Claremont Insider: June 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Anthony Adams and Rain Gutters

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Two advertising pieces made it onto our desk here at Insider Central in the past few weeks. One was from Assemblyman Anthony Adams. It wasn't really personal to Adams--it looked like something put out by the Assembly leadership. This piece had the weirdest lead-off question, coming from a Republican assemblyman: "1. Do you favor or oppose the State offering additional incentives for green jobs that benefit the environment and the economy?"

Yeah, that's our top priority for sure. Green jobs. Which is why we're pretty sure Adams had nothing to do with the production of the piece.

The other brochure came from a company that manufactures a patented rain-gutter cover. It wasn't the green-ness of this idea that caught our eye, nor was it any invidious comparison between Adams and a rain gutter.

Rather, it was the smiling people, chins and eyes slightly uplifted, in the one case happy that the State would be putting jobs first and in the other case happy that their rain gutters would remain clean. This must be something that is taught these days in Advertising School: smiling and attractive people will sell anything. It occurred to us that these photos were nearly interchangeable: neither really had much to do with the subject at hand. They sure looked similar to us.

Friday, June 26, 2009

"Where Is It Now?" Department

Mayor Calaycay moved to introduce an ordinance... blah, blah, blah..."waive further reading, place the ordinance on first reading and refer it to the City Attorney for not less than five days..."

Those magic words were uttered on April 28, 2009, two months ago, for the ordinance regarding permits for motion picture, television, and still photography production.

A few days later we commented on the hidden brilliance of this ordinance, creating as it would an income stream of some quarter-million dollars annually from the town's fat-cat realtors for those property pictures in the ads on the back pages of the Courier.

So we are wondering, two months later, where the ordinance got to?

Correct us if we are wrong, but that ordinance hasn't ever come back.

Really, when you refer an ordinance to the City Attorney for "not less than five days" do you really mean, "take your time, sit on it, incubate it, hatch it, nurture it, and bring it back when it is a strong and healthy chick of an ordinance"?

Every day this ordinance is not adopted is costing the City nearly $1,000 in easy realtor money.

Let's get on with it.


This has been an editorial opinion by the Claremont Insider.
Qualified representatives of opposing viewpoints
are invited to get their own blog and post their wrong views there.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's All About the $$$

We were a little unsure about what to think about the State budget crisis, what with talk of take-aways and all, so we went back to the League of Cities' website,
to try to buck up our resolve.

At first it was comforting to hear Mayor Corey Calaycay, Mayor Pro Tem Linda Elderkin, Councilmember Peter Yao, and even Councilmember Sam Pedroza plead the case of a small San Gabriel Valley municipality to the giants who stand astride Sacramento.

However, the more we watched these pieces, the more wrong notes jarred our comfort. Being confirmed "McLuhanites" we know that the medium is the message, and so we examined the medium a bit more.

One trivial point jumps out right away. Those experts at the League of Cities don't even know Claremont's Assembly and Senatorial District. They show our Assemblymember as Norma Torres (it's Anthony Adams) and our State Senator as Gloria Negrete McLeod (it's Bob Huff). We've already pointed out that Linda Elderkin's bio makes her "Mayor" and not "Mayor pro tem".

Here are screen-grabs of our council making its case:

Peter says, "You and I both know it takes money to provide these services".

But who is this "Fifth Councilman"?--Eric Everhart, Vice President for Development for the Olson Company. The Olson Company are developers that do business in many cities. Several years ago they had an option on the "Courier" property just south of the tracks on College, and were going to build a mixed use development, but then lost heart when the economy went south. The City is now entering into a DDA with Jamboree Housing for a housing project on that site.

So, Save Your City is not much more than a media promotion to help those slopping at the public trough to keep what they have, and to get more if possible. Why else would the site include a developer pleading to Sacramento?

By the way, we were curious as to why each screen-grab above shows 530 videos showing. We would think that from time to time it might be 500 videos, or 489 videos or 541 videos. Turns out, that number is hard-wired into the page code and is really just there for aesthetic (or subliminal message) effect: "We've got lots of worthies telling Sacramento to take care of its own house..."

For the propeller heads out there, here is the page code for the Save Your City website that shows where the 530 number comes from:

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If you can't believe the identification of Linda Elderkin, if you can't believe the assembly and senate district identification, if you believe that the VP for Development of the Olson Company is any kind of elected official or "community leader" and if you can't believe the more or less gratuitous tout of videos showing, why believe the substance of the message?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dispute Halts Pissarro Sale

''Le Quai Malaquais et l’Institut'', 1903
Basler Zeitung image

The story of the Camille Pissarro painting we've been following took a strange twist in London yesterday. The painting, stolen from the family of Gisela Bermann-Fischer by the Nazis in 1938, was restituted to her and then placed for auction at Christie's Impressionist/Modern Evening Sale. The work was expected to fetch upwards of $2.46 million.

The Pissarro, which was the only piece in the auction that failed to sell [correction: of 44 lots offered, 30 sold. We regret the earlier error.], was removed from sale shortly before the auction began, according to an article posted on the Times of London's TimesOnline website. Apparently the Pissarro was one of two lots withdrawn prior to the sale.

The Times article states that the sale was halted because a nephew of Bermann-Fischer, one Itai Shoffman, was disputing the painting's restitution and sale. The article said that Shoffman is the grandson of Hildegard Fischer, who was the younger sister of Bermann-Fischer's mother Brigette. Shoffman claims that Hildegard was the black sheep of the family and that her heirs are entitled to half of the proceeds from the sale of the Pissarro:
According to Mr Shoffman, her grandson, Hildegard Fischer was the “black sheep of the family”. She had a disability and by the time she and Hedwig joined the Bermanns in America in 1941, she also had a daughter, Monika, later Mr Shoffman’s mother, born out of wedlock.

According to Christophe Paul, a lawyer in Berlin specialising in inheritance cases, a handwritten will from 1933 proves that her parents wanted their estate to be divided equally between Brigitte and Hildegard. A letter written in 1946 indicates that Hedwig wanted Hildegard to inherit the Pissarro if it was ever found.

Mr Shoffman told The Times that Ms Bermann-Fischer knew the other half of her family well but had excluded them from all matters relating to the Pissarro. He said: “It feels like such a deceitful act. She’s taking away the last remaining legacy of the family and holding it for her own benefit.”

The Times piece reports that the two parties were trying to negotiate a settlement on a split of the money from the sale and that Shoffman said he wanted 50% but was only offered 20%. We can't say at this point what all this means, though we do note that Gisela Bermann-Fischer did spend 500,000 Swiss francs and countless years of searching to recover the painting, so she might quite naturally feel a sense of entitlement to a larger piece of the pie.

