Claremont Insider: Claremont Council Certifies Affordable Housing EIR

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Claremont Council Certifies Affordable Housing EIR

Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Taylor
vows to hold breath until council votes her way.

The nearly 6-hour council meeting last night ended with council almost as much in the dark as when it began (literally; the building lights went out 20 minutes after midnight, drawing the proceedings to a merciful close).

In the end, council certified the affordable housing EIR on a 4-1 vote (Calaycay opposing) after a more draconian certification motion by Ellen Taylor failed on a 2-3 vote (Taylor and Yao voting in favor, Pedroza, Elderkin, and Calaycay opposing).

The distinction between the failed motion and the successful motion is that the failed motion explicitly rejected two feasible alternatives; the successful motion preserved them to be considered at a later meeting.

Hughes Center was packed for this meeting. In a moment of the phony jollity for which he is known, Mayor Peter Yao early on invited dozens of students attending council on class assignment to leave the room and the building, assuring them that some city worker would sign their sheets for class. Our guess is that he knew what was coming and didn't want it to be exposed to impressionable minds. Of course, being good and obedient citizens, the impressionable minds rose from their chairs and left as one.

The people remaining were a little less good and a little less obedient. By our count, some 32 members of the public spoke and were divided roughly 2 to 1 against the EIR and the project.

Here is video of the first (unsuccessful) motion to certify the EIR and at the same time reject the alternatives:

Finally City Attorney Sonia Carvalho took charge and Council certified the EIR while at the same time preserving the feasible and environmentally superior alternatives for later discussion: