New Council Installed, Silva Is The New Mayor

Two newcomers and one incumbent took their seats Tuesday night, and Mayor Cindy Silva announced her monthly tours of Walnut Creek.

The latest version of the Walnut Creek City Council was put in place Tuesday night, including two new members and a new mayor.

Newcomers Loella Haskew and Justin Wedel both won seats in November, as did incumbent Bob Simmons. All three were sworn in by City Clerk Suzie Martinez as spouses, family members and well-wishers looked on.

Simmons then took the floor and thanked city staff for their efforts during his year as mayor.

“It’s generally been a pretty good year for Walnut Creek,” Simmons said. “We started four years ago in a deep economic abyss. The opening of Neiman Marcus nine months ago signaled the start of our emerging from the deepest recession in the last 80 years. We now have a downtown vacancy ate of less than five percent.”

He also noted the approval of several multi-family home projects, which he said would provide housing for people who can’t afford a single-family home, older people who want to stay in Walnut Creek but don’t want the upkeep of a larger home, and those who want to live in an urban environment.

He also gave a nod to the second-hand smoke ordinance now in the works, and the installation of two floating islands at Heather Farm Park.

With that, Simmons called for the selection of a new mayor. Kristina Lawson nominated councilwoman Cindy Silva, Haskew seconded and the vote was unanimous, followed closely by the selection of Lawson as Mayor Pro Tem.

Silva said 2013 will be a “challenging but exciting year.”

She said one of the challenges will be providing “sustainable funding for quality of life programs, from open space to libraries, to arts programs and services for children and seniors.”

Planning will soon begin on the 2014 celebration of Walnut Creek’s 100 year anniversary, an effort which Lawson will lead.

When a new mayor is selected, they announce a year-long special initiative. Silva announced her special program for the year, the Second Saturday Spotlight, which will feature tours of “hidden city assets” on the second Saturday of each month. The first one, on Jan. 12, will be a behind-the-scenes tour of the Lincoln exhibit at the Walnut Creek Library. Other events will include a backstage tour of the Lesher Theater, a visit to the city’s corporation yard, and other rarely-traveled locales. 

