Peter Cloven

Clayton website a key source of ­information for residents

Peter ClovenCLAYTON, CA (October 22, 2022) — As mayor, a primary goal of mine has been to make transparency a key focus of my term.

My past Pioneer articles have discussed issues that are important to our residents, including housing, budget and maintenance. City staff are encouraged to post items of importance regularly on social media platforms. They also make a concerted effort to present vital information on the front page of the city’s website,

Links to City Council and Planning Commission meeting agendas and video are available for review. I encourage all residents to watch the replays for themselves and draw their own conclusions. This is preferable to reading self-promoting summary opinions of council agendas and meetings on social media or blogs.

If you haven’t visited the city webpage recently, check out the “Buttons” on the front page. These allow easy access to “hot topic items” of importance to our community, some of which are discussed below.

Survey of voters

Polling data. Information from a city-hired polling company is available at the bottom of the city webpage, “Results of Survey of Clayton Voters Regarding Potential Tax Measure.” I believe we derived significant value from these results that provided clear direction to the City Council. It prevented wasteful spending of time and effort for a November tax initiative. Councilmember Jeff Wan once said if we all pitched in a little bit, a November 2022 tax measure would be “an easy argument to make … that would get widespread support.”

At a Feb. 1, 2022, council meeting, there was general unanimity among the council of a need for a parcel tax measure with an “escalator.” The discussion starts at 1:37 in the video replay of that meeting. However, May 2022 polling data clearly showed this year was not the year to do so. The data also showed a “trust” concern in the current council.

To be clear, the council has the collective experience to pass budgets and review cost cutting/revenue generating measures. However, the data suggested it would be prudent to find a “trusted” source to review structural deficits and communicate the need for future tax measures to residents (if necessary).

This finding was the impetus for my request to form a Citizens Financial Advisory Committee, which the council unanimously approved at the Oct. 4, 2022, meeting. I envision finding a group of “trusted” professionals with government, finance and accounting backgrounds that will act autonomously in their review of past and future city finances. In doing so, this group would inform citizens of their findings, devise possible solutions and advise the council, which will choose future actions based on the information provided. If you are interested in giving back to the city in this capacity, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Online interactive platform

Finances/budget. At staff’s request, the council approved Clayton’s use of a new software tool, ClearGov. This migrated the budgeting process from multiple, non-connected spreadsheets and final hard copy to an online interactive platform. Residents can access Clayton’s 2023 “Digital Budget Book” at the top of the front page of the city website. Residents can now view the intricacies of our city budget, where revenue is generated and how funds are spent.

Development/planning. City staff made tremendous efforts to inform residents and request input for the collaborative preparation of the draft Housing Element to submit to the state this year. After numerous social and print media efforts, select council members and a small group of resident volunteers took it upon themselves to hand deliver city-prepared informational door hangers to each of the 4,000+ homes of Clayton residents informing them of ways to give input in the planning process for 570 units of housing. Access to Clayton’s draft Housing Element is available on the front page of the city website.

Weekly city manager’s report. Residents can now keep up with the weekly efforts of the different department staff (e.g., community development, maintenance, engineering, police and city manager). I am continually amazed by the amount of work that gets done by our small but mighty staff. At my direction, the weekly report is now available at the bottom of the city website’s front page under “Current Issue: City Manager Report.”

As always, you can reach me at or 925-673-7320.