Claremont Insider: City Council Meets Tonight

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

City Council Meets Tonight

The Claremont City Council has its regular meeting tonight. The council meets at 5:15pm at City Hall for a special closed session, and then will have its regular session at 6:30pm.

The council's regular session takes place in the council chambers at 225 W. Second Street in the Claremont Village. You can watch the meeting streamed live on the City's website.


There are two items on the special session agenda. Both have to do with litigated matters.

The first is the lawsuit brought by the neighborhood group Protect Our Neighborhoods. This has to do with the change in the city's leafblower ordinance, which was approved by the City Council last fall without the proper initial study being done as is required under the California Environmental Quality Act. A settlement has been worked out, and the only thing remaining to be done is for the parties to negotiate the amount the City will pay for the plaintiffs' fees and costs.

This one's a flub that falls directly at the feet of City Attorney Sonia Carvalho, who failed to advise the City Council of the need for the CEQA initial study when the council approved the ordinance change. Tell us again, why are we paying Carvalho's monthly retainer fee?

The second special session item has to do with litigation over pollution from rainwater runoff.


It looks like another full schedule for the city council tonight, says the regular session agenda:

  • There's a ceremonial matter starting things off. Claremont Human Services Commissioner Jeff Camacho will honor the recipients of the Youth Award and the Dick Guthrie Award. (Claremont may be the only town we know of that names awards after its consultants. Don't what you have to do to win a Guthrie.)

  • The council will consider exempting non-profits from the $300 annual business and home occupation fee. The council will also discuss refunding fees the City has collected from non-profits since July, 2008.

    The fact that the City has been charging non-profits came to light on April 28 when Claremont Finance Manager Adam Pirrie gave a presentation his efforts to increase the City's revenue by applying fees to businesses and organizations that had been overlooked in the past. Pirrie's efforts have increased the amount collected in business fees by $40,000, from $725,000 to $765,000. Looks like we'll be giving some of that back now.

    A number of non-profits in town squawked at the fees. In response, the City Council expressed a desire for a non-profit exemption.

  • The council will consider raising its 2009-10 appropriations limit by about $738,000 t0 $29,314,127. The City is required by state law to come up with this limit.

  • The council will receive its annual Landscaping and Lighting District engineer's report and will be asked to keep the LLD at $147.12 per parcel since the Consumer Price Index remained essentially flat from March, 2008, to March, 2009.

  • The council will also debate the elimination of the Claremont Trolley. Chaffey College is interested in taking over the trolley's lease, so that would provide the City with an easy out. However, expect members of the Claremont Community Foundation, including former Claremont mayor Judy Wright, to fight for keeping the trolley. They want it for their own use once or twice a year for fundraisers and don't really mind the fact that they are taking money away from other city transit programs like Dial-A-Ride for their favorite toy.

    The CCF's main talking point will be the one you've seen in letters to the Claremont Courier: The trolley just has a routing problem. Change the route, and more people will ride it. We've written in the past why this is a foolish notion.

    Expect Sam Pedroza and Linda Elderkin to follow the CCF's lead and vote to keep the trolley but use a different route.

  • City Manager Jeff Parker has a report to the council on the intersection at Indian Hill Blvd. and 10th St. The report also discusses the city-wide crosswalk policy (yes, there is one). Parker tries to point the finger at the Protect Our Neighborhood group for delaying the removal of the 10th St. lighted crosswalk in January because the said any change would require an initial study under CEQA.

    This, of course, does not explain the 3-1/2 year delay by the City in changing the crosswalk after the Traffic and Transportation Commission reviewed the matter in October, 2005.

    Parker's report also said that with left and right turns at that intersection, the crosswalk is not the only contributing factor in accidents.

  • The council will move forward with site selection for a new police station. Three sites are under consideration: The current site on Bonita Ave., the Corey Nursery site at 1650 N. Monte Vista, and the former affordable housing site at the southeast corner of Base Line Rd. and Towne Ave.

    Actual construction on the new station will have to wait until funding becomes available.