We also wonder if the the disputed inheritance might have been a factor in the negotiations Claremont McKenna College history professor Jonathan Petropoulos and German art dealer Peter Griebert had with Gisela Bermann-Fischer, who has accused the two men of threatening her with the loss of her painting forever in their failed attempt to extract a finder's fee from her in January, 2007.

Petropoulos had an interesting quote in the March, 2008, article by CMC's Elise Viebeck in the Claremont Independent:
"I always endeavored to return the painting in question by Camille Pissarro to the person whom I believed was the rightful heir," [Petropoulos] said.

Could Petropoulos and Griebert have known about the other heir? The quote certainly seems to imply that Petropoulos may have questioned Bermann-Fischer's claim to the painting. If so, it's certainly possible that Petropoulos or Griebert or someone associated might have tried contacting Itai Shoffman. We hope we hear more about this aspect of the story in the future.

Council Efficiency Drive

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If brevity really is soul of wit, the Claremont City Council may soon reach Shakespearean (as opposed to their historically Polonian) heights of perception.

In checking the council's video archive, we noticed that the meeting times for that last four city council meetings have dwindled from six hours and 19 minutes on May 12 to a mere 46 minutes this past Tuesday. We don't know what has impelled this efficiency drive. Maybe it's budget limitations, or perhaps they're just getting better at their jobs.

In any case, at this rate, by September Claremont's council meeting videos will qualify for next year's 5 Second Film Festival.

Ravelers in Concert

We got some Raveler spam in the mail the other day. Looks like the band will be busy, with a concert tonight in San Dimas, beginning at 7pm. The Ravelers will also play a couple 4th of July concerts, one in La Puente and the other in Claremont:

Hey Now…

The Ravelers will be busy with summer-time concerts for the next couple of months, and we hope to see you at some of these events!

Here are the events that are open to the public over the next couple of weeks…

Wednesday, June 24
City of San Dimas Concert

---Civic Center Park, next to City Hall
---245 East Bonita Avenue
---San Dimas, CA 91773

The Ravelers play 7:00pm - 9:00pm
See the web site for full details...

Friday, July 3
La Puente Independence Day Celebrations and Fireworks Show!

---La Puente Park
---501 N Glendora Ave
---La Puente, CA 91744

The Ravelers play from 7:00pm -9:00pm before the fireworks.
See the web site for full details...

Saturday, July 4
Claremont Independence Day Celebrations and Fireworks Show!

---Pomona College Strehle Track Stadium
---Gates open at 6:30pm, tickets available at key spots around Claremont

The Ravelers play from 6:30pm -9:00pm before the fireworks.
See web site for full details...

There will be many more events coming, go to the Schedule page of The Ravelers web site to see what's up...

See you soon...

Hai, Pat, Martie, Rob
The Ravelers

Getting Ready for the 4th

The 4th of July will be upon us soon, which for Claremont means lots of things - a pancake breakfast, a 5K run/walk, the festival in Memorial Park with food, games, music, and the annual Speakers Corner, the 4th of July parade, and the evening fireworks show at Pomona College.

The City of Claremont's website has all the information about the events:

Rockin' Hoppin' 4th!

Celebrate the 61st Annual Independence Day Celebration in Claremont! Start the morning off with the Claremont Village Freedom 5000 Run/Walk hosted by the Claremont High School Cross Country Team. Hungry? Enjoy the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast. Tickets will be sold on site. Then stroll on over to the Official Opening Ceremonies to salute the flag and hear some inspiring words from our community leaders. Next, it's time to enjoy lively entertainment, music, children's games, water bounce houses, Willard Hunter Speaker's Corner, delicious food, and visit all the different non-profit booths. Get ready to enjoy the parade at 4 p.m. as we promenade Indian Hill in red, white, and blue style. Your evening is ready to go at Pomona College (corner of 6th and Mills) for the Amazing Firework's Sky Show and Concert featuring the Ravelers. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., so be sure to get your tickets in advance. Last year we sold out! Tickets are available at City Hall, Alexander Hughes Community Center, Chamber of Commerce, Von's, and Wolfe's Market, $6 presale and $8 at the door, if available. Visit for more information.

City Manager Jeff Parker's weekly CM report also had a list of the event:
July 4 Memorial Park Activities (840 N. Indian Hill Blvd.)

7 a.m. - 10 a.m. Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast
7:30 a.m. Claremont Village Freedom 5000 1K Walk
8 a.m. Claremont Village Freedom 5000 5K Run/Walk
10 a.m. Opening Ceremonies & Flag Raising
9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Festival (10 a.m. Food Booths Open)
11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Speakers Corner
4 p.m. Parade
6:30 p.m. Gates open for Ravelers Concert and Fireworks Show
(Pomona College, Strehle Track)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

City Council Meeting Tonight

The Claremont City Council meets tonight in the council chambers at 225 W. 2nd St. in the Claremont Village. You can watch all the action beginning at 6:30pm on the City's website.


The council will meet in a special closed session at 5:15pm to discuss the potential purchase of the water utility, currently provided by Golden State Water Co. Before anyone gets too excited, there doesn't seem to be any concrete action planned, though you never know what happens behind closed council doors.

Here's the closed session agenda. The Daily Bulletin had an article on the subject. The article, by Wes Woods II, quoted several councilmembers, including Sam Pedroza:

Councilman Sam Pedroza said the council expects to review several options, such as whether the city should take over its water provider or just continue to fight the water company's rising rates.

Pedroza said he brought the item to the council's attention because residents have been asking him about the increased rates.

In December, Claremont joined San Dimas, Apple Valley and Placentia in hopes of halting rising water rates charged by the water company.

"We've been talking about it for many, many years," Pedroza said. "Because of the water situation we're in and the economy, it's never going to be cheaper than what it is right now. We need to do something."


The regular session commences at 6:30pm with a couple ceremonial matters: a farewell to Claremont Unified School District Superintendent David Cash and a recognition of the David and Margaret Youth & Family Auxiliary Group's 38th Anniversary.

Tonight's regular session seems light, and the council may get out before 9:30 for a change. Here are a few items of interest:
  • A lot line adjustment for three parcels at 101 S. Mills Ave. This property is owned by the Claremont University Consortium. This appears to be the maintenance yard between 1st St. and the Metrolink tracks.

