Claremont Insider: City Council Meeting Moved

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

City Council Meeting Moved

Don't forget that tonight's Claremont City Council meeting has been moved to Taylor Hall at Claremont's Cahuilla Park, located at the corner of Indian Hill Blvd. and Scripps Dr. just north of Claremont High School. The meeting begins at 6:30pm.

Item number 12 on the agenda is the Base Line affordable housing project, which has had some interesting developments in the past week, leaving the two council people who'd been pushing the thing the hardest, Peter Yao and Ellen Taylor, looking for a gracious way out - probably the first and only time the word gracious has ever been associated with the acerbic Ms. Taylor.

The meeting has presumably been moved to Taylor Hall to accommodate more people, given the interest in the affordable housing issue. The last council meeting on the subject when the environmental impact report (EIR) was certified by the council, was in the Padua Room at the Alexander Hughes Community Center.

If you don't see a live video stream of the meeting on the City's website tonight, it's likely because Taylor Hall might not be wired up for streaming video, which might be a good break for the council and for some of their League of Women Voter and Claremont 400 friends who haven't been particularly telegenic when it comes to affordable housing.

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Chances are, if the project goes down in flames, as appears to be the current case, you won't be seeing many of these so-called champions of affordable housing around in the near future with any alternative plans. They're likely to show their true colors and just take their ball and go home.

At some point, in a sane city, the powers-that-be would sit down after an affair such as this and try to figure out what happened. Project opponents argued early on that there were better sites for the affordable housing, sites closer to the center of town and closer to transit and shopping. The opponents also argued that there were serious air quality problem, and those opinions were proved right by the project's EIR.

The opponents said, "Let's put the police station on the Base Line site, and move the project to an alternate location, maybe closer to the Village." And, in fact, that may be what ends up happening.

In retrospect, there really was no evidence of any citywide backing for this project. There was no grassroots groundswell of citizens wanting the project on Base Line. At every meeting, the proponents consisted of the usual League of Women Voters talking heads and current or former council members and city commissioners. At every meeting, the proponents were outnumbered by the opponents.

Yet, the proponents insisted that it had to be this project on this site and no other. The proponents are responsible for a colossal waste of time, energy and city resources (the cost of purchasing the 2.6-acre site, tens of thousands to the developer, $160,000 for the EIR, and countless hours of staff time). Tell us again, why did we have to go down this road?

We hope that some of the current opponents to the project step up with some of the ideas they've tossed about and provide a real solution to this problem. Those people stand to gain or lose a ton of credibility depending on how they follow through on the things they have talked about during the affordable housing debate. Let's hope if they prevail, they don't take their ball and go home.

In any case, the meeting commences with public comment at 6:30pm. There is also a closed session council meeting at 5:15pm. The closed session apparently has nothing to do with the Base Line project, though you never can tell what really goes on behind those closed doors.

Claremont City Council Meeting - 6:30pm tonight
Taylor Hall
1775 N. Indian Hill Blvd.