District for the Grove park.

The TLC reviews conditions of the Landscape Maintenance District’s landscaping, trails and open space and recommends to the City Council operations and projects that should be considered within the allocated budget. The TLC also advises the City Council and staff regarding the care, maintenance, repair, replacement and improvement of the district’s assets.

The TLC annually reviews the proposed district budget revenue and expenditures to ensure that district revenue collected is spent on projects and services that fall within the district. It then presents an annual report to the City Council regarding the district’s activities and financial status.

The TLC’s latest annual report identified two major projects planned for implementation in 2018: the removal of 18 large eucalyptus trees that pose a threat to structures near open space areas, and the repair and/or replacement of the raised planter boxes on Main Street, to include irrigation systems and electrical conduits.

Speaking of trails, I suggest that you take advantage of the nice spring weather to get outside and use Clayton’s excellent trails as a great, low-cost exercise option. Remember that Clayton’s leash law, and picking up after your dogs, also applies to dogs on the trails for the safety of your dogs and other trail users and their dogs, too. And help us keep our trails clean and natural looking by picking up any trash.

I hope you find this information about how our city operates interesting and that it may even encourage you to get more involved in civic affairs. For more information on volunteering for appointment to the Planning Commission or the TLC, contact City Hall at 925-673-7300, or visit 6000 Heritage Trail in Clayton.

I look forward to sharing more information about Clayton items and activities in upcoming issues.

Feel free to send comments to me at

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