Claremont Insider: Pomona Channels Claremont Unified

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pomona Channels Claremont Unified

The Pomona City Council has approved selling $9.3 million in recovery zone facilities bonds to build a proposed business center at Fairplex along White Ave.. The bonds, according to an article in the Daily Bulletin, come courtesy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Among other things, the center will contain a self-storage facility.

The Bulletin article, by reporter Monica Rodriguez, indicated that Pomona council members Paula Lantz and Cristina Carrizosa both had concerns that the project wouldn't generate very many jobs, which is what the federal money is supposed to do. Lantz also had reservations about the lack of much tax revenue from the proposed project.

Rodriguez also quoted Fair Association CFO Mike Seder (photo, right):

Fairplex representatives said the self-storage facility is one-half of the proposed project.

Fairplex has about 1,500 horse stalls, a large number of which are not used, said Mike Seder, vice president of finance and chief financial officer of the Los Angeles County Fair Association.

Creating a self-storage facility would allow Fairplex to take some of the excess stalls and turn them into an income-producing facility, Seder said.

"These are opportunities for us," he said, but added, "I hear your concerns about the type of project."

We're wondering if the self-storage idea was pushed by Bill Fox, one of the people behind the Claremont Unified School District's $95 million Measure CL bond. Fox owns Route 66 Self-Storage and, along with several other prominent Claremonters, is a member of the Los Angeles County Fair Association.

Fox, Seder, and Lee Jackman formed the CUSD Bond/Parcel Tax Survey Committee, which has morphed into the Measure CL bond election committee. As we've noted before, both committees have worked closely with CUSD's poll and campaign consultant, Jared Boigon.

You might recall that a couple years ago, CUSD had also agreed to convert its old district office location at Base Line Rd. and Mountain into an RV storage lot. The word on the street is that Fox, with his expertise in storage facilities, had pushed the RV idea.

(Incidentally, this all is beginning to remind us of the HBO series "The Wire," in which the same people - contractors, politicians, teachers, police, journalists, gangsters - all swirl around a dystopic Baltimore, crossing paths and pursuing their ambitions over the course of five years, while their city decays around them.)

Anyway, according to the Insider's school district moles, Fox convinced CUSD that they could make a lot of money with an RV storage facility. The RV storage idea apparently failed, because there is now a "For Lease" sign on the district's Base Line Rd. property. The sign advertises a rate of a $1 a square-foot.

This is just one more in an endless series of reasons to not trust CUSD with $95 million in bonds. Ask yourself, how much money would the school district have saved if they had left their offices at the old Base Line Rd. site instead of relocating to San Jose Ave.?