Claremont Insider: March 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

APRIL FOOL!

All "facts" asserted here are lies used only for comedic effect
Remember, it's April Fool


Bridget Healy Back from the Dead:
Nominated to Chamber of Commerce Board


click to enlarge
Failed City Council candidate Bridget Healy, who really hasn't lived in Claremont for four years, and who doesn't own or operate a business in town, has been nominated to the Board of the Claremont Chamber of Commerce. "Why not?" quipped Chamber president Barbara Jefferson, a middle manager at the Claremont University Consortium, "Heckfire, I'm not a business person, and David Cash, CUSD superintendent, certainly isn't. Nor is Ann Joslin of the Botanic Garden. Sometimes these real business people get kooky ideas like a Transient Occupancy Tax isn't for them, or maybe the crazy thought that the Village shouldn't have a 'Business Improvement District'. That's why we need Bridget: to keep these folks out of the leadership positions and toeing the Claremont Chamber Party Line."

"Plus, we've got to give her something to do in town to burnish her resume for the next City Council election."

"Of course, we had to pack the board to make a place for her, so we are adding three new positions. Another guy from the Colleges, another non-retailer, and Bridget."

Said Maureen Aldridge, Chamber CEO, "It's quite like Parliament: The House of Lords, with Bridget's elevation, and the House of Commons, with the vulgar cash-register commoners. The cream will rise to the top, you know."

Word is, Bridget's first task is to "Hammer" through either the Transient Occupancy Tax or Bid'ness Improvment District, whichever incoming Chair and Former Mayor Paul Held decides he wants to go for.


* * * * *

These are just fantastic speculations and obvious fabrications motivated by a frenetic need to construct a quasi-humorous April Fool post on-deadline. We made all of this up. Nothing here has any bearing on reality. None at all. Really.

No, we mean it.


Monday, March 30, 2009

16, Meet 44; or Hello, Dali

One sometimes marvels at the surreal nature of the Inland Empire. Heck, no less a surrealist than David Lynch once made a feature with the I.E. in its title, though, as a fellow Insider has pointed out, you may not want to waste your time on that one.

What got us to musing on the surreal life was our posts on President Obama's visit here two weeks ago, particularly that pixilated close up of the Prez as he roamed Claremont and La Verne in Limo One:

Our President
from photo by Stephanie Arrelanes, University of La Verne's Campus Times

We've heard that the weight of the office of POTUS has an aging effect, leaving its occupants grayer and more frail on retiring from the White House than when they enter. We never noticed, though, how the Chief Executives also become less substantial or at least less resolved, digitally speaking.

For some reason, the effect is especially pronounced if the Prez in question hails from Illinois. Maybe it's the water:


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Got a Bee In Your Bonnet?

The Claremont Sunrise Rotary Club's "Phun Club" was the winner of the Fourth Annual Friends of the Claremont Library Spelling Bee. They reclaimed the title that they last won in 2007 and lost to the House of Ruth team in 2008.

The Phun Club won the grueling third round by correctly spelling "rubefacient." They faced strong competition, however, from the likes of the Jane Austen Book Club (don't let their bluestocking name fool you! Real Janeites are tough competitors!), the Ruthless Spellbinders (from the House of Ruth), and the widows'-weeds-bedecked trio, the Tombstone Terminators (Friends of Oak Park Cemetery).

The Claremont Courier also had a team this year...which is interesting, as the Courier has had an ongoing run of mispelled words in its issues.

The El Roble cheer squad performed "YMCA" for the crowd and "The Flight of the Bumblebee" accompanied the spellers as they took their seats (which were decorated with bee-shaped containers of honey).

A great time was had by all, and the emcees entertained the crowd with many a pun and poked fun at several city staples, such as the infamous Claremont trolley (how do you spell "bus"?).


Think you have what it takes to spell in the bee next year? Here are some of the words from today's bee:

stridulated
(which, when read to the competitors, really sounded like "strigulated")
palladium
plenilune
speleology (this one elicited a collective gasp from the audience when it came up!)
lackadaisical
cinematheque
teratology
habiliments
brunneous
ormolu
gammelost
ghurry (don't feel so bad about missing this one...read here about a speller in Hawaii that struggled with it in 2005)
seicento
sederunt
rapprochement
Pentateuchal

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Are They Listening?

One of our complaints about how things have traditionally worked in Official Claremont is the persistent unwillingness on the part of city councils, commissions, committees, and staff to take the time to really listen to citizens concerns about various issues.

The City would start out with a preconceived idea about how a given project should go, then staff would proceed to write up a report to support it. City Attorney Sonia Carvahlo would then backstop the process by making sure all legal bases were covered. But the outcomes had been determined long before any public discussion ever occurred.

For years, you'd go to a public meeting on an issue, speak up about some obvious oversight or omission that staff and the commissions or council had failed to account for, and you'd get nothing blank stares, or, worse, you'd be treated to a round of eye-rolling and sighs. It was like trying to tell the Titanic's captain his ship might be sinkable after all. You'd just have to sit and watch the inevitable play out knowing it was all very preventable. We've learned the hard way that staying the course only makes sense when one's path is iceberg-free.

We'd like to think that the recent Claremont municipal election signaled a change, but it's extremely difficult to alter a ruling culture. It means convincing people that there are better ways of doing things, and most people by nature are conservative in the non-political sense. We just don't like to abandon what's worked in the past, even it no longer functions well.

BarackObama.net image
Today's Claremont Courier reports on Wednesday's lecture at Bridges Auditorium by Obama for America campaign manager David Plouffe (picture at right), and it seemed clear that one of the things the Obama campaign did was to tap into new technologies and combine them with grassroots organizing efforts. The Courier article said:
The unconventional use of technology in the 2008 campaign is considered one of its most valuable innovations. “Technology was married to the grassroots approach,” Mr. Plouffe said. New media like the Internet, email, and cell phone was heavily used to move the message. “Huge numbers of people gathered online to build groups and widen the circle,” Mr. Plouffe explained.

Emails were particularly successful because people could incorporate the information in their conversations with friends and relatives. “This is not the regular way of doing things,” Mr. Plouffe admitted, “but people don’t trust the media and they don’t trust the government; they trust the conversations they have with their neighbors down the street.”

Mr. Plouffe concluded the campaign’s biggest asset was the actual performance of the candidate. He addressed Mr. Obama’s relative lack of experience by saying that it was one of his advantages. Having spent less time in Washington, Mr. Obama was less used to the “conventional practices” established there.