Jojo Potato December 08, 2012 at 03:52 PM
One more time with feeling December 09, 2012 at 10:58 PM
We moved here 30 years ago because Walnut Creek was a safe place. It still is, save for the every-weekend downtown brawls. As with any relatively dense population, we have our share of domestic disputes, burglaries/robberies and various other public safety issues. The public schools - Walnut Creek School District or Mt Diablo School District schools with Walnut Creek addresses - were & continue to be very good. Proximity to BART & freeways are beneficial for many reasons. The following were & are NOT reasons to move here: City subsidized County Library (we twice voted no on bonds & told we could not afford) City subsidized County Library coffee shop Lesher Center (needs to be self sustaining, not a tax-drain) Visiting Actors' house on Glenhaven Downtown retail Transit Village (BART proximity is good but Avalon is a failure. We are about to follow Walnut Creek North BART Station's lead) More traffic (from high density housing on Ygnacio) Every-weekend night downtown brawls Ugly City-subsidized storage units at Liberty Bell Plaza Cindy's quote in the article: “sustainable funding for quality of life programs, from open space to libraries, to arts programs and services for children and seniors.” We don't have a revenue problem - we have a spending problem. Nothing about Public Safety. Chief Bryden announced his retirement a few weeks ago. Nothing on starting the search/selection process for a replacement. Is Cindy planning to shutter WCPD?
michael frederick December 10, 2012 at 09:28 AM
Earth to former Mayor: What we haven't "emerged" from is a city controlled by ding-bats who flush tens of millions when confronting "the deepest recession in the last 80 years" ... As you can see by the collection of open space, art, and library nuts our new Mayor seeks to preferentially serve -- at everything else's expense, particularly reason -- they're still prevalent. There are names to describe someone who equates the policing needs of a REGIONAL DESTINATION to the per capita policing needs of Antioch. We call such a person either "Ms. Regalia", "Goofy", or now "Mayor." Does Disneyland have no security to match their zero residents? When I hear a Mayor celebrating "5 percent" vacancy, where it historically is under 1%, I can't help but wonder about the value he brings to orchestrating redevelopment of the western half of the city. That doesn't appear promising, going forward, does it? I'm not optimistic about any of the self-serving spins our recent Mayor provided. I am optimistic that the inclusion of people like Wedel will make for reduced capability for a little in-bred group at City Hall to make and present goofy stuff, as above, for the consumption of the most infirm and least knowledgable -- as if their anemic, self-centered, perspective should govern. That, hopefully, will inspire more thoughtful public participation -- so dingbat coronations aren't the exclusive domain of "spouses, family members and well-wishers" ... while 70,000 others yawn.
David P December 11, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Michael - I would think that the holiday season would lighten your contempt, at least for a little while, of City Hall. It also appears that some things do not change: You shoot from the Lip! You are rude to people on here (and I presume also in person) and call them names. That is just not right! This is bullying, and it should not be tolerated in ANY forum. As is often the case, your caustic comments are not appreciated. You can say the same thing in a different manner; look around as many others are able to do it. Happy Holidays to Everyone! With so much affecting our city, state, country and world right now, maybe we should be grateful for while.
Bob Brittain December 11, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Despite the disrepect and rudeness of a very few, we live in a wonderful community served by many fine public servants and volunteers. I agree with David that bullying is not tolerable. Intelligent and respectful dissent should be the alternative for those disagreeing with public policies. This is a time of year for renewal and tolerance. I wish everyone the best in the coming year.
michael frederick December 11, 2012 at 08:50 AM
David P. and Library Bob, Am I "bullying" your poor little Council? It is not "bullying" to hold public officials and their appointees publicly accountable. That misperception, in no small measure, is why I hold your appointment in contempt. Your pathetic whining over etiquette is OK, if one is John Q. Public. It isn't, if one is upheld with FALSE credentials as a knowledgable commissioner. What's the record for "intelligent and respectful dissent" in WC, Library Bob? When the public asked why your library plan was 50% more expensive than your Santa Clara model, what was your answer? We're past "intelligent and respectful" because your ilk has shown no ability to deal with it, gracefully. You want to address issues intelligently -- DO IT!!! Here they are, again: 1. Discretionary spending of $20-30M in the face of the worst recession in 80 years is a good idea because ... 2. WC police staffing reflects Antioch per capita police spending because ... 3. 5% vacancy, in an area with historic 1% rates, is outstanding because ... 4. The fact only Ralph Hoffmann commented on Patch about the Council debate doesn't reflect the level of WC public apathy surrounding this City Hall because ... Dig in, boys. Show everyone that Council commission appointments are on merit and not simply on the whiny advocacy you provide. Put down something intelligent, so the public can sense there's something downtown capable of dealing with such.
One more time with feeling December 11, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Bob, I love when we agree! I have every confidence that the Maxwell's felt bullied http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-135358461/eminent-domain-cannot-used.html I know I did after the Library was built after two failed bond measure and promises from the (then) City Managers (Parness and Pokorney) telling the City Council we could not afford that project. Or after the state turned down our grant request three times - and yet our tax dollars paid for the vast majority of the project. Then there were the layoffs of 30 City employees... Bullying? indeed. I agree "we live in a wonderful community served by many fine public servants and volunteers", citizens and visitors. It is the others I want to apologize to us and leave City Hall.
Julie Jepsen-Grant December 11, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Can anyone explain to me why the Library Foundation doesn't raise the $1.5 million per year to fund their library? How about a program where, let's say, Las Lomas students who are interested in the library sciences worked at the library to keep it open those extra hours? These student employees could be building community and experience. Win-win. I am sure this library (where will the money come from) discussion would end if the Board of Directors at the Foundation would put their heads together and started thinking outside the box. And if the Foundation made MORE than needed per year, then there could be raises or bonuses for the employees who work for the non-profit Foundation. Win-win. Why keep telling the general population (or property owners) that we have to continue to pay.
michael frederick December 12, 2012 at 09:20 PM
