Claremont Insider: City News

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

City News


More news on the medical marijuana dispensary front. Will Bigham in yesterday's Daily Bulletin reported that the Claremont City Council appears close to approving said dispensaries within the city limits.

Bigham tells us in his article that two Councilpersons, Linda Elderkin and Ellen Taylor, are for allowing the dispensaries, and a third, Sam Pedroza, appears to be the swing vote.

The matter will be discussed at tonight's city council meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council chambers, located at 225 W. 2nd St. You can also watch the proceeding live on the city's website, where they stream the meetings.

We've commented previously that Claremont considers itself a nation unto itself, subject to its own interpretations of the U.S. Constitution. So, it's not surprising that Claremont would want to seek to regulate medications in the manner of the FDA.

Say, didn't we hash out this whole states' rights business back in 1861-65? Odd, though, that it's a Democratic threesome now pushing back on federalism. But, then, these are the times we live in. As Bigham noted, a number cities, including Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco and West Hollywood, have regulations in place allowing marijuana dispensaries in accordance with Proposition 215, which California voters passed in 1996.

Bigham also touched on the fact that federal authorities have recently cracked down on medical marijuana dispensaries in California, including one in Corona last week. The move by federal officials against the dispensaries follows a June, 2005, ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.



The city has also been gripped by madness over the controversial affordable housing project on Base Line Rd. near Towne Ave. in northwest Claremont. Will Bigham says in today's Bulletin that the City Council will likely renew its exclusive negotiating agreement with developer Marc Gelman's company Enhanced Affordable Housing.

Residents in the project's area, primarily a group known as the Citizens for the American Dream, had originally been opposed to the project and had wanted to see owner-occupied units on the site. The Claremont League of Women Voters (LWV), pushed by Helaine Goldwater and others, wanted to see a higher-density rental development.

(We still don't understand why the League never demanded that there be an affordable housing component in the Claremont Village Expansion. After all, that is the area central to the bus lines and train station in town. But, then there has always been a certain attitude of wanting to keep "those" people - the ones who would be living in affordable housing - out of the Village and as far from the town center as possible.)

Developer Gelman had been awarded the agreement by the city to put in a 45-unit rental project on Base Line with a rent-to-own component. However, Gelman's contract with city expired in April, and there was some talk that staff was going to switch developers and go with Gary Braverman's Foundation for Quality Housing Opportunities, Inc., the company that the LWV favored.

As Claremont Courier reporter Tony Krickl explained back in June, the suspicion that a switch of developers was in the works was fueled by a city staff faux pas at the June 26th council meeting. The council agenda included a closed session item that listed "Braverman" rather than "Gelman" as the negotiating party for the Base Line Rd. project. Staff reported that this was a typo, and the matter was pulled from the agenda.