Retiring mayor says it’s time to hit the trail

By Keith Haydon on December 3, 2018

Haydon, Keith mayor for websiteBy the time this is published, I will have completed my term as your mayor and the City Council will have selected a new mayor.

It has been a real honor and privilege to be chosen by my colleagues on the council to serve Clayton as mayor. I represented the town this past year at many events and ceremonies, such as the Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day services, dedications of Blue Star Mom Memorial Monuments to local fallen heroes at our high schools, the Fourth of July parade, Eagle Scout Courts of Honor and the monthly Mayors Conferences in various Contra Costa communities –  including hosting a Mayors Conference here in Clayton.

I’m proud of our community and I love promoting its many benefits, which include our popular summer concert series in the Grove park, our award-winning trail system and our picturesque, quaint Main Street, which looks especially inviting during our very popular community events.

As my term as mayor expires, I also voluntarily conclude my term of service on the City Council. I have truly enjoyed serving in a number of volunteer positions here in Clayton over the years, including on the original Clayton Trails Committee, the Planning Commission (for more than 16 years), the Clayton Business and Community Association executive board (as both president and VP twice), the Clayton Bocce League Committee, president of my homeowner’s association executive board (for 34 years) and the City Council.

One of my favorite assignments as a City Council member has been serving as Clayton’s representative on the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy Governing Board, with this last year as chair. The conservancy gives participating jurisdictions control over endangered species permitting, providing appropriate protection for endangered species, wetlands and waters, habitat restoration projects and acquiring biologically rich habitat for the conservancy’s growing Preserve System. The conservancy works closely with the East Bay Regional Park District and Save Mount Diablo on land acquisition opportunities and management of Preserve System land.

Upon retiring from my career as an attorney with AT&T in 2013, one of my goals was to complete my service to Clayton by being on the City Council. Now I’m now ready to move into a new phase in my life: trying to actually retire from both public service and business life to spend more time with family and friends, travel more and focus on personal and home projects that time has eluded.

Before closing, I want to clarify an election-related issue. This past election generated interest, and some confusion, about Clayton’s planning process for private development, particularly in our downtown area. It is worth noting that all proposed land use developments in Clayton follow a very prescribed public process that includes public hearings, discussions and decisions at both the Planning Commission and City Council levels and must adhere to local zoning and ordinance requirements, or obtain variances, which is also a very public process.

Acquisition of property does not give an owner an unlimited right to develop. Property owners must often received approval from the city for a specific plan following a very public process.

In closing, it has been a pleasure for me to serve our residents. I especially enjoyed working with the City Council and our excellent city staff.  In particular, I thank City Manager Gary Napper, who is a real asset to the city and the City Council. He uses his excellent, extensive public experiences to manage our city with a very personal devotion to support the best interests of our community.

I also thank all the volunteers that make Clayton the wonderful community it is, and I encourage others to volunteer and support our clubs, organizations and events so our community retains the friendly, small-town feel that attracted so many of us here and fosters that same image and experience into the future.

Best wishes for a good holiday season – and I’ll see you out and about on our trails and in our community.

Feel free to send comments to me at

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