Claremont Insider: This Week's Meetings

Sunday, February 24, 2008

This Week's Meetings


The Claremont City Council will be holding another of its closed session meetings this Tuesday at 5:15pm.

The meeting will be in the City Council chambers at City Hall, which is located at 207 Harvard Ave. in the Claremont Village. As usual, the closed session will precede the regular council meeting.

The closed meeting will allow the council to discuss the possible purchase of the Golden State Water company's water utility for Claremont. Price and terms will be the topic of the discussion.


And the winning bid is... Musco Lighting Company of Muscatine, Iowa.

At least, that's city staff's recommendation to the city council this week for the 6 new sports lighting standards at baseball field #2 in Claremont's College Park. That award of the lighting bid is on the agenda for Tuesday's regular council meeting, which begins at 6:30pm.

No surprise here. Not that Musco's products are necessarily the best or most cost effective. Mayor Peter Yao had asked staff for an comparative analysis of the Musco lights with other products, including those manufactured by a company called Softlite Lighting Systems, but staff gave their usual thumb to the nose response to Yao's request for information.

Musco is the big dog among sports light manufacturers, but control of market share does not necessarily mean that any company produces the best product - just ask Mac users if a PC is a better computer.

Musco's size and sales force does enable them to provide certain services like "expert" lighting studies for project environmental impacts reports, such as the one they did for Claremont's Padua Park. It isn't really surprising that once Musco's experts make their findings, that their lights find their way into city parks.

Musco's sports lights, by the way, may not necessarily be the best product to fit Claremont's new sustainabilty push, but of course the people pushing that initiative, such as Planning Commissioner Bob Tener, have remained typically silent on what has to be the city's single largest electrical expense.

The staff report states that Musco was the lowest "responsive and responsible" bidder. Only one other company, Qualite-Mark V Design, was listed as having bid on the College Park lights.

Qualite-Mark was actually lower than the Musco bid ($47,856.65 vs. $50,132.74), but apparently Qualite-Mark ranked lower in responsiveness and/or responsibility. Or so says the staff report by Claremont Human Services Director Jeff Porter. No word on how the Musco lights compare to other products in terms of spillover, glare or energy efficiency, all things that one would think the city's sustainability task force ought to be concerned about.

If you are curious about this, ask about it Tuesday night. You're sure to get that special, assuring Porter fast talk. Don't expect any real answers though.

Musco's sports lighting standards do offer one thing that other companies' products apparently don't: They can be used for cellular phone towers. Look for more of these things in Claremont city parks in the future.


The city's affordable housing task force is also on the council's agenda for Tuesday. The task force's job will be to identify possible affordable housing sites now that the Base Line Rd. project is on hold.

The staff report on the subject is signed by Tony Witt and Brian Desatnik, two holdovers from the Glenn Southard-era in Claremont. Witt and Desatnik say that Councilmembers Linda Elderkin and Sam Pedroza want to be on the two-person Ad Hoc Committee to interview prospective task force members.

Don't be surprised Elderkin and Pedroza to freeze out people who had been opposed to the Base Line Rd. project and to load up on their cronies. We suspect the two haven't learned a thing about coalition building and want to punish the Base Line Rd. project opponents by not allowing them a voice on the new task force.

Now, tell us if this makes any sense to you. A faulty project is pushed by a group of Claremont insiders (small "i") who refused to listen to any voices outside their little group. The project fails as predicted. An ad hoc committee is then formed and stocked with the same people responsible for the initial, failed project to the exclusion of alternate, more reasonable voices.

Does anyone see another trainwreck coming?


Finally, for you policy wonks out there, the City Council will hold a special budget workshop on Wednesday, February 27th, at 6:30pm. The meeting will be held in the college room of the Alexander Hughes Community Center at 1700 N. Danbury Rd.

You can read more in the meeting's agenda packet.