It may be that for a change our own city council was actually trying to learn some lessons from Plouffe. We hear there were several councilmembers in the audience to hear Plouffe, and they may have finally come around to the idea that they need to be more receptive to the public than past councils.

We seem to be seeing evidence of that thinking. At Tuesday night's new mayor Corey Calaycay was much freer with public comment than some past mayors. For a long time, Claremont had a four-minute time limit for speakers, and a red light would blink when your time was up. Councilmmber Peter Yao retired the clock when he was mayor, but Ellen Taylor, who is no longer on the council, brought it back. Calaycay re-retired the public comment clock Tuesday.

Our recent town leaders seemed to think that democracy requires orderliness and that all issues can be fitted into an arbitrarily set four-minute period. The council, of course, has unlimited time to talk about things, so there wasn't much balance in the so-called dialogue. It was really a parent-child relationship, with the public being the two-year-old that needed to be humored.

But, as we all know, some issues take longer than four minutes to discuss, some less, and there's nothing more irritating than having someone like former Mayor Taylor interrupting you to tell you you're finished as soon the red light blinks. In any event, the clock is gone for now, and City Hall is still standing. None of the public speakers took advantage of the clock's absence to filibuster, and the meeting was quite orderly. Indeed, one could argue that treating the public as an equal participant diffuses anger and resentment.

In another sign the council may be listening, at Tuesday night's meeting they considered complaints from residents along Adirondack Lane near the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park. The residents were concerned about parking from hikers spilling over onto their streets and wanted to have parking permits required for their neighborhood. The council approved the measure and even extended it to cover weekdays, as some residents had requested. The Daily Bulletin reported on the parking discussion:
Residents said the area was packed with cars primarily visiting the Wilderness Park which threatened the safety of everyone, particularly children.

"We feel like we're on lockdown," said resident Lisa Friedman.

Adirondack Lane resident Avi Hershkovitz, one of a number of residents that spoke before the council this week, was in favor of the ordinance if it was for every day.

The original ordinance was only for weekends and federal holidays.

Councilwoman Linda Elderkin said she felt the ordinance should be for every day and introduced a motion supporting it.
So, we find Elderkin's receptiveness encouraging, and, to be fair, she has been one of the more reasonable councilmembers since she was elected. Maybe that portends good things to come.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Time to Trim the Fat

We were thinking about our post about the $1.8 million earmark the City of Claremont received courtesy of Congressman David Dreier. It really is a prime chunk of bacon, applewood smoked and thick-cut.

You'll recall that a reader had sent us a link to a spreadsheet that lists all of the earmarks in the recently passed federal 2009 Omnibus Appropriation Bill. Here's the earmark in question:

Click on Image to Enlarge

We're still scratching our heads over this business. It's great that Congressman Dreier is getting federal money to help the cities in his district, but as we pointed out a couple days ago, there isn't really any argument to be made that Claremont is any more deserving of the money than Montclair or Pomona. Claremont's staff may just be better at sidling up to the feds and sweet-talking them.

But given Claremont's upper middle-class demographics, aren't we really being more than a bit selfish in diverting money from places where it might be more needed and where it might do more good? And because the need remains in other places, in the end, don't these sorts of fiscal diversions end up driving up the final price on things like the 2009 Omnibus Appropriation Bill?

In the retail business you might file this sort of thing under the heading "Leakage," like losses to shoplifting and pilferage. Selfish self-interest from towns like Claremont has a double cost, it turns out. We use our city staff to steal federal and state grant money from our less well-off neighbors, and then we have our local charities asking us to give more money to help out the people whom we've stiffed.

Sorry, Pomona. Nothing personal. In the social Darwinian world of competing municipalities, it's just the cost of doing business.

* * * * *

Incidentally, we were looking through some of the numbers in that spreadsheet. Congressman Dreier did have seven solo earmarks worth $5,152,000, and seven other earmarks that he shared with some of his fellow elected officials. Those 14 earmarks totaled $17,245,000.

While that sounds like a lot, there were plenty of others whose totals were worse, and it's not necessarily whom you'd expect. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for instance, had 21 solo earmarks for $15,667,000 and 33 total for $43,574,500, but that's hardly a surprise. However, Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands), a member of what had been the party of fiscal restraint, had 19 solo earmarks for $16,290,000 - more than three times Dreier's solo earmark total, and more than Pelosi's solo amount:


By the way, has anyone seen the Fourth Estate poking around this information? Maybe it's too complicated or unsexy a story for a daily paper to delve into, but we think there's an audience for this, especially in these at a time when everyone's having to pinch pennies and cut back on expenses.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Remember Where You Heard It First

We ended last Saturday's photo essay of President Obama's visit to Pomona (and Claremont--we promise) with a photo illustration of the presidential limo speeding past Mayor Corey Calaycay's home, on the way to cruise La Verne we averred.


So you can imagine our total lack of surprise when we read that Obama actually did travel by limo to La Verne and debarked at Brackett Airport, at Fairplex and Puddingstone Drive, boarding the Marine One helicopter awaiting him to take him to the Jay Leno show and his rendezvous with "Special Olympic" destiny.

David Allen covered this "secret stop" Tuesday in the Daily Bulletin,


IN HIS visit last Thursday to the 909, President Obama didn't stop only in Pomona - he made a stop in La Verne as well.

For his return trip to L.A., the president flew out of Brackett Field, La Verne's general aviation airport, aboard his helicopter, Marine One.

"It was very exciting," airport manager Jared Fox-Tuck told me Tuesday. Of the obscure facility, he admitted: "A lot of people don't even know we're here."

The White House, which apparently did know Brackett was there, had phoned the airport a week prior to inquire about using it. The Marines and Secret Service then visited in person.

Once the airport passed muster, the original plan was to land the president at 9 a.m. before his 10:30 appearance in Pomona.

However, fog on L.A.'s Westside prevented Marine One from taking off as scheduled. The president was driven to Pomona and the five choppers - his chopper-cade? - instead landed in La Verne at about 10:30 a.m.

The airport was locked down, with no flights departing or arriving. When the motorcade arrived from Pomona at about 11:45 a.m., Obama was swiftly transferred to Marine One for his flight to L.A.

"He wasn't here very long. There was no shaking hands or any of that," Fox-Tuck said.