***Council appointed commissioners*** Powell and Brittain, It is my contention that people who are INCAPABLE of commenting upon public matters should not be granted authority to rule on them. Likewise, one has to question a Council that routinely rejects WC literate applicants to select WC illiterate ones. As the two of you aspire to be recognized as WC's answer to Amy Vanderbilt, I think it is the height of rudeness to drop your declarative garbage in public, before scurrying back into your respective holes. Although, I do appreciate this portends a short and mild winter... You were asked four questions of obvious WC concern. Your respective needs to personally boot-lick are no excuse for avoidance, just as decision making downtown is a public concern and not your private one. "Name calling" and "bullying" does not begin to describe substantiated opinions I would be happy to elaborate on, just as you should. You are a city representative, not a third-grader. Act like it. By the way, Mr. Brittain, I would like to put your commentary regarding my residency into perspective. Not unlike many thousands in WC, the fact you reside in the city is directly attributable to the fact your patch of dirt was owned by my family. I'm not impressed with your knowledge of your own neighborhood, much less the city. Those capable of commenting aren't the "bullies" you slander them as -- they just have the relevant input you two need to discount and avoid.
Bob Brittain December 12, 2012 at 10:26 PM
@ MF - For the record, I have not been a City Commissioner since early 2010 but I'm sure you will continue your vile personal attacks anyway. It's just your method of operation. This is the first time I've been identified as illiterate, for example. I guess my career as a PhD chemist was a fluke.
One more time with feeling December 12, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Hi Bob and David P! Could you provide a little clarification, please? When the voting *public* decided that two bond measures to fund the Library project would not pass and there was no provision in either bond measure to do the project anyway... who, exactly, violated "public policy"? When two City Managers advised the City Council that the City could not afford to do this project without the aforementioned bonds and the Library project proceeded against both City Manager's reports and recommendations, who, exactly, "violated" public policy? I'd like answers to these and other questions we've been asking for WAY too long - that historically results in cricket chirps from those who *should* answer. One reason I get rude, caustic, belligerent or appear to be bullying is because I have been on the receiving end for WAY too long. The two remaining behavior options are to mirror the bully or be a speed bump. Please consider the actions of the organization of which you are a part, represent and defend. The reaction of most outsiders is apathy. Most of my neighbors can't name the mayor or other City Council members. Most of my neighbors believe the Library project was mostly funded by donations. You should be thankful for the passion and willingness from the few who provide a knowledgeable perspective your blinders prevent you from seeing.
Bob Brittain December 13, 2012 at 12:53 AM
OMTWF, You still don't have the courage to use your name. You also are not interested in "answers", you just want to fire away anonymously from the sidelines. Would you have us tear down the very successful new library out of spite? I think so. Regarding "apathy" among the populace, consider that a large majority of citizens values our library services. Anyone going on-line on WC Patch to say so will be demonized by you and MF as a reward. Most people I know have stopped even viewing Patch because of the caustic atmosphere.
One more time with feeling December 13, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Dr. Bob, You reply to Triple Canopy and others who choose to not use their real names here - and yet I get singled out. OK. You can call me Joe G. Make you feel any better? Does it mean you or someone from the bully pulpit will answer any of these questions? Tearing down the library would be an even worse use of taxpayer funds now that it is built. I've already indicated that all I want is that the mistake be admitted, the taxpaying public be apologized to and the culprits leave city hall. I know I won't get all three - but any one of these will do. I thought for sure you would be at the "wayfaring sign meeting" where the city is preparing to spend over $200,000 on unnecessary signage rather than Public Safety, existing services and programs... We don't have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem.
Jim December 13, 2012 at 04:46 AM
I agree with Bob that the library was very successful-for him! It's interesting to note that as city leaders continue to lay off employees and cut salaries/benefits to fund library operations the "advocacy" (i.e. library cheerleader and Simmons/Silva campiagn organizer) of folks like Bob has paid off. As most people know Walnut Creek is one of the only cities around that doesn't offer medical insurance to employees after they retire. At the same time Walnut Creek taxpayers paid much of Bob's wife's salary as head librarian. As a now retired county employee she recieves fully paid medical coverage for her and her husband. When she dies Bob will get it for free until he dies. Not unlike Mayor Simmons who gets his pay and benefits from the city as a council member (granted the amount is small) and a federal pension and social security-Triple Dipping! Sue Rainey is in the same boat. At the same time she was voting to cut OUR police officers to help fund the library she was enjoying free medical coverage from her retired husband's county and state service. Not to mention his 3 pensions. I say give Bob and others credit for working the system to their advanage so successfully while we and the city employees that serve us pay the bill.
michael frederick December 13, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Library Bob, It is "WC illiterate", not "illiterate." The poor reading comprehension skills you continually showcase here make you, undoubtedly, the poorest advertisement for reading imaginable. I can't imagine anyone wanting to take their kid to the library, so they rise to Library Bob's stature. PhD? I don't think anyone could pass high school with the reading skills you claim as an only means of defense.
michael frederick December 18, 2012 at 06:48 AM
Julie, I meant to respond earlier but, on top of the hectic nature of the season, I got tied up above ... I believe the correct answer to your first question looks something like this. The Library Foundation was presented as a broad-based group. It wasn't / isn't. Most of the donations it passed along to the city came from a handful of people, most of whom we can all probably recite by heart... While one has to acknowledge this small band put their money where their mouth is -- their hearts may(?) have been in the right place -- their heads clearly weren't and aren't. Their leveraging of public monies was as false as their claims of "broad based community support" ... They don't offer to raise $1.5M because they can't, unless via corporate sponsorships. I'm a big fan of utilizing the public better, particularly young people, as you suggest. I'd really like to see City Hall provide mentoring programs to prepare WC youth for good careers downtown, for instance. I'd feel much better about City Hall decisions, if I thought for one second anyone making them knew the street names three blocks from City Hall, had local family connections that discourage arbitrary, mercenary decision-making ... We have some of the best kids in the state and we obviously ought to employ them better, for everyone's benefit, particularly theirs.
Charles schwartzmunde December 21, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Bullying? Jeeez... you guys need a hug.


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