  • Institutional District parking standards. Staff is asking the council to affirm the direction the council has given regarding revisions to the parking standards for the areas in and around the Claremont Colleges. Staff wants to have the Municipal Code amendment and the necessary environmental review prepared by this fall.

  • A resolution in support of the League of California Cities mounting a legal challenge to the state's proposed money grab. We talked about this yesterday. The staff report says that Claremont could potentially lose $600,000 in transportation funds if the state borrows money from the Highway Users Tax Account, money set aside for local governments from the state's gasoline tax. The money is used for local street maintenance.

    As we noted yesterday, other area cities have already adopted the same type of resolution.

  • Senior apartment bonds. This is a request for the City to hold a hearing for the Claremont Villas under the federal Tax Equity and Financial Responsibility Act (TEFRA). The owner of the 154-unit senior housing complex, Claremont Senior Partners, LLP, wants to refinance and pay off its existing debt obligations in order to give the property 100% non-profit ownership.

    Claremont would bear no financial responsibility. The City simply has to hold the hearing for Claremont Senior Partners to be able to apply for the bonds. The City recently did the same thing for Western Christian Schools, and they have also held TEFRA hearings for Pilgrim Place and Claremont Manor.

Solis and Friends Honored

U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis (pictured, right) was back in the San Gabriel Valley last week to accept an award from the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.

Solis, and three others each received Jack Phillips Awards for their "outstanding contributions to the betterment of the San Gabriel Valley." The ceremony took place in the City of Industry last Thursday evening.

One of the other award winners was none other than former Claremont city manager Glenn Southard. We don't know about any betterment Southard contributed to the SGV, but ol' fellow was never shy about the betterment of Glenn Southard, at least in terms of his public compensation.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune covered the awards ceremony and had this to say about Southard's award:

Former Claremont mayor Judy Wright gave an award to Southard, who currently serves as city manager in Indio.

A founding member of the COG, Southard worked hard in the organization's early years to make sure it got off on the right foot, Wright said.

One thing is for sure: no one worked professional networking as well as Southard (left). He and his staffs exploited these things to no end in tireless efforts to get appointed to boards of organizations like the Municipal Managment Association of Southern California or the California City Management Foundation, which Southard also helped found.

You notice, when you look at some of these groups, that there are an awful lot of municipal vendors - like engineering and law firms - that either have employees on the groups' boards or that donate money to the associations. Once on the boards of these groups, Southard and his staff would leverage those networks to do things like find a new job if they wore out their respective welcomes, as Southard did when he fled Claremont for Indio.

Southard's betterment program for the City of Indio hasn't fared well, incidentally. The desert city faces a deficit of $14 million. Southard and Indio also face a $10.5 million lawsuit by the developer of a regional transportation center, and a recent Desert Sun article indicated that Southard may be up to his old tricks, promising one thing but meaning something else with the project. Here's a hint to our friends in the Coachella Valley: Compare notes.

In any event, it won't be long before Southard wins another award for his betterment of Indio. In the meantime, he and Hilda Solis can savor their Jack Phillips Awards.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hey, Sacramento, Hands Off, Say Cities

The Daily Bulletin has an article by Liset Marquez, who writes about Governor Schwarzenegger and the state legislature's threat to tap into gas tax revenues that are supposed to go to local governments for road maintenance and repairs.

Marquez writes that cities, counties, and the League of California Cities are mobilizing to sue the state if necessary, arguing that Sacramento would violate the state's constitution if it took those local gas tax dollars. Cities across California are passing resolutions in support of possible legal action:

To stop the state from seizing nearly $1 billion in gas tax funds from cities and counties, Ontario has agreed to allow its city attorney to work with the League of California Cities attorneys.

In the Inland Empire the cities of Rancho Cucamonga, Diamond Bar and Fontana have already passed similar resolutions, Speigel said.

Sixty-seven cities throughout the state have sided with the League. In the next couple of weeks at least 30 more cities will also pass resolutions, she said.

Claremont, too, will discuss passing such a resolution at the next City Council meeting tomorrow night.

Claremont Summer Events

Claremont's summer concerts in the park will begin next month. The local Kiwanis Club and the City host two summertime concert series in Claremont's Memorial Park. The Children's Concert Series begins Wednesday, July 8, at 7pm and runs through the end of July.

The Kiwanis and the City also host Monday Night Concerts in Park starting Monday, July 9. The Monday night concerts go from 7:30pm to 9:00pm.

Especially for the kiddies:

Children's Concert Series

Wednesday Nights 7:00pm in Memorial Park July 8th- July 29th

Join us for a summer to remember! This years Children's Concert Series is gearing up to be the best yet, with a variety of shows you and your family will enjoy. This fun and educational series is FREE and open to the community. We would like to thank the Kiwanis Club of Claremont for their continued support of the Children's Concert Series. The Kiwanis Club will be on site selling snacks and refreshments, which includes yogurt from 21 Choices.

2009 Children's Concert Schedule

* July 8 - Penelope 1 World Music & Puppets
* July 15 - Inland Valley Chorale
* July 22 - Cowboy Ken
* July 29 - The Happy Crowd

* Remember: Bring a picnic dinner, blankets and low chairs.
* Dogs are not allowed in City Parks other than Claremont Pooch Park.
* Alcoholic beverages are not allowed in any City Park.

And for everyone:
2009 Summer Monday Night Concert Series

Monday Nights 7:30pm - 9:00pm in Memorial Park

Concerts will begin on Monday, July 6th and will conclude on Monday, September 7th.
For information call (909) 399-5490.

The Claremont Monday Night Concert Series continues to be a stunning success, drawing 3,000-5,000 people each night. This 10-week series is sponsored by both the City of Claremont and the Claremont Kiwanis Club and features some of the best entertainment in the area. In an effort to appeal to a wide audience, the series features a diverse type of music while including a few traditional groups. Although the concert officially runs from 7:30-9:00pm, the concertgoers begin arriving as early as 6:00pm to select a space and enjoy dinner in the park. The Kiwanis Club offers a variety of concessions, from burgers, dogs and quesadillas to ice cream, popcorn, nachos, candy and drinks. Proceeds from the concessions fund the bands. This Monday Night Concert Series runs from July 6 - September 7, and is free and open to the public.

* Remember: Bring a picnic dinner, blankets and a low chairs.
* Dogs are not allowed in City Parks other than Claremont Pooch Park.
* Alcoholic beverages are not allowed in any City Park.

