Can you hear me now?

There’s a funny Walnut Creek City Council quote I keep seeing in the Contra Costa Times. It goes something like, “You know, the folks who show up at Council meetings probably don’t even represent the real feelings of the people.” … Councilman Charlie Abrams gets The Quote in Sunday’s Times, where he’s paraphrased as saying “(I’m) not sure those who attend public meetings truly represent a cross-section of the public.” … Well, Councilman Abrams, I don’t attend many public meetings, and I can tell you, the folks out here are just as concerned as those in your halls. You see, when a city council begins to lose touch with the people it represents, those people just might not want to waste their breath bending its ear. … It also strikes me that if the council has strong local grassroots support for its actions, it should be able to stack rooms of people in favor of those policies. Its inability to do so shows clay feet. … It’s not just “prominent old-timers” (apologies to JoAnn Hanna) that the Council has to worry about. It’s people like me and my neighbors: renters and first-time homebuyers, folks who live in the condos on Oak Road and down Ygnacio Valley, who push their infants on the swings and play tennis at Civic Park. … You might be aggravating folks who remember what the town was like 30 or 4o years ago, but you’re also waking up a whole new generation who came to Walnut Creek because it’s the best darn town in the East Bay, and who don’t want another Dublin-Pleasanton. Middle-class, educated, progressive people. … You see, when we hear about things like the Council booting the recycling center to make way for auto dealers; threatening the future of great downtown businesses like Mark Morris and La Fogata; converting working-class rental units into unaffordable condos; throwing the Veterans Hall in the dustbin of history in favor of speculative commercial development; ignoring the needs of dog owners; and threatening to put hundreds of superfluous parking spaces in our park, we get a little upset. …

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