For some reason, the hypocrisy and absurdity of Claremont 400 politics has us musing about the duality of human nature.
Anybody remember back during the March 2007 election when the Claremont Democratic Club endorsed Sam Pedroza and Linda Elderkin for City Council? There was a bit of complaining, some by local Democrats who didn't support either of the endorsees. Those people argued that it was a non-partisan election and that the Democratic Club had no business endorsing anybody.
You may recall Bob Gerecke, the club's president, writing a letter to the Claremont Courier defending the club's endorsements. Gerecke's confused and emotional screed seemed to argue that if local Democrats didn't stand behind their candidates, first the city, then the state, then the nation would be overrun by Republicans. Democratic voters, Gerecke believed, have a duty to their party to vote for Democrats--in particular the two he wanted you to support.
Of course, Gerecke conveniently ignored independent Jackie McHenry, who was the only councilmember to take positions on a number of city issues that mirrored what one would expect the national Democratic Party to favor: the armed forces banners (against); sustainable building--well before Mayor Peter Yao took the issue up (for), the city's proposed homeless ordinance--since pulled because of a court ruling that a similar statute was unconstitutional (against). Even Councilmembers Ellen Taylor and Sandy Baldonado, both registered Democrats, had worse records than McHenry on those issues.
At the time of the election, we believed that Gerecke's hysterical portrayal of Claremont as a potential springboard to higher state and national offices by Republicans was just a power play by Gerecke and his Claremont 400 friends. They just wanted to get endorsements for their candidates. They didn't care about the truth of those endorsement arguments.
For instance, Democrat Pedroza also got an endorsement and support from a person named Mike Kunce, whose organization Claremonters Against Strip Mining was fighting the proposed Vulcan Mining Co. gravel mine. Yet, we noted that Kunce also was a $1,000 donor to an anti-immigrant movement called the California Border Patrol Initiative in 2005. Hardly a Democratic position, and a strangely ironic source of support for Pedroza, who is a Latino.
So, the signs were there early. Pedroza isn't the tow-the-party-line Democrat Gerecke would have you believe. Was Gerecke lying or just stupidly naive?
And Pedroza does have a history of talking out of both sides of his mouth, as he did during the past year. In August, 2006, Pedroza argued against the affordable housing project at Baseline Rd. and Towne Ave. Then, after a good talking to by the Helaine Goldwater arm of the Claremont 400, he switched positions, arguing in October, 2006, in favor of the project.
We bring all this up because of a Republican fundraiser invitation that has been circulating around town. The occasion was an April 26th Claremont event for California Assemblyman Anthony Adams, who is a Republican. There were a number of local Republicans listed as sponsors for the event, but one name caught our eyes: "Councilman Sam Pedroza!"
So here you have Pedroza, the beneficiary of the Claremont Democratic Club's endorsement, using his new official title to help raise money for our area's Republican assemblyman's campaign war chest. Bob Gerecke's silly claim that our local politics are partisan and that Republicans could benefit from the March Claremont election turns out to be not-so-silly after all. Only, he got it completely backwards--it's Gerecke's Democrat endorsee who's out to help Gerecke's Republican opponents.
Silly man! As Sam Pedroza could explain to you, life is so much easier when you don't have to be accountable for your positions.
What can you say? It's Claremont, folks.