2009 Concert Schedule

* July 6 - LCR (Classic Rock)
* July 13 - Claremont Winds
* July 20 - Calypso Pirates (Reggae)
* July 27 - Suave (Latin/R&B)
* August 3 - The Ravelers (Classic Rock)
* August 10 - Yolanda Creole Woman (New Orleans)
* August 17 - All- American Wranglers (Country)
* August 24 - Reno Jones (Blues Rock)
* August 31 - Night Blooming Jazzmen (Dixielanc Jazz)
* September 7 - The Answer (Clasic Rock)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Saving Your City

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Claremont Mayor Pro Tem Linda Elderkin unknowingly received a promotion when she did a YouTube spot for a website called The site listed her as "Mayor Linda Elderkin."

Elderkin and three of her fellow councilmembers - Corey Calaycay (also described on the website as Mayor), Sam Pedroza, and Peter Yao - each taped short messages arguing against Governor Schwarzengger's budget proposal that would take $2 billion from money that is supposed to go to local governments.

You can find all four spots here.

Sam Pedroza's, incidentally, is by far the most watched of the four videos, but for some reason those hits are coming mostly from one residence on Cinderella Dr. in South Claremont.

State Dems Release Budget Plan

Democratic state legislators unveiled their counter-proposal to Governor Schwarzenegger's budget plan, which relies entirely on spending cuts and raiding local government funds to balance the projected $24.3 billion state budget deficit for 2009-10.

According to an article the Daily Bulletin, the Democratic plan would still cut $11 billion in services, but would also raise taxes and fees to the tune of $2.1 billion. Among these increase would be a $15 hike in the vehicle license fee, a 4.8% charge on property insurance premiums to pay for state-funded firefighting efforts, a 9.9% oil extraction tax, and a $1.50 a pack tax on cigarettes.

Among the cuts are $4.5 billion from K-12 education, $2 billion from state colleges and universities, and $490 million from community colleges. Health care, public safety, and human services will also take hits, though not as much as under the Governor's plan.

The plan also includes some gimmicky proposals, such as deferring state employee paychecks by one day, from June 30, 2010, to July 1, in order to push about $1.2 billion in spending into the next fiscal year.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dept. of Found Art


Le Quai Malaquais et l'Institut, 1903,
Camille Pissarro
Photo Credit: ARTnews, Summer 2007

That Camille Pissarro painting that caused so much controversy last year for Claremont McKenna College history professor Jonathan Petropoulos was back in the news last week.

Some time last year, the painting, Le Quai Malaquais, Printemps, found its way back into the hands of its rightful owner, Gisela Bermann-Fischer. You'll recall that the painting had been looted by Nazis in Vienna in 1938 and didn't resurface until 2007, when it was discovered inside a Swiss bank safe controlled by Nazi art looter Bruno Lohse.


Bloomberg's Catherine Hickley reports that having at last been reunited with the Pissarro, Bermann-Fischer now plans to sell the painting at auction through Christie's International in London. Christie's estimates the painting's worth to be between £900,000 - £1,500,000 (around $1.48 million to $2.46 million).

The Pissarro will be sold next Tuesday, June 23, 2009, in the Impressionist/Modern Evening Sale, which marks the start of the summer art season.

Interestingly, we learn from the Hickley article that the painting has been renamed Le Quai Malaquais et l'Institut. We're not sure of the reasons for the new title, but it seems to be justified by a letter Pissarro wrote to his son on March 30, 1903, announcing a new “series” of paintings from an Eastward-looking window of the Hôtel du Quai Voltaire which include both the Seine and the dome of the Institut de France. Although he doesn’t say so in his letter, Pissarro’s decision to paint the Institut de France—from which the academic painter, Jean-Léon Gérôme, launched his vitriolic criticisms of the Impressionists decades before—was probably not taken lightly by the painter, who used a particularly radical composition in this, his last Paris series.

The importance of Pissarro’s letter was not lost on Bruno Lohse and François Daulte, who quoted it in the 1984 Lausanne description of the painting. It’s also quoted in the auction catalogue on Christie's website. Although we are aware of only three surviving paintings in this series — one of them painted in morning sun and currently in a private collection, another in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg — the Fischer Pissarro has the youngest spring growth on the trees and turns out to have been painted first. Pissarro died later in 1903, making these the only Pissarro paintings which show significant portions of Paris’s Left Bank and academic quarter.

You may want to go ahead and spend the $40, plus $7 shipping and tax, for the catalogue. It may be a collectible someday and it holds a good deal of local interest. You can order an auction catalogue from Christie's in New York at 1-800-395-6300, Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 5:00pm local time.

Christie's apparently no longer automatically sends a follow-up letter containing a list of prices realized at the actual auction, but you can request one be sent (free of charge) when ordering a catalog. Auction catalogs are often more collectible if this information is kept with them.

The auction description describes the painting as "property restituted to Gisela Bermann Fisher" and tells us some remarkable details about the painting’s history. In the provenance section, we learn that the painting went to Pissarro's son, Georges Manzana-Pissarro, following the painter’s death in 1903. Within just a few years, Manzana-Pissarro had sold the painting to the Bernheim-Jeune gallery (pointedly not to Durand-Ruel, his father's longtime dealer, with whom Pissarro had broken just before 1903). Bermann-Fischer's grandfather, Samuel Fischer, acquired the painting in 1907 on the advice of the legendary art dealer Paul Cassirer, and it remained in the family until the Nazis confiscated the painting.

After that, the trail gets a little murky. According to the catalogue materials, the work was sold in 1940 by the Dorotheum, the collaborationist Vienna auction house, as a painting by "Paul Emile [sic] Pissarro." Two other notorious Nazi art dealers, Eugen Primavesi of Vienna and Hans W. Lange of Berlin, handled the painting before it was passed on to Bruno Lohse, though no date of sale (or exchange) is listed. The catalogue says that the painting went to storage in Zurich (no date is given) and was then restituted to Bermann-Fischer as part of a settlement agreement with Schönart Anstalt, the trust in Liechtenstein that had been controlled by Lohse.

The literature section lists several references to the painting not typically seen in auction listings:
Elise Viebeck's March 13, 2008, piece in Claremont McKenna College's Claremont Independent didn't make the Christie's catalogue, but perhaps should have. Her article led to Petropoulos' resignation as director of the CMC Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights, one of CMC's ten endowed research institutes. Last month, CMC Trustees voted to change the name of the institute to The Center for Human Rights Leadership, though according to a press release on the CMC website "its focus on human rights and the Holocaust won't change."

Viebeck won the Eric Breindel Prize, arguably the most prestigious honor in college journalism, for her groundbreaking reporting on the Pissarro affair, and she was the first to illuminate the role of the Art Loss Register in the case. Unlike the previous year's winner of the Breindel prize, also from CMC, Viebeck's award received no mention on the CMC website. Why was that?

