Council replaces Skrel on two committees
With the notice that Councilman Gary Skrel will not seek a fourth term and therefore no longer be on the City Council as of December, the City Council decided to make some changes.
At a special midday City Council meeting Aug. 29, done during the council's monthlong summer recess, the council voted to take Skrel off two prime subcommittees. The committees are for the development agreement for the Broadway Plaza master plan and West Downtown Specific Plan committee.
Mayor Pro Tem Kish Rajan will take over on the Broadway Plaza master plan development agreement committee, which is working out what the city will receive if the council approves major renovations and additions at the shopping center. Of course, this would be changed if Rajan doesn't win re-election in November.
Councilwoman Cindy Silva will take over on the West Downtown Specific Plan committee, which is working to create a specific plan laying out land uses for the west side of downtown from BART to Mt. Diablo Boulevard.
Skrel said at the meeting he agreed to no longer serve for the "betterment and continuity" of the committees and community.
An open-space Mayor's Walk Saturday
September's "Second Saturday Walk with the Mayor" heads to the open space on Saturday.
Walkers should meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Orchard Trail sign at Sugarloaf Open
Participants don't need to register but are advised to bring water and wear sunscreen.
For more information go to www.walnut-creek.org/walks.
While most walks take place the second Saturday of the month, the October walk will be on the third Saturday Oct. 20.
Walnut Festival Run takes place Sunday
Lace up those sneakers -- it's time for the 50th running of the Walnut Festival Run.
The 5K and 10K runs will take place 8 a.m. Sunday in downtown Walnut Creek. This is the kickoff event to the Walnut Festival festivities.
The race will start at 1201 S. Main St. and begins by heading north on Main Street, right on Civic Drive, right on Broadway and continues until a turnaround point just short of Rudgear Road. On the way back, runners head north on Broadway until making a left on Newell and a right back onto Main Street, followed by either a right on Broadway to finish out the 5K or straight on Main for a second loop to do the 10K.
Roads will be partially closed from 7 to 9 a.m.
The cost is $25 to $35, depending on age. Registration can be done online at www.walnutfestivalrun.com or at the pre-race registration and check-in event 5-9 p.m. Sept Thursday and Friday at Sports Basement, 1881 Ygnacio Valley Road.
The net proceeds from the Walnut Festival Run will be divvied up to individual public or private Walnut Creek schools. The school splits will be based on the responses from runners when they sign up about which school they want to represent.
Just a few days after the race the Walnut Festival Twilight Parade will be held Sept. 15 downtown. The parade will be on Main Street from Mt. Diablo Boulevard to Civic Drive.
And then on Sept. 20-23 Heather Farm Park will host the 75th Annual Walnut Festival.
City closes public counters on Fridays
Public counters at Walnut Creek's City Hall will be closed on Fridays beginning this Friday, Sept. 7.
The move was OK'd by the City Council to reduce costs during the June adoption of the two-year budget, so the closures are not a surprise.
In a news release, the city says the closures are due to overall staff reductions in the past several years. Since 2008 the number of city employees have been reduced from 391.5 to 340.5 full-time equivalent positions.
Counters to be affected include:
Cities honored for service days
The cities of Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek have been awarded the prestigious Helen Putnam Award of Excellence by the League of California Cities. The joint award was presented at the annual league conference Wednesday in San Diego to Pleasant Hill Vice-Mayor Michael Harris and Walnut Creek City Council member Cindy Silva, according to a news release.
The cities received the award because they each host "Community Service Days" each year. Pleasant Hill started its service day in 2005 and will host the event again on Sept. 22. Walnut Creek staged its first service day last year, with nearly 1,000 volunteers working on 42 community wide cleanup projects, according to the release. Walnut Creek will host its second service day on Oct. 6.
"In both cities, Community Service Day has increased civic pride and demonstrated that people want to get involved and give back to their community," Harris said in the release. "Community Service Day has proved that the power of human energy is unbeatable."
Over seven years, approximately 6,000 volunteers have participated and logged more than 25,000 volunteer hours in Pleasant Hill and 4,500 in Walnut Creek.
"The bottom-line objective for both of our cities was to create a single-day event that would engage our communities, introduce volunteers to new opportunities, and create lasting impact," said Silva in the release.
Registration for 2012 Community Service Day
To participate in Walnut Creek's Community Service Day on Oct. 6, city leaders are urging the public to sign-up now. Already more than 200 people have signed up to help do things such as clean the creeks to beautifying a school.
The day begins at 7:30 a.m. with a free pancake breakfast at Heather Farm Community Center, courtesy of the Walnut Creek Lions Clubs. T-shirts will be given to the first 700 volunteers that morning. At 9 a.m. people will begin their project.
For a complete list of projects and links to online registration, go to www.walnut-creek.org/service. Those without computer access may call the Community Service Day hotline at 925-256-3505.
School financing, ballot props focus of meeting
Assemblywomen Susan Bonilla (D-Concord), chair of the Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance, will discuss the state of school funding in California and November ballot propositions at the meeting of the Diablo Valley Democratic Club.
The meeting will take place 7 p.m., Sept. 19 at the Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Road in Walnut Creek.
According to a news release, improving the educational system is a legislative priority for Bonilla, who has backed legislation to help local school districts reduce truancy and chairs the select committee on high quality early childhood education. She was elected to the assembly in 2010.
Steve Olsen, who is retired from the Mt. Diablo Unified School District and the Clorox Company, will along with John Roe of the United Food and Commercial Workers union discuss the propositions.
For more information, call 925-946-0469 or go to www.dvdems.org.
Chamber candidates forum Sept. 14
Voters will have a chance to hear from the candidates during a special "Candidates' Forum 2012" sponsored by the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau 7:45 to 9:45 a.m. Sept. 14 at Scott's Restaurant, 1333 N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek.
All five candidates will be on hand -- Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Barry Grove; Loella Haskew, a certified public accountant; Mayor Pro Tem Kish Rajan; Mayor Bob Simmons; and local business owner Justin Wedel. They will respond to questions from audience members and the chamber's political action committee dubbed WALPAC.
Continental breakfast will be served. Space is limited and registration is required; go to www.walnut-creek.com for more information.
Politico now to speak at WC library Oct. 2
Bay Area political commentator Joe Tuman will discuss the local and national political landscape 7 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Walnut Creek Library.
Tuman, broadcast political commentator and former Oakland mayoral candidate, will look at the future of redevelopment and its impact on California cities as well as pension reform and how local and state government is addressing this pressing issue, according to a news release.
The presentation is free and part of the Walnut Creek Library Foundation's Live! from the Library speaker series. It will be held in the Oak View Room at the library, 1644 N. Broadway. To reserve a seat or for more information go to www.wclibrary.org
Originally Tuman's talk was scheduled for today, but foundation organizers realized that was the same night President Obama is set to give his nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.
-- Compiled by Elisabeth Nardi