A Message to the Clayton community from Chief Warren and Mayor Pierce

Clayton council candidates consider housing, racism and community spirit

Clayton council candidates consider housing, racism and community spirit
Tuija Catalano, Jim Diaz, Holly Tillman, Peter Cloven and Glenn Miller are all running for Clatyon city council.

Controlling high-density housing and maintaining Clayton’s small-town character are among the top concerns for the candidates running for City Council.

Newcomers Peter Cloven, Frank Gavidia, Glenn Miller and Holly Tillman have joined current council members Tuija Catalano and Jim Diaz in the race for the three open seats on Nov. 3. Councilwoman Julie Pierce, the town’s 2020 mayor, is not seeking reelection.

The Pioneer sent a questionnaire to all the candidates to gauge their opinions on key local issues, however, Gavidia did not return the questionnaire nor reply to requests for comment.

Taking on housing mandates

With Gov. Gavin Newsom requiring cities to provide more housing units – and likely denser housing plans – the candidates weighed in on how Clayton should handle future project proposals.

Miller advocates “pushing back” on state mandates because of the city’s small size, geographical features and locations. “However, for the few future opportunities that may exist, I believe the right and tested approach is a Planned Development approach.”

Cloven says the council needs to “combat unforeseen overreach by developers,” as he noted was the case in a recent proposal. “We must take control of future projects as much as possible through careful planning and keen following and review of state legislative mandates.” But, he would be “very wary choosing a path of litigation against the state relative to housing unless we had very solid legal footing.”

Tillman wants the council to hold developers responsible for listening and assessing community concerns. “By requiring maximum civic engagement, the council can ensure that all concerns have been addressed and/or mitigated,” she said, adding: “The cost-benefit of litigation against the likelihood of prevailing will definitely carry weight in any decision on development.”

Diaz believes Clayton should consider updating the Town Specific Plan and reviewing planning documents that provide guidance on state mandates. “Clayton can address state mandates and remain compatible with our small-town heritage.”

While Catalano doesn’t like the “one-size-fits-all approach” to high-density housing, she maintains that the council must comply with existing state laws. “But in terms of new state legislation, we need to find ways to advocate our perspectives effectively and constructively, and as much as possible be at the table instead of being on the menu.”

Combating racism

Tillman, co-founder of the new Clayton Speaks webinars on racism, has the strongest words of all the candidates on the issue. Noting that her family “has experienced racism numerous times in Clayton,” she says “we need to have real conversations and get to know each other instead of projecting our biases onto one another.”

Catalano, Cloven and Diaz all support the ongoing dialogue to create more awareness of racism in the community. Miller, however, does not believe Clayton has a problem with racism.

Envisioning the Clayton of tomorrow

As the candidates detailed what they see as the city’s biggest challenge and how each would address it, all spoke about retaining Clayton’s small-town vibe – especially in light of development pressures.

Diaz: “Clayton is nothing without a strong community spirit, regardless of cultural or political differences.”

Catalano: We need to foster community spirit, appreciate volunteers who contribute so much to this community and work together.”

Miller: “My goal long term would be to realize and achieve the vision of Clayton’s self-reliance, self-determination and fiscally responsible governance.”

Tillman: “I am committed to listening to the needs of the community through respectful, transparent dialogue and finding solutions together so we all have a voice shaping the future of Clayton.”

Cloven: “As Sacramento hands down more and more legislation to allow high-density housing and dilute local control, Clayton will and must continue to fight to keep its unique small-town, bucolic character.”

To read each candidate’s complete questionnaire, click on their photo below:

Tuija Catalano
Tuija Catalano
Peter Cloven
Peter Cloven
Jim Diaz
Jim Diaz
Clayton City Council candidate questions: Frank Gavidia
Frank Gavidia
Glen Miller
Holly Tillman
Holly Tillman