The catalogue's exhibition list is certainly brief. There is only one entry, the 1984 exhibit in Lausanne, Switzerland, which we have speculated may have been a trial run by Lohse to see if anyone was watching for the painting. Other than that, the painting has never before been shown in public (though it would have been seen in the Berlin home of Samuel Fischer by many cultural notables of the era, including future Nobel laureates Thomas Mann and Hermann Hesse, both published by S. Fischer Verlag).

Catherine Hickley's Bloomberg article noted that Bermann-Fischer seems to be thinking the same thing we did regarding the Lausanne exhibition:
“I don’t think we’ll ever find out from where to where the painting was transported over the years,” Bermann-Fischer said. “It truly was hidden. I think the exhibition at l’Hermitage Lausanne in 1984 was a test run, to see whether the original owners or any heirs were still on the lookout for the paintings and would make a claim.”

We also found a June 9 World Radio Switzerland interview with Bermann-Fischer in which she said much the same thing. Here's the transcript:

The interview gives some insight into why, after so many years of searching, Bermann-Fischer would now want to sell the Pissarro:
Vincent Landon, WRS: Why are you auctioning it?

Gisela Bermann-Fischer: Why shouldn’t I?

Vincent Landon, WRS: After spending so long, sort of, tracking it down?

Gisela Bermann-Fischer: Well I think looking for it, after it had been looted from my parents’ house in Vienna, certainly it was not the aim of selling it, it was a finding it—that was my aim. It was like looking up my own history, or a heritage. I was quite small when we fled Berlin, and later on we fled Vienna, and then we fled again [to Sweden and then on to the U.S., per the recent Bloomberg article].

So, let’s say, a lot of things I didn’t know… So it was not just a search for this painting, in order to go ahead and then make it [in]to money, it was sort of searching what happened in those times. And they didn’t just loot this painting, they looted everything that was in the house—my rule[??] books, my piano exercise books—everything was gone. And from there on I realized it was a loss altogether for me, too: the friends, and the house, and my bed, and my home. So that kept me going, to see ‘how did the Nazis go about all of this?’


The Bloomberg article also tells us that the safe in which the Pissarro was stored for so many years was sealed by prosecutors "as part of a continuing three-nation probe into associates of Lohse suspected of extortion and money-laundering." It goes on to say that the two men who approached Gisela Bermann-Fischer in 2007 remain under investigation by German authorities:
The men, an art dealer and an art historian, are under investigation on suspicion of extortion, according to Munich prosecutor Hans-Joachim Lutz. The dealer is also under investigation for money-laundering and breach of trust.

Though the two Lohse associates aren't named in the article, the only two men who had such a meeting with Bermann-Fischer would have been Munich art dealer Peter Griebert and CMC's Jonathan Petropoulos, who strictly speaking is a professor of history, not an academically-trained art historian. You may recall they were initially acting on behalf of the Art Loss Register, of which Christie's is, ironically, a part-owner.*

The ALR was set up to allow victims of Nazi looting to register their art works pro-bono in order to aid in their restitution. According to a March, 2008, Jewish Chronicle article, Griebert and Petropoulos had been hired by ALR in the hopes that his connections to Lohse could help them land a commission for helping recover the Pissarro.

At some point between the time Gisela Bermann-Fischer registered the Pissarro with ALR and the meeting that she had with Griebert and Petropoulos in Zurich in January, 2007, ALR changed its policies on providing information regarding WWII-era looted art. ALR was now requiring a substantial finder's fee. Bermann-Fischer maintains that when she balked at the paying that fee, Griebert and Petropoulos tried to cut their own deal with the implied threat that if Bermann-Fischer did not pay up, the painting might disappear forever.

Although an internal investigation by CMC cleared Professor Petropoulos of any apparent wrongdoing, Elise Viebeck at CMC's Claremont Independent obtained emails from Petropoulos to Griebert that seem to support Bermann-Fischer's account. Viebeck quoted parts of the emails in her own article:
"If Frau Fischer and Dr. Kueckelmann choose not to engage us, then we cannot say what will happen to the painting," Petropoulos wrote on February 6, 2007. "It would be difficult to give her the names and locations without any compensation. That just won't happen."

"[H]er response is so irrational, it is hard to make sense of it all," he added in an email the next day. "She simply cannot recover the painting without us. At least, I don't know if she would discover on her own the identity of the holders and their current location. We need to keep that in mind. She needs us."

Petropoulos insisted, further, on their original demand for 18 percent. "As we have stressed, we had a deal with Frau Fischer for this amount (and we also hold all the cards right now)," he wrote on February 15, [2007].

Despite CMC's efforts to exonerate Petropoulos, if the information in the most recent Bloomberg article is accurate, it would appear the German investigation into Griebert's and Petropoulos' dealings with Bermann-Fischer is ongoing. Whatever the case, one thing is clear: the legacy of the Holocaust remains with us, even today, sixty-four years after the end of the war in Europe. Catherine Hickley says in her recent Bloomberg article that an almost incomprehensible number of artworks were looted by Nazis from victims like Bermann-Fischer's family - well over half a million pieces. The Art Loss Register has 70,000 missing works still listed. This was the largest art heist in modern history, and it has gone largely unpunished. As Bermann-Fischer put it in the Hickley article:
“There are probably thousands of paintings, still in safes, waiting for the passing away of the last possible claimants,” Bermann-Fischer said.

Bermann-Fischer's quest for the Pissarro may be over, but for many other families, the search goes on. In her World Radio Switzerland interview, Bermann-Fischer reminisced about another lost heirloom:
Vincent Landon, WRS: Where did this painting hang when you were a child? Can you remember it hanging in any…

Gisela Bermann-Fischer: Well, it was in a living-dining room of the house, lovely little old house in Vienna. And there were several paintings on the wall in this dining room. At the time people hung paintings very high up on the walls—I don’t know why—and to me of course being quite small, it seemed even higher. The perspective was very weird. So what I remembered about the painting was more or less the bottom of the painting, but it didn’t interest me that much. There was a Corot there, with a tremendous red flower—that I remembered even more vividly.

