I feel that it is important for me to explain my actions and behavior to you, my neighbors in Vallejo.
What you are about to read are MY thoughts, feelings and opinions. The do not represent the City of Vallejo, the Vallejo Planning Commission nor any of my fellow Commissioners. They are mine solely.
Recently I had the opportunity to tell our Mayor just how much I enjoyed sitting on the Planning Commission. I find it satisfying to know what is going on in our town, I feel privileged to be a part of the larger conversation and I am humbled to remember that I do it as your representative. Now I must share that the challenges are real. Take for example the development that just moved forward from the Planning Commission and is now headed to the City Council for final approval. This process has taken years just to get to this point. As a citizen I am thrilled that this type of quality development has come to our town. I am appreciative of the fact that Costco could have chosen another city to relocate to but has decided to affirm their relationship with Vallejo. This project will be good for all of us. Well, almost all of us. There are real traffic concerns which I addressed in open meeting. (This means that I can talk about them now, since I have already voted.)
The traffic on Admiral Callaghan is predicted to be . . . well . . . awful. The EIR said nothing could be done about it. I did not agree, and worked with a very professional staff, over this challenging issue. To say that I pressed the limits of my professional relationship would be an accurate statement. I felt that the impacts on traffic was so significant, to coopt the exact phrase from the Environmental Impact Report, that for me to do my job, the one that you count on me to do, I needed to raise whatever awareness to this situation that I could. This included raising a motion to continue the EIR until we could decide on a higher traffic standard. I was not successful but my voice was heard and I hope this is how you are asking me, your neighbor, to view this job.
What I could not have anticipated were the unfortunate events that have now made the news. Just so you know, each Commissioner is allowed to share their opinions and to ask questions that they feel are relevant to the project. All of us on the virtual dais asked and opined. In an unforgettable moment, something that is becoming more familiar with teleconferencing meetings, the sound of a pet wanting attention could be heard. (I have recently learned that the following is now news halfway around the world.) One of our Commissioners picked up his cat, introduced it to the meeting, and then tossed it out of frame.
Please let me stop here and tell you that in no way do I approve of this behavior.
It is not my place to continue speaking about someone else’s behavior. What I would like to address are my own. The ones that followed as a response. In the video I can be seen covering my face with my hands. That clip is as surreal to me now as it was in that moment. In what was an instinctual reaction, as I felt for both the Commissioner and his cat, I placed my hands over my face. Another thing that I could not control was my nervous laughter. I assure you that I was not laughing because I found the situation at all amusing. The laughter too was a reflexive response that I could not control. As I sat there watching all this unfold on my computer, the incredulity of the situation so overwhelmed me that all I could think to do was to shake my head and attempt to choke back my awkward outburst.
I apologize to anyone who felt offended by my response and understand how easily it would be to misinterpret my reactions.
I have been a long time pet owner and have written in the past how I start every day hoping that I will live up to my dog’s expectations of me. Feeling that I needed to do something positive in response to this situation, I have made a donation the Humane Society of the North Bay. These are good people, who do amazing work for animals that are lost or forgotten. I have included the link for you and ask that you do the same, for not all of us have someone to look after us.
I am not a seasoned politician, nor is that my goal in life. I willing serve you, my neighbors in Vallejo, because I believe in who we are and where we live. I am embarrassed with my awkward behavior of the 20th and ask for your understanding.
Until next time,