The ULV Campus Times Online had already covered the story well, and had a nice image by Stephanie Arrelanes besides. Can't anyone get a picture of the front end of that limo?

Real photograph by Stephanie Arrelanes

Our President
from photo by Stephanie Arrelanes

Trolley Mail

Earlier this week we received a note from a reader with an observation about the Downtown Claremont Trolley. The reader saw the trolley on a run outside of it's usual environs:

DATE: Monday, March 23, 2009 10:46 PM
SUBJECT
: Claremont Trolley
TO: Claremont Buzz

Speaking of the Claremont Trolley.

On Sunday March 22, I noticed that the Trolley Folly went on a whimsy run, up Padua Ave. past the under-construction sports park, on up to the 4-way-on-demand stop light signal, at 1:07PM, then up Mt. Baldy Road, past Fergus Falls, presumably to the gravel turn-around at the San Antonio Dam, as it shortly returned down Mt. Baldy Road. It turned into Flat River and back out, and on down to Padua Ave., then north on Padua Ave. up past the Theater, then down Via Padova past the sharp double curves, and on down to Mt. Baldy Road, and then to the Mills 4-way stop signs, at 1:21PM, and then down Mills. I was not close enough, from my view point, to see if any passengers were inside.

We checked and discovered that what the reader witnessed was a Claremont Community Foundation event that we wrote about a couple months ago. This was the City loaning this public resource out to a private organization for a charity fundraiser, one of many CCF Party Parade events.

The CCF website said this about the Trolley Folly before the March 21st event slipped into the past (click on image adjacent to text):
With former Claremont Mayor and Author Judy Wright.

Ride the new Claremont Trolley as we travel from the Metrolink Parking Lot to Oak Park Cemetery and Russian Village, and then on to Padua Hills Theater, the Wilderness Park, and Webb School.

The tour of our vertical city will include residential neighborhoods in context including architecture by Gordon Kaufmann, Helen Wren, Paul Williams, Cliff May, Alan Taylor, Konstanty Stys, and Robert Orr. Architectural examples from Myron Hunt, Gordon Kaufmann, and Edward Durrell Stone, among others, as well as landscape architecture by Edward Huntsman Trout, Thomas Church, and Ralph Cornell, will be components of The Claremont Colleges. In the Village we will see and talk about what makes a downtown a downtown - the architecture, the people, the restaurants, the shops, the services, etc. The tour will take approximately two hours.
9:30 a.m. - Noon
or
12:30 - 3 p.m.

With light refreshments from Noon until 1 p.m.

$35 per person
Capacity: 20 guests per tour

Hosts:
Judy Wright
Kristin and Steve Hagstrom
Vicke Selk

Sponsored by the City of Claremont

The CCF's website said that both sessions, morning and afternoon, were sold out, so the Trolley was likely as full as you're ever going to see it. At 20 guests per session it was running at about 2,000 percent of its usually usage. Maybe we could convince the CCF to take over the lease.

Meet Your State Senator


Our district's State Senator, Bob Huff, will be in town 2pm tomorrow to meet with the Claremont City Council. The special meeting's agenda says that you can hear a discussion about "items of interest and concern within the City of Claremont."

You can meet with Senator Huff and the City Council in the Citrus Room at City Hall.

City Council Special Meeting

2:00 PM
Citrus Room, City Hall
207 Harvard Avenue
Claremont, 91711

Call (909) 399-5460 for information.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An Adamant Adams

Anthony Adams
Website Image

It's old news but still worth noting that there continues to be fallout for the so-called Sacramento Six, those Republicans in the state legislature that went voted with Democrats to approve the state budget agreement.

The LA Times reported Sunday that State Senator Dave Codgill and the other five Republicans to crossover with their budget votes are catching hell from upset constituents in their respective State Senate and Assembly districts:
Just weeks after Cogdill and five other Republican lawmakers joined the Legislature's majority Democrats to raise sales and income taxes and vehicle license fees, the "Sacramento Six" are facing a backlash from conservative activists and regular voters alike.

State Republican Party leaders have voted to cut off campaign cash to the six, and three are facing recall threats from furious activists.

Cogdill, 58, is bracing for a challenge in the 2010 Republican primary; a group in his district is trying to find a candidate to run against him. He has already been deposed as Senate minority leader by Republican colleagues, been booted from a big office and had his pay slashed by $17,000 a year.

"I don't think there is any doubt . . . that our careers are in jeopardy," Cogdill said.

And the Daily Bulletin had an article by Will Bigham last week about our area's assemblyman, Anthony Adams, having to resign as chair of the San Bernardino County Republican Party because of his budget vote. Adams may be down, but he's not completely out. He's sticking to his fiscal guns:
GOP furor over his vote, which made him one of six Republican legislators to join Democrats in support of the budget, resulted in his resignation at the county party's meeting Thursday night.

After the meeting, Adams, R-Claremont, did not back down from his support of the state budget, which included $13 billion in tax increases.

"I absolutely made the correct decision," Adams said. "The state was facing insolvency, and there was no way I was going to let teachers, firefighters and small business owners in the state pay the ultimate sacrifice because of our lack of action."

The Bulletin reports in today's paper that Upland City Councilmember Ken Willis will replace Adams as chair of the S.B. County Republican Party.

Earmark Remarks

We received an email from a reader who caught our post about the $1.8 million earmark the City of Claremont is receiving courtesy of Congressman David Dreier for an Emergency Operations Center.

DATE: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 10:02 AM
SUBJECT: 1.8 Million Dollars?
TO: Claremont Buzz

Buzz,

You may have overlooked the CERT (Claremont Emergency Response Team), as an emergency operation in Claremont. This is an active group of volunteers sponsored by the LA County Fire Dept, and managed by the Claremont Police Dept.

The CERT team is led by Capt Stan Van Horn of the CPD, who teaches curriculum and holds monthly drills for training.

After training, members are assigned to special groups with various responsibilities, in case of a major emergency. We are trying to be ready for fire, flood, earthquake, or attack, where large numbers of people may be injured or without shelter.

There are 50 or more volunteers who have taken the 20-40 hours of advanced training, have practiced triage, communications, emergency management, evacuation,and have learned how to use the police radios (on a special frequency) etc. Ongoing classes for volunteers are adding numbers to the CERT group regularly.

At last Saturday's training in Metrolink Parking Lot there were about 30 in attendance, who got a first look at the new trailer with the CERT generators, pumps, and tools for emergency. We learned water purification, and how to operate an emergency trailer grill for cooking, and about the radio mentioned above. Team members have uniforms and hard hats for identification and safety.

