Claremont Insider: Ringing Out the Old Year

Monday, December 31, 2007

Ringing Out the Old Year

The Daily Bulletin and the Claremont Courier both had lists of their noteworthy stories for 2007.

Surprisingly, Paystubgate made both lists.

The Bulletin and the San Bernardino Sun had their own run-ins with government employees when they posted salary information for San Bernardino County employees online.

The Courier had a list of Claremont City Council high- and lowlights. The article isn't online yet, but it did have a memorable quote from Dean McHenry regarding the city's handling of Paystubgate:

"I think that's the first time since this city was founded 100 years ago that you have gone to the extent of demanding the shutdown of a news source," said resident Dean McHenry at the October 9 council meeting, evoking raucous cheers from fellow citizens. "... It seems to me, this not a way to celebrate our centennial."

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And, of course, it was our centennial, or rather our second one, as we observed. Former Claremont Mayor Judy Wright and the folks over at Claremont Heritage have made sure we have these centennial celebrations every 20 years or so.

Wright continued her Claremont mythology project in 2007, using the centennial as a focus for her efforts.

Of course, it's been a rough year for Judy, who got caught revising local history and who dug herself an even deeper hole by trying to explain herself.

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2007 was the year of the Packing House and the Village Expansion, bringing lots of new businesses and maybe even a trolley to Claremont. Time will tell if the expansion's got legs or not.

And this was the year Forbes Magazine named Claremont the fifth best place to live in the U.S. (for towns with populations between 7,500 and 50,000).

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2007 was also the year that Claremont's insurer, the California Joint Powers Insurnce Authority, settled a lawsuit by Palmer Canyon homeowners over the 2003 Padua Fire. The plaintiffs had alleged that the city was negligent in its failure to enforce and implement its Vegetation Management Plan for the Claremont Wilderness. As a result, the plaintiffs argued, brush on city land built up to dangerous levels and resulted in the destruction of homes in Palmer Canyon and Padua Hills.

In March, the CJPIA settled the suit for $17.5 million. The largest amount ever paid out by the insurer.

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The assaults on the Insider ebbed considerably as the year wound down. We're still standing, still cranking out the posts - nearly 500 since February. We like to keep William Faulkner's 1950 Nobel Prize speech in mind (with apologies to our feminist readers):

It's easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will be on more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure, he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirt capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

Let this much be said about 2007: We're all of us still standing and in many ways are stronger than ever. Keep on speaking out. Endure.

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Finally, in other news, Claremont City Hall will be closed today and tomorrow for the New Year's holiday. City Attorney Sonia Carvalho, who drove the Paystubgate story with her demand that Google terminate this blog, reminds you to watch yourselves over the holiday. Too much drinking can lead to too much talking, and we just can't have vital government secrets leaking out.

A holiday is no excuse for laxness. The City Attorney takes these matters very seriously, and violators will be prosecuted - This Means You!: