Supporting a Cause? or Political Opportunism?
An unfortunate dispute between 2 Clayton neighbors became an issue at last week’s City Council Meeting. An Asian American who recently moved to Clayton had a dispute with a neighbor who was flying a confederate flag. Flying this flag may be a 1st Amendment right, but it is indisputably a divisive symbol. In response, the Asian American neighbor exercised his 1st Amendment right and displayed some signs of his own.
Several years ago, a previous City Council passed a sign ordinance law that has since been repealed. Had this ordinance not been repealed, our Asian American neighbor would have been prevented from displaying his signs.
During that appeal process, current Planning Commissioner Bassam Altwal was vehemently opposed to repealing the sign ordinance, which was a bad law. Now, however, he’s a staunch supporter of this citizen’s right to display his signs. So, it looks like Mr. Atwal was against displaying signs before he was for it. Is he being a hypocritical political opportunist, or has he just changed his mind?
Well, let’s take a look. The Asian American neighbor has organized a rally this weekend against hatred of Asian Americans. As expected, the other political opportunists Vice Mayor Cloven, Mayor Wolfe and Councilmember Tillman all jumped in in unison to condemn the hatred of Asian Americans.
So, here’s a valid question: Why did these three individuals think former Vice Mayor (and current councilmember) Jeff Wan, an Asian American, was not suitable to be Mayor? Why did they instead decide that two white guys were more suitable to be Mayor and Vice Mayor? Jeff Wan received more votes than Wolfe did in that historic election, so why weren’t his supporters and the rest of Clayton given the opportunity to have their first Asian American Mayor?
At every council meeting since the election, the vile hatred of hypocrites Wolfe, Cloven and Tillman has been on full display. In addition to the whites-only power grab to push aside Jeff Wan, Clayton recently lost its Community Development Director, Matthew Feske, who is also an Asian American. It was recently learned that vile racist comments were made about Mr. Feske and Mr. Wan by a member of city government. At every Planning Commission meeting when Mr. Feske has been in attendance, endless complaints were lodged at him by Altwal.
In addition, Altwal decided to attack Councilmember Diaz this past week, because Mr. Diaz spoke only with the confederate flag neighbor and not with the Asian American neighbor. Had Altwal done any due diligence to ask a simple question “why” before opening his mouth with outrageous accusations, he would have discovered that the reason why Mr. Diaz spoke with the confederate flag neighbor was to ask him to take the flag down! Mr. Diaz was trying to deescalate the situation. By the way, Councilmember Diaz is the only minority who has ever served as mayor of Clayton. Altwal has verbally attacked Diaz many times before. Is Altwal racist towards Hispanics and Latinos?
And what about Councilmember Cloven, who is white, who not only worked to derail Jeff Wan from becoming Mayor, but he also worked with Altwal to derail Commissioner Frank Gavidia, who is also a minority (Hispanic/Latino), from becoming Vice Chair of the Planning Commission?
Jonathon Lee should exclude Cloven, Wolfe, Tillman and Altwal from his rally, as well as Commissioner Denslow, a white woman who has a history of using race for political gain, and who also exercised her white privilege when she cut in line ahead of Commissioner Gavidia for the Vice Chair position.
All of these moves against people of color by the very people who claim to be so virtuous in touting their inclusivity, are nothing more than political opportunists who play the optics game and pay lip service for political gain.
What have Cloven, Wolfe and Tillman done since they took power?
Our city is more divided than ever. Minorities in government have been denied the opportunity to lead. It’s an ongoing systemic problem. We have lost our Community Development Director. The recent Planning Commission meetings have been a circus and developer Seeno is going to sue this city and will most likely prevail. Creekside has been completely lost after the city spent so much money over 10 years. But they can all say they are “inclusive.” Peter Cloven and Bassam Altwal should both resign immediately. Their nasty brand of politics has tainted both the City Council and the Planning Commission.