I hope that some of the money from the $1.8 million will find its way to CERT use. Our community will be safer as a result and the money will be well spent.

x

ps: Did you know that a mass burial site for up to 100,000 bodies is designated here in the Los Angeles Area? (Not in Claremont)

No, we didn't know about the mass burial site. We did learn from last night's city council meeting that the money is the second Dreier earmark in the past two years for police communications equipment. So, sounds as if the reader will get his wish for the use of the federal money.

At least that's what they're telling us. With the folks running City Hall, $1.8 million here means that much can be shuffled off to the "Police Station" pigeonhole, if they so choose, or just used in such a way that the stuff ends up as part of a new station/emergency ops center.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Emergency Operations

Hear the loud alarum bells -
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!
Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,
Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor
Now -now to sit or never,
By the side of the pale-faced moon.
Oh, the bells, bells, bells!
What a tale their terror tells
Of despair!
How they clang, and clash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear it fully knows,
By the twanging
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows;
Yet the ear distinctly tells,
In the jangling
And the wrangling,
How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells -
Of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells
In the clamor and the clangor of the bells!


We tried to remind ourselves just where that $1.8 million Emergency Operations Center fit in the list of Claremont priorities. It just didn't ring a bell--or alarum, or siren, or whatever would be appropriate in the circumstance.

Here is a list of priorities from one of last year's City Council study session on the subject. This list came from an agenda report dated July 22, 2008, from City Manager Parker to the Council. No EOC that we notice:

click to enlarge

You can go through the entire agenda report yourself; we see no mention of an EOC in any of the funded or unfunded Capital Improvement Projects for FY 2008-9, or 2009-10, either.

And yet we have Congressman David Dreier, presumably as a result of lobbying by staff or council, showering down $1.8 million for an EOC in Claremont. (We could be wrong, but we thought the City Hall was reconstructed nearly a decade ago with FEMA money for something very near that purpose, and the Citrus Room was designated the EOC.)

This is just the kind of Federal waste that people of all political stripes rail about. From the Right: big money for a project neither necessary nor desired by the community. From the Left: big money for a rich community at the expense of nearby poorer ones. (the same analysis of the Omnibus Earmark Act found, for example, two projects benefitting Pomona totaling $875,000 (for ground water cleanup in South Pomona and the construction on the 71 south of Mission Blvd.)

Claremont, with a population of some 35,000 receives $1.8 million (more than $50 per capita) for an unnecessary frill. Pomona, with a population of about 150,000, receives $875,000 (not quite $6 per capita) for projects that more directly affect the health and safety of the community.

Whose life is going to be made better knowing that Jeff Parker, Tony Ramos, and Paul Cooper have a comfortable place to go, with lots of neat radios and computers and large LCD screens, when the Big One hits? They have the mobile command center trailer already. And what scarce staff resource is going to honcho this money and this project?

(Proposed answer to previous question: Most likely this is a make-work project to fund a couple more city staff members during the upcoming lean times; don't look for it to pencil out in any cost- benefit way.)

In the meantime, we have gotten copies of the proposed drawings for the EOC. When Jeff Parker shows up at Council meeting tonight in a Starfleet uniform, you'll know we are right.

click to enlarge

* * * * *

The stanza introducing this post is from 'The Bells', by Edgar Allan Poe


Council Meets Tonight

Tonight's City Council meeting features the first full meeting for newcomer Larry Schroeder and for Corey Calaycay as mayor.

The council meets in its chambers at City Hall, located at 225 W. 2nd St. in the Claremont Village. The meeting starts off in a very traditional way, with a special closed session at 5:15pm. You can view the closed session agenda here. You can also watch live on the City's website.

The council will hear reports from City Manager Jeff Parker on negotiations for "the potential acquisition or disposition" of the Peppertree Square property at southeast corner of Arrow Hwy. and Indian Hill Blvd.

The council will also hear a reports from Parker on negotiations with Golden State Water on the potential water company purchase. (Don't expect any new news on this one.)

In the final closed session item, Parker will report to the council on negotiations with Jamboree Housing Corp. regarding the proposed affordable housing project at the old Courier building site on S. College Ave. next to the railroad tracks.

The council will reconvene for their public session at 6:30pm. The regular session agenda is posted here. After a short report on the closed session, the council will consider some of these items:
  • Under "Ceremonial Matters, Presentations, and Announcements," the council will receive a presentation titled "State and Federal Budget Overview, and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Overview." We've got no idea what this one's about, but we suspect it may include the unveiling of the $1.8 million earmark Congressman David Dreier included in the 2009 Federal Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

  • The council is also being asked to approve six side letter agreements with the City's six employee associations. The associations agreed to compensation and benefit reductions totalling $1,159,000 for fiscal year 2009-10.

    Among the employees' concessions are: foregoing this year's 3% cost-of-living adjustment; eliminating the Pay for Performance plan through the end of 2010 (we pay plenty for staff's performances as it is); the Health and Fitness Reimbursement program through the end of 2010 (because we've seen how successful that's been - see recent photo of Police Chief Cooper, right).

  • City Manager Parker is asking the council for approval to enter into a three-year agreement with a company called CGI Communications, Inc., for something called a community showcase program" at no cost to the city.

    CGI apparently will apparently create a web presence for the City to market itself (for a fee). They've done this with other comparable cities like Goodlettsville, Tennessee, where CGI created isurfgoodlettsville.com.

    According to the staff report:
    CGI's program includes a streaming video tour book which would enhance Claremont's website by adding a video welcome message and showcase the City of Claremont in a powerful, new and innovative way. CGI will come to Claremont with their film crew to videotape the necessary footage to fully produce a "welcome" video, plus six additional community highlight videos on topics such as quality of life, tourism, things to do, business recruitment, and education. There would be a link on the City s website for the end user to click on that take the user to CGI s server.

    The agenda report says the city will "allow CGI to provide the Claremont business community the opportunity to become sponsors of this program." Hmmmm.... sounds a little like the Bernie Madoff strategy of creating a false sense of scarcity: "CGI, puhleeeeeze let us buy in!"

    CGI's sponsorship program goes like this, according to the information in the agenda report for this item:

    I. Bronze sponsor $995 ($895 if paid in full): Chapter sponsorship, full-color logo, link to webpage, profile page availability.

