Let’s examine the path of the current city council—especially over the past several months:
- Through their actions and inactions, this City Council has created a division among the citizens of Clayton, the likes of which I have never seen (here or anywhere). Regardless of your position on any of the issues, the existence of that division is an indisputable fact. One of the qualities of good leadership is to UNITE rather than DIVIDE—and the current City Council has shown not only a complete inability to unite the citizens of Clayton but has also shown an inability (or apathy) towards healing that divide—so, if you want to continue down that path of division, by all means, keep the status quo and vote for the “establishment” candidates, David Shuey and CW Wolfe.
- This current City Council has also demonstrated a complete unwillingness to reach out and/or listen to what the community wants. All pleas (and there have been many) for the Council to hold town hall meetings or similar forums which would allow the public to present their concerns in an informal and interactive method have been ignored and emails and telephone calls to council members go unanswered (and usually unacknowledged). Both are indisputable facts. Instead, this council provide only the bare minimum required by law: mandated public hearings for proposals and the allotted 3 minutes each citizen gets to express their concerns at a City Council meeting—assuming of course citizens are able to take the time out of their schedules (late on a Tuesday night) to attend AND are willing to face the public disrespect, scorn, eye-rolling and smirks from city council members if they happen to present an idea that the council members don’t agree with. So, if you want to continue to not have a voice that will be heard or respectfully listened to by this City Council (and Planning Commission), by all means, stay on that path and vote for Mr. Shuey and Mr. Wolfe.
- During the tenure of this City Council (and especially over the last year-and-a-half) we have seen an influx of proposals from developers who wish to build high density and/or huge multi-story structures in and around our downtown area. That is an indisputable fact and the Fulcum and Jordan proposals are clear examples. While this could be chalked up to “coincidence,” a better explanation would be that developers have identified the current City Council and Planning Commission (either on their own or through the efforts/solicitations of city leaders) as sympathetic and welcoming of such development within Clayton. Those efforts included a unanimous 5-0 vote by the City Council approving an exclusive negotiation agreement with Fulcrum development and it was only through an uprising of the people of Clayton that Fulcrum was sent packing. Now, only a few months later, battle lines are being drawn over the Jordan development—following the passage of multiple zoning variances to accommodate that project and there are secret negotiations going on for the sale of another downtown property (the scope of which has not yet been revealed to the citizens). So, if you want to continue to continue down the path of being kept in the dark about proposals and then having to engage in fight after fight—just to preserve the character of our town, by all means, vote for Mr. Shuey and Mr. Wolfe.
- Speaking of those development projects (and this somewhat goes back to point #2 above), finding out about the existence and details of these projects has required research that would challenge a historian at the Library of Congress. Instead of openly providing the community/public with a heads-up of an upcoming issue that may be of importance, such matters are buried within the agendas of City Council and/or Planning Commission meetings—some of which were scheduled at the end of the year or during the holiday season when people are usually distracted with other things going on with their lives. So, if you want to continue down the path of regularly having to fight and search for information that impacts your life (so you can voice an opinion that will likely be ignored), by all means, vote for Mr. Shuey and Mr. Wolfe.
- The current City Council has recently demonstrated a complete inability to competently and timely deal with incredibly important issues. The prime example of this is the parolee housing issue. The need for action on that issue has been known since 2016—when the City Council was put on notice of it and, in response, passed a two-year moratorium to allow it time to further consider the issue. Given that parolee housing is an issue that would affect every single resident of Clayton (in the form of safety, allocation of public resources and/or home values), it is one of the most important (if not THE most important) issue facing Clayton since it became a city. Despite that importance, this City Council and its staff literally waited until the last possible moment to address it. By doing so, they were forced to rely on erroneous and incomplete research/data that was compiled by city staff which has resulted in a proposed ordinance that does not protect all the citizens/children of Clayton but now “has to be passed” because of the impending deadline. Oh, and what has the City Council been doing for the past two years that has distracted them from dealing with this issue? Well, there have been a number “important meetings” attended my councilmembers in locations like Orlando, Florida (at taxpayer expense, of course) and a number of other things the importance of which pales in comparison to the parolee housing issue. So, if you want to continue to have a City Council that places attending boondoggle “workcations” above protecting your safety, by all means, keep the status quo by voting for Mr. Shuey and Mr. Wolfe.
- If you want at least two city council members who will place a priority on keeping you informed by regularly providing announcements of important upcoming issues/votes (instead of forcing you to find out about it on your own), vote for change by electing Brian Buddell and Jeff Wan.
- If you want at least two council members who will regularly provide a means for your voice to be heard via town hall meetings and other informal community get-togethers to discuss important issues (and YOU get to decide what is “important”)—and then vote according to what YOU want, vote for change by electing me (I can only refer to myself in the third person for so long) and Jeff Wan.
- If you want at least two council members who will evaluate all proposed developments in Clayton with a view towards keeping the small-town, non-urban-sprawl character of Clayton that we all love, vote for me and Jeff Wan.
- If you want at least two city council members who will ALWAYS place the safety of Clayton as their TOP priority—even if it means possibly taking on the State and/or other entities to do so (with the approval of the people, of course), vote for me and Jeff Wan.
As I see it, there are two distinct paths from which to choose in this election—it’s all a matter of how you want to define “successful.”
If you want to define it as having to simultaneously fight your own City Council on a regular basis to preserve your safety and rights and have your voice heard—while also fighting off developers who want to make big bucks by changing Clayton into the next Walnut Creek, Concord or (God forbid) Antioch, your vote should clearly be to preserve the status quo by voting for David Shuey and CW Wolfe.
Alternatively, if you want to define it as having city council members who will function as a true extension of the voice/will of the citizens and who will work as advocates and protectors of that voice/will (and without having to be pounded into doing so via multiple ND posts and fiery public comments at City Council meetings) then change is needed and that path is to vote for Brian Buddell and Jeff Wan (I know, another third person reference to myself…).
Indeed, the choice is clear and it is yours (and everyone else’s) to make.
– Brian Buddell