Claremont Insider: Judy Wright and Diann Ring Kill Dick Newton

Friday, June 15, 2007

Judy Wright and Diann Ring Kill Dick Newton

Claremont, June 12, 2007. Former Claremont council member and mayor Richard Newton's death was announced today by former colleagues Judy Wright, Diann Ring, and Bill McCready. Since they are the only ones with knowledge of this unfortunate event, they are of course suspected.

In a letter to the managing editor of the Claremont Courier, berating her for not doing her research on local issues, Wright and Ring declared that Dick Newton was among the two deceased members of the "gang of five" council members who approved Claremont's Landscaping and Lighting District (LLD) on March 9, 1990. They said, "As three members of the city council (the other two are deceased) who passed the Benefit Assessment District in 1990, we specifically did not include a sunset clause..."

The letter was provided to City Council at its June 12, 2007 meeting.

The minutes of the March 9, 1990 Claremont council meeting, where the LLD was adopted, show that it was approved unanimously by Judy Wright, Diann Ring, Bill McCready, Dick Newton, and Nick Presecan. Mr. Presecan died in 2005 and has a monument in the Claremont Wilderness Park. That leaves Mr. Newton as the other deceased member, since Wright, Ring, and McCready signed the letter. Process of elimination.

Mr. Newton's death comes as a shock to members of the community who have seen him around town and in various public venues in recent weeks. "He didn't look that sick," commented one member of the University Club.

It is unknown whether the Claremont PD is investigating this death, or if foul play is suspected. Actually, foul play is always a good bet when the Claremont 400 get their collective backs up. We can only be guided by their advice to the editor of the Courier closing the letter mentioned above: "We would hope will give more attention to researching and understanding the facts about the issues..." Right.

Mr. Newton was not available for comment, and the Insider is not a "real" journalist anyway, so made no particular effort to contact him. If he had been reached, whether in Claremont or at his summer place in Wisconsin, we are sure he would be recalling Mark Twain's famous comment about death and exaggeration.