    II. Silver sponsor $2,995 ($2,795 if paid in full): Chapter sponsorship, full-color logo, 30-second, professionally produced PhotoVideo™, link to webpage, 12 months free video streaming to your website, logo-branded One Click™ Video Player for your website.

    III. Gold sponsor $5,995 ($5,795 if paid in full): Main page logo, 12-month chapter sponsorship logo, 60-second, professionally produced video, link to webpage, 12 months free video streaming to your website, logo-branded One Click™ Video Player for your website, unlimited video email.
























  • Staff is recommending that the City Council decline to enter into a tolling agreement proposed by Los Angeles County in the lawsuit filed last year by the National Resources Defense Council and the Santa Monica Baykeepers against the County, the Los Angeles Flood Control District, and the five L.A. County Supervisors. According to the staff report, the suit was filed in federal court and alleged that the defendants violated the federal Clean Water Act by allowing polluted stormwater discharge into surface and coastal waters.

    If the plaintiffs prevail, the city and other L.A. County municipalities could be on the hook for whatever their share of the county's stormwater discharge is.

    You can read all about it in the staff report.

  • The council will receive a report on the fiscal year 2009-10 budget and is asked to appropriate $79,000 in one-time revenues and $117,000 from the General Fund reserve. Staff says that $196,000 total, combined with the cuts in employee compensation and benefits, will help balance what had been projected to be a $2 million deficit. The staff report also says that city departments have reduced their projected 2009-10 operational costs by a total of $516,000.

    And you can do your part to help the City balance its budget. Invest in Claremont's future by becoming a city sponsor at the Gold, Silver or Bronze level today. Cash contributions can be passed over the transom at City Hall after midnight.

  • The council will be asked to appoint Mark Merritt to the Claremont Hills Conservation Corporation.

  • Our new mayor will also be announcing his council committee assignments, and the council will approve a resolution designating a Governing Board Member and Voting Alternate to the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.

Spelling Bee Sunday

Don't forget the 4th Annual Friends of the Claremont Library Spelling Bee is next Sunday, March 29th at 2pm in Claremont's Taylor Hall, located on Indian Hill Blvd. just north of Claremont High School.

The Friends of the Library will also be announcing their 2009 On the Same Page book before the Bee's conclusion. Last year's community read was Distant Lands of Our Fathers by Bo Caldwell.

Here's a video from Claremont Community College showing last year's Bee. Judy Wright shows up early on, and Councilperson Linda Elderkin makes an appearance at the 2:00 mark. It looked like Hai Muradian from The Ravelers was there, too:



4th Annual
Friends of the Claremont Library Spelling Bee

Sunday, March 29, 2009 @ 2 p.m.
Taylor Hall
1775 Indian Hill Blvd.
Claremont CA 91711

Free admission
______________________________

The Friends of the Claremont Library are also asking for book donations for their next semi-annual book sale April 30 to May 2:
Our next semi-annual book sale will be at the end of April ~ can you help us by contributing your unwanted books, DVDs, CDs or anything else you might run across during your spring cleaning? When you bring your donations to the library, please ask at the front desk for a receipt - so that you can claim your donations as a tax deduction. The staff will not place a value on your books and other items - you will need to do that yourselves.

All of the proceeds from the Friends' book sale and bookstore are applied towards funding special programs, purchasing current books and movies and presenting you with annual events such as Claremont: On The Same Page and the Spelling Bee.

Please help us if you can ~ we would be most grateful!!

Friends' Day (of the Book Sale): Thursday, April 30 4-8 p.m. (Friendships can be purchased at the door)
Open Sale: Friday, May 1, 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m

Monday, March 23, 2009

We Wear the Mask

per⋅so⋅na /pərˈsoʊnə/ [per-soh-nuh]
–noun, plural -nae  /-ni/ -nas.

4. (in the psychology of C. G. Jung) the mask or façade presented to satisfy the demands of the situation or the environment and not representing the inner personality of the individual; the public personality (contrasted with anima ).

- DICTIONARY.COM


Meg over at M-M-M-My Pomona has some fascinating comments on the ideas of anonymity and pseudonymity, and she makes a distinction between the two. The difference may sometimes be a subtle one. Lord knows, much of the time the local blogosphere and those in local politics don't do nuance very well, or at least no better than those on the national scene, so the sort of parsing Meg does certainly brings some clarity to the matter.

As Meg points out, the truly anonymous voices are those that pop up with a comment or two, then disappear into the Internet's ether, as opposed to voices that develop personae and audiences over time. Readers and critics flesh out those personae with the clay of their own choosing, until the reading audience conjures up a living thing wholly out of its own imagining.

Meg goes on to say that its wrong to assume that anonymity is a shield against accountability:
The take-away point here, I think, is that when we participate in an online community, we stake the reputations of our personas. Opponents of so-called anonymous blogging huff and puff about accountability, but all bloggers risk the good opinion of others when they post, regardless of the name they do it under.

The only form of accountability that pseudonymous bloggers avoid is the kind that allows irate jerks to accost them at their homes or offices -- the kind that encourages retribution in an unrelated sphere. If I'm bloviating on the web, I'm happy to put my web-cred on the line, but don't be calling my boss and trying to get me fired for something I said online (unless, of course, I've dooced myself). What happens online should stay online.

Really, what we've seen here at the Insider is that it is possible to establish a sort of street cred by trying to give our views of what's happening out there in the real world and by supporting those opinions with linked source documentation in the form of images, reports, or video. There is a sort of scientific methodology to our mad ramblings here, if one takes the time to examine them carefully.

In taking on an issue facing the City of Claremont, we look at the evidence in the form of records, reports, past statements by elected officials and city staff, and then match those up to the what actually happened or make predictions about what will happen. For instance, the City insisted on spending $1.29 million on the Downtown Claremont Trolley, with staff and a specially appointed citizen committee, touting the economic benefits with people using the thing to get around downtown. We, and others, predicted that no one would ride the thing.

Now, when you go downtown and see the empty trolley circling the Claremont Village, who is going to have more credibility in the future, the city staff and citizen's committee led by former Mayor Judy Wright or the anonymous bloggers who long ago voiced the skepticism the majority of the community was thinking anyway?

If this happens enough times, people will come back to read more. Conversely, readers and voters will start to ignore the people making the false claims and wrong predictions. It's that simple. There's no magic involved. It's just a matter of dueling narratives competing in the marketplace of ideas. The public weighs whose version of events conforms more closely to the actual reality and goes with the more accurate one.

We should point out, too, that the people who ran Claremont, whom we and others have called the Claremont 400, themselves have personae. For too long, they've used their names as bludgeons: Claremont needs to do such and so because We say so. And then the city staff goes on to backfill the reasoning with reports that advocate the desired position, ignoring or downplaying any contrary evidence.

And, that's how bad decision-making happens.

Another aspect of this name business is the 400's frequent use of whispering campaigns to spread false rumors about people on the opposing sides of issues. Gadfly Mike Noonan, for instance, used to get painted as a nutcase - which, okay, if he was off his meds and having a bad day, you might be inclined to think - but Noonan was right a certain percent of the time. Yet, the 400 would tell people, "You don't have to listen to him because he's Mike." So, they'd end up ignoring the important, accurate information because they didn't have the maturity or patience to sift through what Noonan (or anyone else) was saying. They didn't act as careful, educated, impartial listeners.

The Preserve Claremont campaign in 2005, too, was a nothing more than a glorified, well-funded whispering campaign that got flushed out into the open. Former Claremont Mayor and current Chamber of Commerce board chair Paul Held helped lead that charge, making unsubstantiated claims that his fellow councilmember, Jackie McHenry, was rifling through city employees' mail at City Hall. The Preserve people also claimed, again falsely, that current Mayor Corey Calaycay had been fired from his job with State Senator Bob Margett's office.

The whole idea behind PC was that you were supposed to believe them because of their names. These were pillars of the community, not McHenry, not Calaycay. It didn't matter one bit if what the PC'ers was saying was a lie.

The burr in the 400's saddle over anonymity is that it has taken away their greatest weapon: their names. As time goes on, we suspect those silly names will mean less and less simply because there are more discerning information consumers comprising the community now than 10 years ago. The 400 has been wrong enough and often enough on a myriad of important issues that people now question whether or not they should really be voting for whomever people like former Police Commission chair Helaine Goldwater is supporting. Don't believe it? Ask Bridget Healy.

Moreover, information has become much more readily available online now than back when you had to go to City Hall to make a document request. Now, it's a fairly simple matter use that information to deconstruct the history of a City blunder (or predict one), and that ability has made the City accountable in ways never before possible. The identity of the person or personae examining the subtext of an issue has very little to do with their credibility. Accuracy and truthfulness have become the determining factors.

We would argue that until the Claremont 400 resolves to deal fairly, honestly, and openly with issues, to fundamentally change the way they've done business, they will continue to bleed what little remaining credibility they have. The "new" reality arrived quite some time ago, and our advice to the Claremonsters is that they'd best get over it and get used to a much more democratic community than they one they've run in the past. The alternative is that they will be left in the dust.

Red Cross 5k Walk This Saturday

Click to Enlarge
The Claremont Red Cross is having its 5K FUNdWalk this Saturday, March 28, from 8am to 2pm. The walk takes place at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.

You have until Thursday, March 26, to register. Registration for adults is $25, for youths 3-17 it's $20, and it's $80 for families. Besides the 5k walk, there's a Tri-Tip lunch for $6 and live music by The Dogs.

To register online, click here. Or call (909) 624-0074 for more information.

Claremont Red Cross
5K Walk on the Wild Side

Date:
Saturday, March 28, 2009

Time:
9:00 AM

Venue:
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
1500 N College Ave.
Claremont, CA 91711

Brief Description:
This fundraising event benefitting the Claremont Chapter of the American Red Cross is a 5-kilometer walk through beautiful Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, which is the largest botanical garden dedicated exclusively to California's native plants. The event traverses an 86 acre natural setting that offers beautiful flora and panoramic mountain views. For more information on the garden, go to their website at www.RSABG.org.

Additional Information
Complementing the walk will be a Health, Safety & Emergency Preparedness Expo, which will also be held on the grounds of the garden. While there is a fee to enter the 5K walk, this expo is free and open to the public. Expo hours are 10:00am - 1:00pm.

Fees:
$25 adults; $20 youth (3 – 17 years); $80 families (2 parents and 2 or more youth); Children under 3 years, free.

Online Registration Closes:
3/26/09 11:59 PM

Sunday, March 22, 2009

CUSD Wrestles with Budget

The Daily Bulletin reported on the Claremont Unified School District passing an interim budget at their meeting last Thursday night.

The board is facing a number of fiscal uncertainties, including a state budget may be have an unexpected deficit to the tune $8 billion despite the recent budget agreement in Sacramento. We also don't know what the outcome of the May 19th special election will be. The budget agreement's success hinges on the passage of several ballot measures, particularly 1B through 1E.

Until the May election, uncertainty will continue to reign in the CUSD and throughout California. The Bulletin noted some of the measures CUSD officials have already taken, and they quoted school board member Jeanne Hamilton, who acknowledged the board may face some unpopular choices:

There have already been 12 staff position cuts from the district in February.

The cuts and reductions are being used to address a $3 million to $4 million deficit for the district in the next school year.

"While it would be nice and certainly popular to be opposed to cuts, I don't think we have the luxury," said Hamilton. "It's tough and it may be unpopular, but every decision we make that is a cut will be unpopular."

Sunday Mail

Catching up on our enormous mailbag backlog we found an email from a reader who commented on post about the Candlelight Pavilion's loan arrangement with the City of Claremont.

The reader offered up a possible win-win solution to help guarantee the city's loan - one that doesn't require an orchestral swell and breaking into song:

DATE: Monday, March 16, 2009 12:57 PM
SUBJECT: Candlelight Pavillion Theater City Loan
TO: Claremont Buzz

Dear Buzz,

The city has two options regarding the loan it has given to the Candlelight Pavillion Theater: one, it can forgive the loan completely or two, it can ask the Theater to repay the loan in full immediately.

In 2000 when the city approved the loan and a grant ($160,000 loan and $15,000 grant) there was a feeling that the Theater was a valued asset to the community, hence deserving of public support. The city approved the loan with a clear understanding of the risk, as stated in the staff report: "The nature of the loan and the current state of the property ownership and theater lease represent a repayment risk because of possible third-party actions."

The approved loan agreement stated that "If the theater closes due to the action of third parties the second ($80,000 ten-year repayment) component is forgiven."

