Jason Pedroza’s guilty plea Aug. 28 to two felony counts of sex crimes with minors ended the legal phase of this strange and painful episode in Walnut Creek’s history, but it seems to have left behind deep wounds--personal and political--in its wake.
In addition to the psychic scars Pedroza’s actions left on his young victims, his behavior set off a chain reaction that eventually led to the resignation of four top-level adminstrators. Though some say the months-long process of investigations is an opportunity to chart a new course, others say it has brought to light some ongoing conflicts between members of the city council and administrative staff that will take time to heal.
In the third of this series, Haskew gives her views on the fallout from the Pedroza case.
“We have a remarkable city staff as dedicated as any staff toward providing service to citizens and visitors,” she said. “Most of them kept their eye on the ball during all of this and did their jobs.”
Haskew said that the most likely scenario in the near future is that “we’re all going to be allowed to focus on the job of the city, and just by working on the same goal we’ll all get together sooner.”
When asked what her view of the “job of the city” is, the said it is “basically is to continue to have Walnut Creek be recognized statewide as a well-run city.” She noted that the League of California Cities often singles out Walnut Creek as a model for other cities to follow.
“Nobody agrees 100 percent on every issue, and there were issues some people felt very strongly about,” she said. “Every council member is there because they are passionate about the well being of the city and its citizens. Everybody did everything they could to make sure that they met their goal. We don’t always agree on how to get there, but we truly do have the same goal. I’m naturally an optimist and believe that when you peel back all the layers, that’s going to carry the day.”
She said the city staff is “working very hard to reunite. They realize they were working in silos, and now they’re looking for ways to intermingle, to get to know each other better. It’s easy for different functions to drift apart. It’s more successful to work together and see each other as part of a team, with a unity of purpose.”
Haskew sees a big reason for optimism.
“I feel the aura is different now when I walk into the room, like ‘whew, we got through that.’”