Walnut Creek's 2022 City Council Race Heats UpAug 17, 2022 07:01PM ● By Harper Klein
As current Mayor Pro Tem and Councilmember, I have delivered on my promises, working tirelessly to ensure Walnut Creek remains an exceptional place to live and work. To protect downtown and neighborhoods, and decisively address recent criminal activity, I've supported more police and technology enhancements. I've championed improvements to our community outreach efforts, including our Farmers Market booth & Rossmoor Liaison Program. I played a key role in community partnerships that raised $6,000,000 for the Walnut Creek Library, Heather Farm Park's All-Abilities Playground, and Larkey Park aquatics center. As League of California Cities President, I've advocated successfully for state solutions for homelessness, infrastructure, and housing affordability, leading to expanded homeless services, a winter shelter, better roads, and 400+ affordable units. Believing in the power of volunteers, I founded in 2011, and still chair, Community Service Day, yielding 75,000 service hours. I value local business & economic development. During COVID-19, I championed our Rebound Program, small-business grants and outdoor dining. As a prudent fiscal steward, I spearheaded as mayor, a community Fiscal Health Task Force. We have balanced budgets, solid reserves, no debt, and $26,000,000 in pension reserves. If reelected, I will remain dedicated to ensuring a safe community; strengthening the local economy; increasing our environmental resiliency; addressing housing affordability and homelessness; sustaining basic services and arts, recreation, and cultural programs that make Walnut Creek outstanding. In these challenging times, we need proven, dedicated leadership. I am an effective leader who delivers results.
During my first term on the City Council, we adopted balanced budgets despite substantial revenue shortfalls, took action to improve public safety and disaster preparedness, and supported nonpolice responses to mental health crises. I have used my legal skills and training to solve problems and advocate for residents. I have been a careful steward of our fiscal resources. And, as Mayor this year, I have been an active listener who works hard to address concerns and reach consensus. There is more work to do. That is why I am running for reelection. We need to reinvest in our aging parks and recreation infrastructure so that future generations can likewise benefit from the facilities and programs we have all enjoyed. We must attract new businesses and industries to Walnut Creek so that fewer residents need to commute out of town for work. It is better for families and the environment. We need to ensure that Walnut Creek remains a safe place to live, work, and visit. I support hiring additional police officers to prevent and respond to criminal activity. I also support the county's A3 program so that "Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime" has access to behavioral health services. I will help prepare our community for disasters by conducting wildfire evacuation drills. I am endorsed by over 30 current and former elected officials and hundreds of community leaders. If reelected, I will continue to work hard to improve our quality of life.
Brian O'Toole, Estate Planning Attorney
My Walnut Creek story began in 1978. My wife, Abbie, and I met while serving in the Peace Corps in The Gambia, West Africa. When we returned, we decided that there was no better place than Walnut Creek to start our family and my estate planning business. After serving on Contra Costa County Advisory Council on Aging for many years, I am running for office with three goals in mind: Update Walnut Creek's Zoning Regulations to meet Association of Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP) Livable Communities standards. My neighborhood suffers from poor planning decisions. The Encina Grande Shopping Center was granted an ill-conceived waiver, where they did not have to follow the Walnut Creek building code requirement for sound-proofed fencing between commercial and residential properties. I am choosing to use this experience as a springboard to improve our zoning regulations to help our senior community. Create a sister city relationship with a Ukrainian city. Walnut Creek has a lot to offer and Ukrainians are going to need the help. Ensure that our law enforcement community is properly trained, equipped, and prepared to respond to violent situations at schools. I am a very proud father of 3 young ladies: Fiona, 11, Alayna, 9, and Kyla, 7. As we are all aware, violence at schools is a terrible issue that cannot be wished away. Walnut Creek has been the target of a number of large-scale violent acts in the past years. We need to be prepared. Thank you all for making Walnut Creek a great place to live.
Laura Patch, Nonprofit Digital Manager
As a proud resident of Walnut Creek, I am running for City Council to serve the community that has given me so much. I am a climate activist currently working for the Sierra Club. I plan to continue Walnut Creek's efforts to address climate change by working with city committees to find ways we can produce more clean energy, improve public transportation to decrease traffic, and preserve our open spaces. I will use my experience as an AmeriCorps member and non- profit professional to serve our community with compassion, transparency, and innovation. I have spent the majority of my life enjoying everything Walnut Creek has to offer - outdoor spaces, arts, dining and shopping, and community activities. I'm committed to ensuring Walnut Creek has a vibrant and sustainable future.