Later the first $80,000 five year repayment plan, which was due in 2006, was amended (at the Theater's request) to amortize $55,000 over ten years after the Theater had paid $25,000. So the city could just forgive the loan voluntarily, or third party conditions at the site might lead the Theater to request forgiveness under the approved loan agreement.

Or, the city could initiate its own amendment to the loan agreement and ask the Theater to repay the full loan amount immediately. How will the Theater raise the money for the balloon payment? By obtaining a new private loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The city loan was granted at 6% and 10% interest rates. It is conceivable that under the Obama Administration's plan (announced on March 16, 2009) to help small businesses, the Theater could obtain a loan with more favorable conditions than the city's loan.

Under the plan, the Small Business Administration will increase loan guarantees to 90% from the current 85% on a loan up to $150,000 or 75% for a loan more than $150,000. The 90% SBA loan guarantee reduces lender risk, and the administration will temporarily eliminate upfront fees up to 3.75% or as much as $75,000 that are paid by borrowers.

This plan looks attractive. If the Theater takes advantage of the SBA plan, it can obtain a cheaper loan and be able to pay off the city loan. The Theater can offer a private bank the "20 theater production sets" as security. The city will in turn get its money back sooner to put in the budget at a time of pressing need.

* * * * *

We also received this note from a reader who saw our post about the job fair Congressman David Dreier is hosting April 8th. The reader wanted to offer an additional job resource:
DATE: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 3:28 PM
SUBJECT: Job News
TO: Claremont Buzz

One resource you forget to mention is the highly successful"community-based" project of Pitzer College professor Jose Calderon and his students, The Pomona Economic Opportunity Center. I'm sure our neighbors would be glad to assist any Claremont residents who wish to sign up at The Pomona Day Labor Center. This facility was started with $50,000 of Pomona citizens' tax money and currently Pomona "provides just over half the $330,000 budget" plus many other services. I also suspect that since Norma Torres is such a strong supporter of this type of solution to our economic problems, that her influence on President Obama may bring many more benefits to the patrons of the Day Labor Center.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bringin' Home the Bacon

David Dreier Earmark:
$1.8 million for Claremont
Emergency Operations Center

The 2009 Omnibus Earmark and Appropiation Bill signed last week by President Obama contained a little love for Claremont, courtesy of Congressman David Dreier. In a massive analytical spreadsheet posted by Taxpayers for Common Sense (both of them), we find down on line 7,575 (of 9,309!) an earmark of $1.8 million inserted by Dreier to fund an Emergency Operations Center for Claremont. This earmark represents more than one-third of the dollar value of Dreier's 7 "solo" earmarks, totaling $5,152,500. With other members of Congress, Dreier was involved in 14 earmarks totaling $17,245,000.

click on image to enlarge

The spreadsheet may be DOWNLOADED here. Within it there are worksheets showing all earmarks, earmarks by senator, earmarks by house member, earmarks by state and by party. It is worth your time but be warned: it is an Excel spreadsheet and you have to be comfortable navigating and doing searches in Excel. The download takes a few minutes as it is a 3 Megabyte file. (Lotsa earmarks)

There is an explanation of the methodology behind the spreadsheet here.

A tip of the green eyeshade to a Reader.

Obama in Claremont?

We took note earlier of the visit of President Barack Obama to Pomona on Thursday. From what we hear, it's lucky we were not trying to drive on the "eerily empty freeways" between Beverly Hills and the Pomona Valley. Pomona Neighborhood Watch posted a picture of the presidential limousine driving in Pomona to the electric car battery factory on East End:

No Potemkin Village in Pomona.
Houses have garbage cans; deal with it.


Although it surprisingly went unnoticed in the press, the President's peregrinations took him through Claremont as well. Herewith a photographic record--another Insider exclusive:

No Potemkin Village here, either;
roadwork in front of Claremont High School goes on.



Councilmember and Democrat Larry Schroeder
looks for a little love from the Pres.



A quick run by the Mayor's house; he's not home.
"Driver, let's cruise La Verne!"


Friday, March 20, 2009

Courier-TSL Faceoff

Left to Right (literally, not politically):
Pepperdine School of Law Dean Kenneth Starr
and UC Irvine School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky.



We'd meant to write up something about the March 5th mock debate at Pomona College between Pepperdine Law School dean Kenneth Starr and Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the new UC Irvine School of Law. The debate's subject was the Presidental War Powers Act.

Starr came to the debate the same day he argued before the California State Supreme Court on behalf of Prop. 8 proponents who sought to have 18,000 gay and lesbian marriages voided under the new state law.

Tony Krickl covered the event for the Courier, wrote about the goings on in a March 11 article:
Mr. Starr, who serves as the Dean of Pepperdine University’s Law School, was invited to speak by the Pomona Student Union. Along with Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the new Law School at University of California Irvine, the 2 deans staged a mock debate on constitutional powers of the U.S. President in a hypothetical war situation. Mr. Starr was invited to speak before becoming involved in the Prop. 8 case.

When asked why he would choose to represent a minority like violent death row prisoners rather than “a minority that who just wants to marry the one they love,” Mr. Starr responded, “because you are representing a particular cause doesn’t mean you are necessarily approving of that particular cause.

“[In this case,] I was pleased to represent what I feel is a very important principle,” he added. “That is the sovereign power of the people. However you vote is to protect the sovereign right of the people, until we change that mechanism for amending the constitution.”

After the debate, students gathered in the nearby Smith Campus Center quad to stage mock same sex weddings as a form of protest to Mr. Starr’s visit.

Called “Wedding Under the Starrs,” the light-hearted event featured wedding cake and cider, music from an A cappella group and Mariachi band and several staged same-sex weddings.

Pomona College's student newspaper The Student Life seems to have found Krickl's coverage of the event wanting. The TSL editorial board wrote an opinion piece for their March 13 edition that excoriated the Courier for what TSL thought was a "lack of journalistic ethics," as well as other lapses. The TSL editorial, titled, "Courier Article Shows Unprofessionalism [see page 8]," said this about the Courier article:
The content of the article barely mentions the actual debate, or Ken Starr’s opponent Erwin Cherminsky. Instead, the Courier implied that Starr was on campus solely to field questions about “gay rights and his role in the controversial case being heard before the Supreme Court of California.” We stand on a pedestal of perfect reporting here at TSL; in fact, we are well aware of our own missteps.

We do, however make a conscious effort to cover news items with depth, clarity, and balance. What was published in the Courier on Wednesday was a gross breach of journalistic ethics and reporting etiquette.