* * * * *

*In spite of the nearly 70 years searching for her painting, Gisela Bermann-Fischer (we've decided) must be very forgiving - or tolerant - to choose Christie's as her auctioneer. Not only does Christie's (which is privately-held) have a financial interest in Art Loss Register, which was keen to exploit Petropoulos' relationship to Bruno Lohse in an effort to obtain a lucrative finder's fee, but the auction house twice put on the block the Corot that had until recently been in Lohse's secret Zurich vault with the stolen Pissarro. Femme assise, tenant une Mandoline, a study painted by Corot early in his career, failed to find a minimum bidder at Christie's London Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on June 20, 2006, where it was offered as the "Property of a European Collector" with an estimate of $375,000 - $560,000 (£200,000 - £300,000). The Corot was offered a second time by Christie's on April 12, 2007, this time in New York in an auction of 19th Century European Paintings and Orientalist Art, but despite the Corot's significantly-reduced estimate of $200,000-$300,000 it once again failed to find a minimum bidder. So who is the mysterious "European Collector" trying to sell a painting from Lohse's secret safe? We're sure there's an explanation, and can't help but think the auction house has been as cooperative with European investigators as it has been with Gisela Bermann-Fischer in preparing next Tuesday's sale of her Pissarro.

Femme assise, tenant une Mandoline (1826-1828),
Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


California's elected officials have been so preoccupied with the current budget crisis that they haven't begun to grapple with the issue of public employee pensions, which pose perhaps the greatest long-term threat to state and local governments' pocketbooks.

Years of overly generous, unrealistic pension benefits will come home to roost one day soon, as one of our readers observed:

DATE: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 8:43 AM
SUBJECT: officially a WTF!?!?!?
TO:Claremont Buzz

"WE want to show the governor we're angry," he said. "The union is fed up, employees are fed up."

The SF Chronicle has a database that lets readers look up the 8,000 city employees who make six-figure salaries. 3 at 50 is bankrupting governments. The state's payroll grew last year, while the budget crisis emerged in pretty stark terms. Bridget Effing Healy has a six-figure pension, and Brian Desatnik and Lisa Prasse make...well, I can't even finish that sentence, 'cause it gives me an instant headache.

And so on. I appreciate the work of a lot of government employees. Cal Fire is a terrific agency, and a Highway Patrol officer saved my life once, at considerable risk to his own. But my GOD -- government employees are fed up? "Stop, uh, paying us higher salaries than comparable employees in the private sector! And quit imposing your generous pensions on us! Don't you see how angry we are?"

Ask them again in two years.

California Placed on Negative Credit Watch

The credit rating agency Standard & Poors placed the state of California on a negative credit watch yesterday due to Sacramento's inability to deal with its $24 billion deficit. California already has the lowest credit rating of any of the 50 states.

The Sacramento Bee's Capitol Alert had this information

The credit watch notification on general obligation and lease-revenue bonds reflects "our assessment of the state's projected depletion of cash by the end of July 2009 absent the adoption of a significant revision to the fiscal 2010 budget," S&P said in a statement.

"Although we continue to believe the state retains a fundamental capacity to meet its debt service, insufficient or untimely adoption of budget reforms serve to increase the risk of missed payments in our view," the notice continued.
If the state cannot balance the budget soon, California will run out of cash some time in July. Investors holding California general obligation bonds and lease-revenue bonds would not only lose out on income but would see the value of their bonds crater if the state starts missing payments to bondholders.

S&P seems to be telling the state that business as usual will not do, something everyone other than our state legislators and the special interests backing them realize.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Padua Theatre Misplaces Guest

The weekend crime wave seems to have moved north from Foothill Blvd.

We've heard from several readers that late Saturday night the fire department received a 911 dispatch to the newly reopened Padua Hills Theatre where a wedding reception was being held.

The 911 call came from a woman whose drunken son, apparently an adult, had wandered off from the theatre and disappeared. The fire department personnel must have had some trouble locating the missing man because a Pomona police helicopter had to be called in to flash its searchlight over the area. The police call went on for about 2-1/2 hours, from a little before midnight to 2:30am, with the helicopter flashing its light all over the area. From what we've heard, police made an arrest for public intoxication, but we don't know if that was the missing guy or one of the other reception guests.

You can probably expect more such incidents (and the attendant costs for police and fire) with the theatre usage ramping up greatly from past years now that the theatre's refurbished. You might even expect a fire or two from people chucking their smokes into the Wilderness Park brush from that new terrace as they admire the view.

This incident is certainly a change from what we might have guessed would happen. People had wondered about drunk drivers leaving the theatre at night and causing accidents or striking pedestrians in the residential areas surrounding the theatre. No one bothered to think about the need to protect the drunks from themselves!

At least they can sleep it off quietly in the chamise and California buckwheat with no one to bother them other than the coyotes and the occasional mountain lion. And, too, it's good to have the City, Arteco Partners (the company operating the theatre), and Chantrelles (Arteco's catering company) on notice about all these potential liabilities their property presents - car and pedestrian accidents, increased fire danger, missing partygoers - though that last one might more properly fall under the heading "Natural Selection."

We're assuming, of course, that no harm really befell the missing gentleman. One would assume we'd have heard about it if he were still unaccounted for, unless the Claremont PD wanted things hushed up. This was, after all, just one day before Claremont Heritage's big soirée at the same location and only one week after the theatre's reopening.

Count on hearing (or not hearing) about more of the same in future years. That's just the inevitable and unfortunate downside to the Padua Theatre's location, situated as it is on a dark hillside surrounded by single-family homes.

Tuesday Evening Crime Report

Project THINK, which offers a summer enrichment program for K-8 children, had office at 555 W. Foothill Blvd. burglarized some time between Friday evening and Saturday morning, the Daily Bulletin reports.

The unidentified thieves stole 15 of the program's laptop computers. The was no damage to the building itself, according to the Bulletin article, which went on to say:

"There's probably nothing (else) of value," said Susan Warren, who co-founded and co-directs the program with Kay Conley. "They didn't touch the old-school computers. They knew to go for the laptops."

Project Think, which is in its 29th year, is an active-learning summer program for preschoolers to eighth-graders.

During two three-week sessions, the program delves into several subjects such as computers, art history and appreciation, language arts, performing arts and science.

The nonprofit acquired its computers more than three years for $500 each through a program at Azusa Pacific University. Warren is a professor at the university.

If you or someone you know is looking to upgrade your own laptop, you might consider donating your old one to Project THINK. You can reach them here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Blue Flu Coming Today

An article in the Daily Bulletin warned of a possible flu outbreak in Southern California. Don't worry, though, unless you're a state employee, you don't have much exposure risk.

The Bulletin article says that state employees may stage a sick out today to protest ongoing furloughs and future job cuts:

"The blue flu hits Monday," said Fernando Gandera, a Caltrans employee in San Bernardino. "We're not taking this sitting down anymore." [Well, yes, it sounds like you are. -ed.]

Gandera, a local steward for the Service Employees International Union, which represents about 95,000 California employees, said about 1,500 workers in Southern California plan to take today off.

He has said employees will be coming down with either "blue flu" - a nickname derived from sick-outs called by police officers - or "grizzly flu" - a reference to the grizzly bear on California's flag.

"WE want to show the governor we're angry," he said. "The union is fed up, employees are fed up."

Sounds to us as if the SEIU may be overestimating its clout, especially in the wake of some serious recent scandals. SEIU members aren't the only ones fed up. The people who've been paying their salaries may yet have a say if they continue to overreach.

Torres Fiddles, Sacramento Burns

Now that former Pomona mayor Norma Torres (pictured, left) is settled into her job as the representative for the state's 61st Assembly District, she seems to feel comfortable enough to speak to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce last Friday about the state's budget crisis.

Torres strongly opposes any cuts in state services. Her position comes as no surprise, given the fact that most of the money that backed Torres' campaign last year came from organized labor, particularly the Service Employees International Union and government workers' organizations.

According to the Daily Bulletin's coverage last Saturday, Torres believes that rather than the Draconian sort of cuts in state government proposed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, California needs to make structural changes in Sacramento's budget process to ensure the state's long-term viability:

"I began with, 'Why don't you start with the realization that probably none of you are going to be back here next year?' " after the November elections, Lockyer recalls.

"That's a very liberating thought, and with it you can get a lot done."

He acknowledges: "They didn't stand up and applaud."

Speaking to members of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce of Friday morning, Torres, D-Ontario, said elected officials should "address the root of the problem," rather than filling the hole.

"The changes we make for the long term can help our economy," Torres said. "We don't just want to balance the budget, we want to fix the root of the problem."

Torres she and a couple of "freshman" assemblymembers are looking to make these changes.

The goal is to look at the foundation of the state budget so that elected officials do not find themselves in the same predicament years from now, Torres said.

All well and good, but Torres, in the Bulletin piece at least, offered no details on what changes she would propose. She didn't mention tax hikes or borrowing, but those would have to be part of the answer if she isn't going to cut services. Torres had better speak up quickly. This is, after all, now a $24 billion (and rising) problem that must be settled in the next two weeks if California is to avoid running out of cash.

Apparently, Torres doesn't read the Los Angeles Times or attend her Democratic caucus meetings. The Times' George Skelton had a column last week in which he reported on some comments State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, a Democrat, made to state Democratic legislators at the invitation of Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles). Skelton wrote:
Lockyer reminded the lawmakers that voters are very angry. "They want you to solve the problem. And if you don't solve the problem you're going to get kicked out of office, so you might as well solve the problem."

"Fair or not, people blame you" for 12 years of flowing red ink, Lockyer continued. "You're not going to get reelected. Just put the politics out of your brain."

Lockyer's lecture was confirmed by a caucus attendee, who didn't want to be identified because there's a gag order on such meetings. "He was very forceful."

That might be the best advice ever given to any group of politicians, though like a lot of good advice it will probably be ignored by politicos such as Torres who are more interested in acquiring and maintaining their fiefdoms than they are in actual governance. What meaningful thing could someone like Lockyer, who is a former state attorney general and former state Senate leader, have to tell Torres and the SEIU?

Really, even you or I could do a better job of budget balancing than Torres. If you don't believe it, try for yourself on on the LA Times' budget balancer.

Pilgrims Honored

Pilgrims were back in the news yesterday. Not in the way you might think.

Pilgrim Place honored Al and Ruby Beilbys as the retirement community's 2009 Volunteers of the Year. The Daily Bulletin quoted Pilgrim Place spokesperson Sue Likens talking about the recipients:

....Likens said volunteers who serve in a variety of capacities usually are recognized, but this year it was decided to honor the Beilbys, who together represent 26 years of service.

"Al is a retired Pomona College professor who has served on our board and as treasurer/financial coordinator for years and Ruby has used her expertise as a professor of food and nutrition at Cal Poly Pomona to help us for many years," said Likens, director of communications for Pilgrim Place.

"We have support from the community, with at least 1,000 people helping out alone at the annual Pilgrim Place Festival. This year we just couldn't overlook the time and energy the Beilbys give us."

Together, the couple has served on many committees always with an eye toward helping the community wherever it could. During the years when Ruby's mother lived at Pilgrim Place, both husband and wife served as unofficial advocates for quality resident care, she said.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Padua Theatre Open for Business

The Padua Theatre reopened last weekend after being closed all winter and spring for earthquake retrofitting and other renovations. The remodeling work is being done by Arteco Partners, the same company that completed similar adaptive reuse projects with the Pomona Fox and Claremont Packing house.

The Daily Bulletin's David Allen took a tour of the theatre last week and spoke with Jerry Tessier, one of Arteco's principals. Allen described the renovations in his column:
Tessier's Arteco Partners spent $4 million and five months doing seismic strengthening, adding fire sprinklers and alarms, replacing every inch of plumbing and wiring and bringing the buildings up to code, including handicap accessibility.

Vintage elements such as wall sconces and tables have been repaired and the original theater screen featuring a map of Mexico is in place - although Tessier couldn't find the right rope to pull to show it to me.

The theater interior is quaintly rustic, with poured-in-place concrete walls and an exposed-beam ceiling of hand-chiseled wood.

The interior can be configured for banquets or performances, and photo opportunities for weddings - fountains, benches, a gazebo - dot the complex.

Another addition is a broad terrace overlooking the Claremont Wilderness Park. It offers a breathtaking view of rolling hills and canyons.

Allen also wrote about the theatre's history with characteristic irreverence:
Padua used to be an artists' colony and the theater grew out of that tradition. For most of the theater's active life, a troupe called the Mexican Players, sponsored by Herman and Bess Garner, put on productions to introduce Southern Californians to Mexican dress, songs and culture.

Sounds a bit corny to our modern sensibilities, but in its heyday Padua was popular and surprisingly well known.

The Garners owned a good deal of the land around the theatre and sold off lots to people like Millard Sheets, Milford Zornes, Albert Stewart, Harrison Macintosh, and Betty Ford, area artists who all built homes and studios on the long hill where the theatre sits.

David Allen also informs us that Claremont Heritage has sold 250 tickets to a fundraiser tonight at the theatre, a fitting location for the local historical society whose offices are located in the Garner House in Claremont's Memorial Park.

Claremont Heritage and amateur historian Judy Wright have been the primary force behind the deal with Arteco, just as they were the main forces pushing the ill-conceived Claremont Trolley. Judy has written extensively about the theatre and the Garners, whom she has elevated to the highest pedestal within the Claremont founders pantheon.

Wright and company have made much of the painstaking care and attention to detail employed in the theatre's restoration, though as is Judy's wont, she's employed a good deal of revisionism. For instance, Herman Garner would almost certainly have disapproved of things like the 4,000 square foot terrace addition or the serving of alcohol. Garner was a strong supporter of the temperance movement - recall that Claremont itself was a dry town until the late 60's.

Claremont Heritage's nostalgia for the theatre's Mexican Players also ignores the fact that when Garner founded his artist community it had explicit written prohibitions against non-whites owning property. That's right, it was segregated (a little secret Judy would rather not discuss).

Sure, the Garners' temperance and the racial attitudes were products of their era (major league baseball was still segregated at that time), but one cannot pretend to be a historian without documenting all of the history, even the parts that make one uncomfortable.

That said, if you didn't shell out $89 for a ticket to tonight's Claremont Heritage Gala, David Allen says you have several upcoming opportunities to check out the refurbished theatre. The Claremont Chamber of Commerce will have their mixer July 8 and there will be an open house July 12 from 5pm to 8pm.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Claremont LWV News

Wes Woods II posted a couple entries related to our local League of Women Voters chapter in the Daily Bulletin's Claremont Now blog.

The first post announced a forum on climate change and water issues next Saturday, June 20, from 8:30am to noon in the Padua Room of the city's Alexander Hughes Center. The Hughes Center is located at 1700 Danbury Rd.

The LWV will host the forum, and Woods writes that it is co-sponsored by Sustainable Claremont and funded by grants from the national LWV and Oxfam America. Woods' blog post has some information on the speakers:

Speakers include Dr. Bill Patzert, oceanographer and climatologist, the "prophet of California climate."

In a news release, Patzert was described as "Known for studying how Earth's oceans affect our weather and global climate and govern El Nino/La Nina weather phenomena. A 26 year Jet Propulsion Laboratory employee, he has dramatically improved long-term global weather and climate forecasts for Southern California. He will discuss the impacts of longer term climate trends and global warming. Topic: "The Climate is A-Changin': California's Future Ain't What It Used TO Be.'"

The second speaker is Celeste Cantu, General Manager of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA).
Seating is limited, and reservations are required. You can reserve a spot by calling (909) 624-9457 or by emailing

* * * * *

The other LWV news posted on Claremont Now was the presentation of the Claremont LWV's Ruth Ordway Award to former Claremont mayor Ellen Taylor. The award, according to the LWV press release quoted by Woods, is given annually by the LWV to an "outstanding member of our community."

The LWV press release said:

"It is often difficult to recognize one particular leader among the many women and men, LWVers or not, who have given outstanding service to the Claremont Community. This year our recipient is an active LWV member with a history of diverse and effective leadership and her selection by the committee was unanimously enthusiastic.

"A native of Massachusetts and a graduate of Skidmore College, she worked as a social worker for many years before coming to Claremont over thirty years ago. Not one to be shy or hesitant, Ellen Taylor soon began to be involved in the community, and involved, indeed, she continued to be.

Indeed, shy (as well as selfless and humble) is not a word that we would associate with Taylor. Woods' blog entry quoted Taylor's email comments to Woods on the Ordway Award:
Taylor, in an e-mail, said: "I consider receiving this to be a great honor, one that I do not take lightly, since the people who have won the award in the past are some of my role models. I am humbled to be recognized by the League."

You might remember that Taylor's good friend, Sandy Baldonado, another former Claremont mayor received the LWV's Ruth Ordway Award two years ago. Like Taylor, Baldonado decided not to run for re-election after making some rather pointed comments about the Claremont electorate following the failure of the Parks and Pastures assessment district.

Council Hosts Neighborhood Forum Tuesday

Claremont's City Council will hold one of its neighborhood meetings this coming Tuesday evening. Come on out and meet your neighbors and talk to a couple of your council representatives.

The city's online calendar has all the particulars:

City Council Neighborhood Forum - City Yard

Tuesday, June 16, 7:00 PM
1616 Monte Vista Avenue
Downstairs Conference Room
(909) 399-5460

Council Members are also hosting a series of Neighborhood Forums. Neighborhood Forums give residents from different neighborhoods the opportunity to talk with City Council Members in a relaxed and informal setting. Neighborhoods can discuss issues that are important to them, air concerns, share ideas, ask questions and get the latest information about topics and projects that are specific to each neighborhood. Although forums are scheduled for specific neighborhoods, you do not have to live in that immediate area to attend.

Friday, June 12, 2009

More Water Rationing News

Like the rest of us, you probably received a notice in the mail today from Golden State Water Company regarding a public meeting next Wednesday, June 17, at 6:30pm. The meeting will allow the water company to explain their proposed mandatory water rationing plan.

You may want to pay attention because there are fines of $50 to $300 that can be imposed for violations, depending on which of the seven stages of water rationing we happen to be at. The conditions listed seem to track the city's proposed water conservation ordinance.

The City of Claremont's website carried this notice, along with a link to the text of the mailing:

Public Meeting on Staged Mandatory Water Rationing

Golden State Water Company (GSWC) filed Advice Letter 1332-W requesting authority from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to institute a staged mandatory rationing plan (Plan). The proposed Plan would only go into effect when specific criteria, detailed in the Plan, are met. A Public meeting will be held on June 17, 2009 at Double Tree Hotel, Sequoia Room, 555 W. Foothill Boulevard, Claremont, CA, to explain the rate process and to receive public input.

GSWC customers who would like to provide any other information or comments regarding this requested increase, should write to the CPUC at the address below.

Written public comment by GSWC customers is very much desired by the CPUC and may be sent to the CPUC's Water Division at 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102, 3rd Floor, Room 3102, or e-mailed to Please refer to Golden State Water Company's Advice Letter No. 1332-W in any communications.

View GSWC Manadatory Conservation Notice (Adobe Acrobat, 35KB)

The public is also invited to send written comments to the California Public Utilities Commission. The water company mailing gave this information:
Written public comment by GSWC customers is very much desired by the CPUC and may be sent to the CPUC's Water Division at 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102, 3rd Floor, Room 3102. Please refer to Golden State Water Company's Advice Letter No. 1332-W in any communications.

Wednesday, June 17, 6:30pm
Double Tree Hotel
555 W. Foohill Blvd.
Claremont, CA 91711