Contra Costa County, CA November 2, 1999 Election
Smart Voter

Let's Move Into the New Millenium with a Positive Approach and Cooperation

By David E. Durant

Candidate for Council Member; City of Pleasant Hill

This information is provided by the candidate
We need a new positive spirit on the Council! The Council must act accountably, with integrity and dignity. It must listen actively to all citizens and encourage partnerships between citizens, business, and government.
Politics in Pleasant Hill has been called "notoriously divisive" and "dysfunctional." Many have wondered how this came about and what I would do to "fix" it.

This is an historic problem which manifests itself in how Pleasant Hill is seen by other agencies and jurisdictions: we are seen as hostile, uncooperative, unprofessional, and arrogant.

Some believe that the divisive attitude on the Pleasant Hill City Council was spawned by disagreement over growth issues in the 1980's. As we approach the 21st century, growth is no longer a significant issue in our city. Today, the City Council is seen as a dysfunctional council both locally and regionally because of the "attitude" brought on by the tone and tenor of some of the City Council members. This must change!


Too many of the current City Council members fail to treat citizens with respect and decency. They take pot-shots at audience members and city staff. They are negative to citizens who come to speak before them. The City Council's interactions must become professional. The discussions must be open, thoughtful, rational, deliberative, and compassionate. I believe that the City Council should welcome public input, listen openly to speakers and show respect to the city staff and people of Pleasant Hill.


I believe that having meaningful rules and procedures will help lessen the dysfunctional atmosphere of City Council meetings, and - with appropriate leadership - will lead to an improved City image and more efficient, effective and productive meetings. I took a leadership role in having the Planning Commission function at a highly professional level. I treat staff, fellow Commissioners and the public with respect and decency. As Chair of the Planning Commission, I enforced our rules fairly and respectfully.

If elected to the City Council, I will continue to conduct myself in this fashion, will work hard to create a City Council that operates in optimal fashion, with a spirit of cooperation and reasoned debate, and will bring forward a proposal to bring meaningful rules of conduct and procedures to the City Council within the first 100 days after assuming office.


That is the start. To repair our city's image, we also must choose cooperation whenever possible, picking our battles carefully. There are many matters over which the City Council has no or very limited jurisdictional power: schools, parks and recreation, fire service, and water issues. Nonetheless, the Council has an obligation to work for the benefit of its citizens and to advocate for Pleasant Hill children. I think we can do better than we have done. I know that we can improve our reputation with the school district and we can do it in an atmosphere of openness, respect, and cooperation.

We need to collaborate with the school district to find local solutions to difficult problems, such as child safety, law enforcement near schools, improving school conditions and improving education. With two school district school board members from Pleasant Hill, we should be able to be heard and to work together for the benefit of our children.

The same may be said of traffic issues. We must work with other jurisdictions to help find regional solutions to this long-standing issue.


I believe that we must both recognize the vital role business plays in the well-being of our community and be more responsive to business. We need to form a new partnership between the City Council, Pleasant Hill businesses and Pleasant Hill residents. If we have proactive planning, with a managed growth philosophy, and a creative, problem-solving spirit on the City Council, I believe that the partnership can be created and our city can truly reach its potential.

As a Chamber member and member of the Retail Business Task Force, I have worked closely with the Chamber to improve retail business advertising opportunities. I am proud to say that the current City Council unanimously approved new sign ordinance that I helped to craft. I believe that RBTF is one important step toward maximum cooperation between the city and its businesses.

If elected, I will start a review of the home occupation permit regulations, particularly in light of emerging technology and global telecommunications. I will work with city staff and local businesses to minimize the affect of the new downtown on our existing businesses. I also envision the City and the Chamber jointly sponsoring events, like they did decades ago!

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