Claremont Insider: The Nice Faces of Claremont

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Nice Faces of Claremont

We were looking at our earlier post on Sue Keith and got to admiring her photo. How, we wondered, can someone who looks like anyone's favorite grandmother be bad?

With the Claremont 400, we think it all gets back to studying the actual words and deeds and seeing past the smiling faces. We must look beneath the surface.

EXHIBIT 1: Homer "Butch" Henderson is the retired senior pastor from Claremont's United Church of Christ. The UCC goes back to Claremont's earliest days, and Henderson, like Keith, has done many good works. This year he was chair of the city's steering committee for the Youth and Family Master Plan Update.

Yet, he was also a spokesperson for Preserve Claremont, the organization of city staffers, former councilmembers, commissioners and other Claremont 400 people that in 2005 attacked current Councilmember Corey Calaycay and then-Councilmember Jackie McHenry.

The Preserve people ran ads containing false information and also organized two citywide bulk mailings the weekend before the election - mailings that were funded primarily by a $2,000 donation from Claremont Toyota, owned by Roger Hogan whose auto center property is responsible for 57-percent of the city's sales tax revenue (big fish, little pond).

All nice faces, not so nice words and deeds.

EXHIBIT 2: We've run this a couple times before, but it's worth revisiting. Former Claremont Mayor Sandy Baldonado can be charming and winsome. Just like Keith, Baldonado is a Claremont League of Women Voters member. A photo of her doesn't betray any hint of pettiness or a mean spirit. Yet, at a city council meeting in 2005 she let her guard down and took some potshots at the city of Victorville and the state of West Virginia.

Again, let the words speak for themselves: