Claremont Insider: They're Baaaack!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

They're Baaaack!

The Claremont 400 don't rest long, nor do they take their losses very seriously. You have to grant them this much: they are persistent.

At last night's City Council, we noticed several of the traditional power brokers present or represented by their surrogates. For instance, Helaine Goldwater, the former Police Commission Chair and keeper of The List (the 400's index of all potential candidates for city committees, commissions, and candidates for City Council), was present and spoke about Oakmont School.

Speaking of Helaine, her unsuccessful candidate for the March City Council race, Bridget Healy (pictured, left), got a mention in Saturday's Claremont Courier. The Courier ran a letter from a few members of Claremont Heritage board (Ginger Elliot, former Claremont Human Services Commissioner Suzanne Hall, and Don Pattison), thanking the all the people who made the July 12 Padua Hills Theatre open house a success, among them:

In particular, former Mexican Players were there along with many others who had enjoyed meals and plays at the Padua Theatre during its heyday from 1930 to 1974. Thanks to Bridget Healy and the Friends of the Padua Hills Theatre, a newly formed group of neighbors and friends, who planned the open house.
The letter was notable for a couple omissions:
  • The Mexican Players and all Latinos (as well as any non-Caucasian) were barred by the racial restrictions from owning land around the Padua Theatre. Thanks for the entertainment, guys, but remember: Play, don't stay.

  • The letter also praised the shuttle service Claremont Heritage got to ferry open house guests from the overflow parking at Mills and Mt. Baldy Rd. What they didn't say, however, was that so many people (over 1,000, according the Heritage) showed at the theatre on July 12, that traffic backed down Padua Ave. to Mt. Baldy Rd. Cars couldn't turn around easily in the parking lot after it filled up, and the someone removed the barriades that were supposed to prevent people from parking along Via Padova in front of homes there. So traffic flowed out onto the neighborhood around the theatre.

    Naturally, no one took responsibilty for the mess, and all the parties - the City of Claremont, Claremont Heritage, and Chantrelles (one of the partners in the Padua Theatre) - pointed the finger of blame at each other.

History is once again erased in Claremont.

If past behavior is any indicator, the Claremont Heritage letter to the Courier would represent an opening salvo for a 2011 Healy campaign for council. The 400 usually gets their candidates to front for civic-minded organizations in order to add to their communitarian resumes (something that Healy notably lacked in the last election). If Healy is indeed thinking of running, you'll see a parallel effort by the 400 to attack the current council by getting hot-button issues on the council's agenda and through letters to the local papers.

The 400 strategy has always been to divide and conquer: talk up your candidate, talk down your opponents.

Our thinking on Healy hasn't changed much at all. She represents the worst of the Glenn Southard years, left the City to follow Southard to Indio when the going got tough for her boss, and returned in retirement after having looted Claremont, Indio, and Pomona to the tune of a $150,000-plus CalPERS pension thinking that she could get a free pass in her failed bid for a council seat.

The 400 are in Healy image rehab mode now, but they have 18 months to fix things and to spin whatever image they want. The question is, will people buy into it?

* * * * *

We saw an article in the Onion about a new Apple product, the invisible iPhone, that reminds us a lot about about the forgetfulness and gullibility of Claremont voters:
SAN FRANCISCO—In a move expected to revolutionize the mobile device industry, Apple launched its fastest and most powerful iPhone to date Tuesday, an innovative new model that can only be seen by the company's hippest and most dedicated customers.

"I am proud today to introduce to those who really, truly deserve it, our most incredible iPhone yet," announced Apple CEO Steve Jobs, extending his seemingly empty left palm toward the eagerly awaiting crowd. "Not only is this our lightest and slimmest model ever, but as any truly savvy Apple customer can clearly see, it's also the most handsome product we've ever designed."

The packed auditorium, which had been listening to Jobs in hushed reverence for several minutes, then erupted into applause, with hundreds of men and women suddenly jumping to their feet and shouting, "I can see it!" "Look, there it is!" and "God, it's so beautiful!"

Remember, voters: No clothes, no clothes.