TSL felt that the Courier article missed the main point of Starr's visit, which was the mock War Powers Act debate, and that Krickl's coverage wasn't balanced because Starr's comments on the Prop. 8 litigation weren't balanced in Krickl's article by the opposing litigants' views.

Krickl, meanwhile, took exception to the TSL editorial and blogged about TSL on the Courier City Beat in a post titled "Big Talk, Little Content from The Student Life." In the blog post, Krickl defended his coverage:
First and foremost, what TSL editors may not realize is that at many professional newspapers, reporters are limited by page inches or number of words for stories they are assigned to cover. Given these limitations, reporters are forced to focus their articles on the meat of the news while cutting out as much fat as possible.

With the high profile nature of the Prop. 8 case and Starr's role as the lead attorney, clearly the presidential war powers debate was the fat. In showing up for the event, I never intended to cover the debate. I was there to report on any comments Starr might make on the landmark case and the planned protest outside.

And:
The COURIER article did not take any sides on this topic. It never criticized or praised Mr. Starr for his position on Proposition 8 or his role in the case. The article simply laid out Mr. Starr’s positions on the issue, his responses to questions on the topic and provided a description of the student protest.

I'm not so sure I could say the same about the TSL's coverage of the event. In their article (see page 1 and 3), the TSL reporter interviewed or used statements from 4 different people who were directly criticizing Starr, his appearance on campus or Prop. 8 itself.

But TSL's report fails to counter these statements with a single voice of opposition, making the student paper's political leanings on Prop. 8 clear for all to see. Is this the neutral or balanced coverage that TSL editors are demanding?

As Krickl notes, TSL is a student paper, so maybe you have to grant them a little more latitude than you would a commercial publication. Still, TSL has had some notable missteps in the recent past. For instance, TSL's coverage of the Jonathan Petropoulos matter last year, when they ran the wrong painting on the front page, along with some other errors, led to the April 4, 2008, edition being pulled from newsstands.

There have been some other newsworthy things happening at Pomona College, including the banning (and subsequent unbanning) of two Claremont McKenna College students, David Daleiden and Kyle Kinneberg, from Pomona's campus. The ban occurred without much respect for due process and drew a good deal of criticism for the "Ready, Fire, Aim" mentality that Pomona Dean of Student Miriam Feldblum displayed in her mishandling of the situation.

We haven't had much time to explore the banning/unbanning, but we may have post or two on the subject in the coming week. The Claremont Conservative, though, has been all over this issue from the beginning.

City Seeks Applicants, Opinions

CITY LOOKS TO FILL OPEN COMMISSION SPOT

Is a run at a City Council seat in your future? Then you may want to apply for a seat on Claremont's Community Services Commission. That particular commission seems to be the fast track to the City Council. Current Councilmembers Sam Pedroza and Larry Schroeder both served on Community Services when they were elected to the council.

The City seeks applicants for the Community Services seat vacated by Schroeder after he won election to the council on March 3rd. The City website has more information and a link to an application:

Applicants Sought for Claremont Community Services Commission

Applications are currently being sought to fill a vacancy on the City of Claremont Community Services Commission. Persons interested in being considered for appointment are encouraged to file an application with the City Clerk's office by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 27, 2009. Click on the link below to download an application. For more information call (909) 399-5460.

Commissioners are appointed by the City Council based on the results of application reviews and personal interviews. It is the Council's goal to appoint members who reflect the diversity of the community.

CITY SEEKS COMMUNITY INPUT

Yours may have been one of the 4,000 or so households in Claremont that received a Human Services Dept. survey in the mail. The survey asks about the respondent's usage of city parks and services and also asks what you think are the City's future needs in those areas.

If you didn't receive a survey but would like to participate, it's available online:

City of Claremont Community Needs Survey

The City of Claremont Human Services Department is conducting a Community Needs Survey of randomly selected residents to determine the current usage of parks, facilities, recreation programs/activities, and social services in the City and to find out the future needs of residents in terms of these facilities, programs, and services. Input from the completed surveys will be utilized to determine how the Human Services Department aligns its facilities, programs, activities, and services.

Surveys were mailed to 4,000 randomly selected Claremont households in mid-March 2009. Residents who did not receive a survey through the random sample, but would like their input considered, are invited to complete the survey online. Please click here to take the City of Claremont Community Needs Survey. The survey will be available online through March 31, 2009.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this project and/or the services available through the City of Claremont Human Services Department, please call Kristin Turner at (909) 399-5490.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Obama in Pomona - Updated


UPDATED 8:20PM

David Allen has all the information on President Obama's mid-morning visit to Pomona. Obama will be touring the Edison International Vehicle Electrics Plant today at 10:30am and will be in Burbank later to tape an appearance on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

Allen also notes that some special Pomona students will get to meet the President, which elicited a cheer in the form of a comment from Ms. Lois at the Pomona Library.

The Pomona event is for the presidential press pool only, so like anyone else who wants to catch a glimpse of Obama, Allen plans on being on the outside looking in.

* * * * *

In his column today, Allen also pointed out that, contrary to what State Assemblywoman Norma Torres has stated, Obama's visit was not unprecedented. In fact, with the help of a couple researchers, Allen found at four prior presidential visits to Pomona:
Those visits: Benjamin Harrison, 1891; William McKinley, 1901; William Howard Taft, 1911; and Herbert Hoover, 1932.

My thanks to Bruce Guter and Allan Lagumbay of the Pomona Public Library for rounding up the details for me Tuesday.

It wouldn't surprise me if there were more. Could 1933 to 2008 really have been devoid of presidential visits to P-town?

You'd think LBJ would have toured General Dynamics, or Nixon would've visited the L.A. County Fair. Or Clinton would've gone to Donut & Burger for one of each.

* * * * *

The Original Skrip, meanwhile, saw the president motoring over Pomona and also referred us to some photos and video of the motorcade over at Pomona Neighborhood Watch.


* * * * *

Plenty of area politicians got presidential shout-outs today, including Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, State Senator Gloria Negrete-McLeod, Assemblywoman Torres and Pomona Mayor Elliot Rothman.

As the LAist blog noted, while speaking in Pomona the President also announced a new federal $2.4 billion electric vehicle development program.

You can see the speech here, if you missed it and are interested.

Obama also time to meet with high school students from Pomona's Village Academy High School. The Daily Bulletin's Politics Now blog had a post on what on.