Clayton City Council candidate questions: Jim Diaz

The Concord Clayton Pioneer newspaper presented a list of questions to the candidates running for Clayton City Council in the 2020 election. To read other candidate answers, click here. For our story on all the candidates running in this race, click here.

Jim DiazJim Diaz

Why are you running for the City Council? I am seeking reelection to keep Clayton’s small-town feel through fiscally sound and conservative actions and meeting civic needs in keeping with a balanced budget. Not to overrun it with large development.

What are your professional/personal qualifications? Small business owner, current City Council member and former mayor, former executive (retired) with AT&T, former chief executive of the California State Bureau of Security & Investigative Services, former police lieutenant with Clayton Police Department/Reserve Division.

How long have you been a resident? 41 years.

What other civic positions have you held? Current City Council member, mayor in 2017, former member of Clayton Planning Commission, former police lieutenant with Clayton Police Department/Reserve Division, chaired the Clayton subcommittee that led to the reopening of Fire Station No. 11.

What experience do you have that qualifies you for the City Council? I have been involved with the city of Clayton since moving here in 1979 – first with the Police Department and Planning Commission and then elected to the City Council in 2012. I have been a member of the Clayton Business & Community Association (CBCA) since 1998 and have chaired/co-chaired the Art & Wine Festival and Clayton Classic Golf Tournament.

Do you believe Clayton has a problem with racism that needs to be addressed? If so, how would you address the issue? Clayton is not a racist community. Racism in all forms is wrong. However, awareness of racism is essential in every community. I supported the Proclamation Against Hate and the Proclamation Condemning Racism as a reaffirmation of what I know our community stands against. I also support the community dialogue that is underway through the Clayton Ad Hoc Public Safety Committee.

The governor has made the housing crisis a No. 1 priority for the state. Cities are being mandated to provide more housing units than has been required in the past, and it’s likely yet even denser housing plans will be required in the future. How should Clayton address these mandates? Clayton should consider updating the Town Specific Plan. Additionally, Clayton should review our other planning documents that provide guidance of how to address state mandates that are often unrealistic. These plans have not been formally reviewed by the City Council in several years. Clayton can address state mandates and remain compatible with our small-town heritage.

Clayton has historically been very fiscally conservative with a limited budget. What are your spending priorities in keeping with a commitment to a balanced budget? Remaining fiscally sound and conservative, given our challenges with Clayton’s size, location and limited sales tax base – living within our means – must be our highest priority. We have very little margin to maintain our current needs and provide for future services. Anyone not committed to this priority should not be involved in guiding Clayton’s future.

What do you see as the single biggest challenge for the city going into 2021? We must strive to keep our small-town commitment and sense of community purpose in the face of ongoing, unfunded state mandates being forced onto local communities. Clayton is nothing without a strong community spirit, regardless of cultural or political differences.

What is your vision for Clayton in the next four years? Long term? Keeping Clayton’s small-town feel for the next four years and into the future.

What role will you play in realizing that vision? Through open-minded engagement with our community. Hear people out respectfully and continue to be outspoken and an advocate for our values. Nothing good happens by itself.