At their July 17, 2018 meeting, the Clayton City Council UNANIMOUSLY approved an ordinance which would allow parolee housing in multiple locations in Clayton–including sites within 1000 feet of Mt. Diablo Elementary School, multiple child day care facilities and/or city parks.
Led by Mayor Keith Haydon, council members Julie Pierce, Tuija Catalano and Jim Diaz (councilman/Vice Mayor David Shuey was absent), heard but seemingly disregarded and rejected the concerns of citizens voiced during the “Public Comments” section of the meeting–many of which proposed and requested other options–and then adopted this ordinance without modification. No citizen spoke in favor of the ordinance that was adopted.
Significantly, in adopting the ordinance as presented, the council rejected options which included: a) A ban on parolee housing in Clayton; and b) A more restrictive measure which would have increased the “safe zone” around parolee housing units.
In rejecting the “ban” option, the City Council cited concerns of inviting litigation which could stem from the adoption of an outright ban–including potential lawsuits from the State of California and the ACLU. However, as was made clear in during the meeting, at least two other cities in California have banned parolee housing (both over 10 years ago) and neither have suffered any legal consequences to date. Further still, when pressed, Clayton City Attorney Malathy “Mala” Subramanian admitted that there is currently no legal precedent on this issue so, even if the ACLU or State would file suit against Clayton, there is no guarantee or indication they would prevail.
As for the “more restrictive” option, City Attorney Subramanian opined that, because of the small size of Clayton and the locations of the various schools and other protected areas, increasing the “safe zone” radius to only 1000 feet would create a “de facto ban”–which she believes could also invite litigation. Bear in mind that 1000 feet is the approximate length of two “average” city blocks (and is the radius adopted by multiple other cities in their ordinances)–so our City Attorney questions her ability to defend the same ordinance/restriction adopted by other cities which would require parolee housing to be at least two blocks away from a school, child daycare facility or public park.
These are the people charged with protecting the interests and safety of Clayton. Draw your own conclusions…
– Brian Buddell