AUG 10 Clayton Pioneer 2018

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Parks l a n io g e R East Bay uide Activity G IT’S YOUR PAPER

Council approves ordinance to restrict parolee housing


August 10, 2018

PEGGY SPEAR Clayton Pioneer



Background on why city is examining parolee housing

Our city and community are currently examining the best approach to deal with the impact of prison reform law imposed on us by the state, resulting in Contra Costa County’s strategic plan for early release of parolees back into local communities. The state and county are doing this to offset their legal incarceration challenges (prison overcrowding) and costs. Courtesy of state law AB109, the county established a Reentry Program in October 2011 to provide for parolees to live in communities rather than finish their time in jail. Without the Clayton City Council’s enactment of a twoyear moratorium on parolee housing in 2016, parolee housing could have entered our city without a permit, public review or city regulation – with no notice to the city or a procedure for the city to have it removed once it came here. The moratorium expires on Oct. 3, 2018. If we take no action, parolee housing could come into any residential area in the city. Despite some misunderstandings among residents, the City Council is not supportive of the idea of parolee community housing. That is why we enacted the maximum two-year moratorium to deter its arrival until local regulations and location restrictions could be established to protect Clayton. Other cities aren’t discussing parolee housing along with Clayton because their municipal codes currently allow it – and under terms less restrictive than this council is considering. The Clayton City Council is not “approving” or “inviting” parolee housing, as some assert, nor is anyone on the council or staff pushing a parolee housing agenda. We have analyzed three options to determine the best plan to further protect our residents and to provide the best foundation to withstand a legal challenge. The first option is to take no further action, thereby allowing state and county programs to place parolee housing

See Mayor, page 7

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Around Town . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Community Calendar . . . . .13 Directory of Advertisers . . . .7 Hearts and Hands . . . . . . . .2 Senior Living . . . . . . . . . . .16 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11





Map courtesy of City of Clayton

Faced with downward pressure from the county to find places to house parolees released from prison under AB109, the City Council voted to limit possible parolee housing to four locations in Clayton with multi-family zoning: (1) Keller Ridge, (2) and (3), Chapparal Springs 1 and 2; and (4) Marsh Creek Rd. and High St. across from Stranahan.

The issue of where to house released inmates is rumbling through the City Council chambers and on social media as Clayton wrestles with the state law regarding parolee housing. At the regular July 17 meeting, council members Tuija Catalano, Jim Diaz and Julie Pierce and Mayor Keith Haydon unanimously approved a municipal ordinance that will restrict where a parolee residence can locate within the city limits. Councilmember Dave Shuey was absent. The contentious meeting, lasting more than two hours, pitted Clayton residents who want no part of parolee housing in the city against a council determined to protect the city from costly lawsuits. In her report to the council, Clayton Community Development Director Mindy Gentry summarized the three options the city had on

See Housing, page 7

Marsh fire destroys one home, threatens 100s TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

Smoke, flames and fear are becoming a way of life in California as dozens of wildfires rage across the state, devouring homes and taking lives. On July 25, Clayton added 275 acres and one home to the state’s grim statistics as a very fast moving, hot fire threatened to take out more than 100 homes in the Marsh Creek/Morgan Territory canyon. The fire started in a grassy field at the County Detention Facility, just a few yards from the Cal Fire Sunshine Station on Marsh Creek Rd. It immediately went to four alarms. When CalFire Assistant

the smoke from the freeway and knew it was big trouble. “I thought the whole canyon would go up,” he told the Pioneer. “I figured if we could hold the losses to 30 homes, we’d be lucky.” When the fire was first reported at 2:40 p.m. it was at 25 acres. By 5 p.m. it had spread to 225 acres and more than 200 homes in Marsh Creek and Morgan Territory were evacuated. PG&E cut power around 4:30. Cell servDan Dinneen ice in the area is sketchy so most homes were left with no Firefighters battled the Marsh fire in 105 degree heat for outside communication. three days. One home was lost in the fast-moving, intense fire that charred 250 acres and threatened more than 100 Officers from the Sheriff ’s homes. department went door to door with evacuation orders. Chief Mike Marcucci got the and immediately headed Buldozers, engines and call, he was in Sacramento toward Clayton. He could see equipment from Cal Fire, East

County Fire and several surrounding agencies fought to slow the fire while four helicopters, eight tankers and one VLT—Very Large Tanker battled from overhead. Faced with the imminent threat to lives, the air tankers were on a “no divert” order, meaning they could not be called off the Marsh fire to another fire somewhere else. On the ground, flames raced ahead of firefighters within minutes consuming a home on Aspara Drive. Neighbors scrambled to get pets and livestock out of the rugged area. John Khashabi, an area resident had a 500 gallon fire

See Fire, page 3

Young reader launches the little library that could ADAM PINGATORE Pioneer Staff Intern

Clayton’s Andrew Drynkin, an 8-year-old student at Mount Diablo Elementary, has joined the global cause for literacy by constructing a book exchange in his family’s front yard. In a technologically inundated society, it can seem like a chore for youth to read the printed word. This increasingly prevalent truth is among the many societal issues that Little Free Library branches strive to remedy. Book-loving “stewards” construct, stock and maintain the little libraries. Stewards purchase a charter number from the Wisconsin-based nonprofit, adding their library to an ever-growing

online map and connecting them to a virtual network of other stewards. The primary goal is to be an “organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world,” according to the Website. The company cites a 2010 study that “children growing up in homes without books are on average three years behind children in homes with lots of books.” The problem can be related to financial resources and a lack of access to age-appropriate books due a community’s layout. Each of the more than 70,000 little libraries worldwide adhere to the basic prin-

received widespread attention, winning an Innovations in Reading Prize from the National Book Foundation, a Library of Congress Literacy Award and many other commendations. And Andrew couldn’t be more ecstatic to do his part. “I got the idea from a Jigsaw Jones Mystery. Their teacher was taking books from it. She was just taking them and putting random notes in them,” the young librarian commented. Adam Pingatore Once Andrew learned of Andrew Drynkin, center, poses with his Little Free Library Little Free Library, his voraon July 23, 2018. His cousins Timofei Woods, left, and cious curiosity couldn’t be Diana Woods, right, kept Andrew busy for the weekend stopped. “It was totally his after their initial tour of the child-friendly book exchange. idea,” said proud mother ciple: “Take a Book, Return a people of all ages to read to Katie. The speed at which a LitBook.” Todd Bol, 62, found- their heart’s content without tle Free Library can unite a ed Little Free Library in 2009 worrying about costs. on this honor system to allow Little Free Library has

See Library, page 5

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