Claremont Insider: Busy Council Meeting Tonight

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Busy Council Meeting Tonight

The agenda for tonight's Claremont City Council meeting is certainly loaded with interesting items:


The public portion of the meeting begins at 6:30pm, but the there's also a closed session at 5:15. On the closed session agenda are negotiations with Mark Gelman and Enhanced Affordable Development. The topics under negotiation are "price and terms," so you can bet Gelman is trying to get more money out of the city at a time when Claremont is preparing to take a hit on auto sales tax and other revenue as well as having to come to terms with the loss of a $1 million state grant to pay for the Johnson's Pasture purchase.

Litigation, specifically the city's lawsuit against medical marijuana proponent Darrell Kruse (case #KC498836, filed in Pomona Superior Court), is also on the closed session agenda.


Claremont Little League has reached an agreement with neighbors opposed to lighting the second of three fields at College Park, just south of the Metrolink tracks and east of College Ave.

Little League will pay half of the $90,000 cost of the lights, and, yes, Claremont Human Services Director Jeff Porter is still shilling for Musco Lighting, the company the city will almost certainly contract with to install the lights.

Porter stated in his 9/5/2007 agenda report to the Human Services Commission that "The league continues to grow each year and the need for more lit fields increases due to this growth."

Yet, according to readers who were at a neighborhood meeting last October at Oakmont School over the College Park lighting issue, Porter's claims are untrue. At that meeting, when a Little League official and Human Services staffer Bill Pallatto tried to claim that 15 percent yearly growth was driving the need for another lit field, Human Services Commissioner Marcus Dowd got up an corrected them.

Dowd said that the 15 percent league growth claim was not true and participation rates were flat. Claremont Little League is NOT growing. Our readers report that during the Oakmont meeting Dowd said that the need for the additional lit field at College Park was in fact driven by Title IX and by the fact that some non-College park fields were now unavailable to the league because of girls softball.

Apparently Porter didn't get the memo. Or he is okay with this false information being allowed to be entered into the record at tonight's council meeting. Or he is a liar.

You really have to feel for the residents who've agreed to allow the lights in. They've been given some vague and unenforceable promises by Little League to not light the remaining field at the park and to work with the neighborhood in the future. The sports leagues have been notoriously bad and selfish neighbors, not just at College Park, but at Larkin Park and at La Puerta Park as well.

Of course, with 15 percent growth every year, it won't be long before the league and the city are ready to light that third field. Never make treaties with folks who speak with forked tongues.

The council will approve going forward with the College Park lighting plan now that the primary opponents have signed off on it. See the agenda materials for this item for more misinformation from Director Porter.


The council is also being asked by staff to approve the so-called citizen's committee recommendations for a pilot trolley system in the Claremont Village. (See page 4 of the agenda for tonight's meeting.)

You can also read the agenda report here.

The citizen's committee recommendation is to spend $886,869. It would pay for one trolley to run a 1.5-mile loop with four stops:

  • First Street at the Metrolink Depot
  • The Metrolink parking lot
  • Bonita Ave. and Yale Ave. near Walter's Restaurant
  • Oberlin Ave. near the Claremont Village Expansion

As we've noted previously, the "citizen's committee" for the Off Track Trolley was comprised mostly of city commissioners and city staff, including Bill Pallatto, the genius who gave the false information about Little League growth.

And one of the three people listed as a "Claremont Citizen" was former Mayor Judy Wright, who counts for 35,000 people in her own head, and for 100 in the minds of city staff.

Consider it $886,869 well-spent, or as we broke it down last month, quite a bargain ticket at over $10 per rider.


And the city council will be asked to appoint Chuck Leeb as Claremont's representative to the Tri-City Mental Health board.

Recall that Tri-City, a joint powers operation providing mental health services, is funded by the cities of Claremont, Pomona, and Upland. Tri-City emerged from bankruptcy last year after expanding too fast and being unable to keep up with its costs. The state of California has recommended that Tri-City be abolished because Los Angeles County already provides the same sorts of services.

According to the agenda packet materials for this item, Mayor Peter Yao allowed Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Taylor to be to sole person recommending the appointment. Taylor is Claremont's current representative to the Tri-City board.

While we don't question Leeb's qualifications, we do question the fact that he seems to be the Claremont 400-type, seeing that the three people recommending him are Sandra Baldonado, Linda Elderkin, and Queen Ellen - one former and two current councilmembers.

Do we really need more inbreeding?