Claremont Insider: September 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Unfortunate E-Mail Addy

We wish the Sycamore sixth-grader good luck in his or her search for a dog walking gig. Kind of a poor choice for an e-mail address though.

from today's Courier classifieds; click to enlarge

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dumpster Diving

Sam Pedroza's Waste Connections

Click Image to Enlarge

One of the Insider's favorite activities remains the nocturnal leap, powered by sinewy legs, as we fly into our town's trash bins while the rest of Claremont sleeps. Our nighttime dumpster dives have sometimes caused us undeserved grief from some of the community's less careful thinkers (you know who you are, Sonia Carvalho), but we just can't help ourselves.

Our latest bit of refuse rummaging was prompted by a Request for Proposal (RFP), issued by Claremont's city staff, who solicited bids from six waste hauling companies to see what they'd charge for providing the city's trash service. Here's all the information on the City's website:

Sanitation Study (Sep 16, 2010)

On August 3, the City of Claremont released a Request for Proposal (RFP) for solid waste collection, recycling, and disposal services. The purpose of the RFP is designed to provide the City with an opportunity to evaluate the cost of providing disposal and recycling services to its residents and businesses. The deadline to submit proposals was September 14, 2010 by 2:00 p.m. The companies that submitted proposals were the City's Sanitation Division, Burrtec Waste Industries, Waste Management Inc., Athens Services, and Republic Services.

Staff will review the proposals and will make recommendations to the Community Services Commission.The Community Services Commission will then forward a recommendation to the City Council. Hard copies of the RFP are still available for review by residents at City Hall as well as at the Community Services City Yard building. In addition, hard copies can be purchased for $25 at either facility. A copy of the RFP is available on the City's website for public viewing. Residents having questions regarding the RFP process may contact Pat Malloy, Interim Community Services Director, at 909-399-5432 or via e-mail at pmalloy@ci.claremont.ca.us.


City staffers were apparently trying to see if they could get the same service for less money. However, they failed to take into account the irrational love Claremonters have for their municipal trash service. Letters in the Claremont Courier have been uniformly in favor of having our own Community Service workers picking up our garbage and yours. It seems as if everyone in town with the exception of the Claremont Unified School District sees this as a matter of civic pride.

One council member who knows a thing or two about solid waste is Mayor Pro Tem Sam Pedroza, who in his real life works as an environmental planner for the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County. Pedroza came to the attention of the Conscious Claremont blog vis-à-vis a potential conflict of interest regarding Claremont's landfill options:
So, what happens when the city has to choose a landfill & the law prohibits officials from participating in actions that may effect their employer? In 2008, Mr. Pedroza recused himself from said discussion, citing conflict of interest. But, when the same item appeared in Dec, he participated.

Photo, right:
Claremont City Council Member Sam Pedroza, explaining the downhill flow of the sort of waste he's most acquainted with.


The ol' switcheroo on Pedroza's part was undoubtedly familiar to people who supported Claremont's original affordable housing project at Base Line Rd. and Towne Ave. when he first said he was for the project, then said he was against it, all while calculating the ramifications of his choice on his 2007 election campaign.

Conscious Claremont quoted Pedroza as he described some of the private companies and agencies he works with. Among the private waste companies he named were three that received one of the aforementioned RFPs from the City: Waste Management, Athens Services, and Valley Vista Services.

We thought we'd heard of Valley Vista Services before in connection with Pedroza. It turns out that Valley Vista is a part of a City of Industry-based company called Zerep Management. In fact, if you type "zerepmanagement.com" in your browser, you'll get directed to Valley Vista's website.



Zerep sounded kinda strange. What exactly is it? We nosed around and learned that Zerep is a holding company owned by the City of Industry's Perez family. (Get it? Spell Z-E-R-E-P backwards.)

And that's where our man Sam comes in. In his 2007 city council campaign, Pedroza received a $250 donation from Matthew Perez, who listed his occupation as manager of Zerep Management Corp. Here's a part of Pedroza's campaign finance Form 460 filings for the 2007 municipal election:


If you didn't know, the Perez family pretty much runs Industry, where David Perez is the mayor. The Perez family has Industry's commercial waste hauling franchise. Since that city is almost entirely commercial, the commercial waste contract is worth millions every year to the family.

The Los Angeles Times ran an article about the Perez family in October 2009. The piece, written by Rich Connell explained some of the eccentricities of the David Perez's town:
[the commercial waste account] is just one Perez investment thread that runs through town -- a place with fewer than 100 voters, tight-knit City Hall relationships and now a good chance of becoming home to an $800-million stadium complex and Los Angeles' next professional football team.

On top of the commercial refuse franchise, which generated more than $12 million for Perez's disposal operation over the last year, another Perez firm collected nearly $6.8 million from the city for maintaining street medians and parkways, removing graffiti and other services, a Times review has found.

The mayor's business-partner brother serves on the city planning commission. A nephew, who works for the family's management company, is on the board of Industry's redevelopment agency, which provided income last year to yet another family business in which the mayor and his brother are investors.

The Times article went on to say that "nearly a third of the town's registered voters appear to be related to the mayor or residing in homes owned by a family land investment partnership...."
According to the Times, besides having a Perez in the mayor's seat, one council member rents his home from a Perez land investment partnership, and another is a "landowner that the company paid more than $100,000 [in 2008]."

More recently, on September 11, the Times had an article about a $1,500 donation from David Perez to L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley's campaign for California attorney general. The LADA's office is currently looking some of the goings on in Industry, so the donation seemed to present a possible conflict. The Times piece quoted Rene Cota, an Industry businessman who had his own problems with Industry's City Hall:
For about a year, Perez, who is also the mayor of the City of Industry and whose family owns the Valley Vista trash hauling firm, has been the focus of an inquiry by Cooley's office into his private business ties to City Hall. The ongoing probe, apparently examining multimillion-dollar refuse collection and landscaping maintenance contracts, began after Cota filed a complaint.

When the city shut down his bar for alleged code violations, Cota began looking into Industry's close-knit political culture — there are fewer than 100 registered voters, and many are related to one another or working for the city.

"It disheartens me," said the former Anaheim police officer. It is "obviously unethical if he's taking contributions from persons or entities" under scrutiny by Cooley's office, he said. "It definitely shakes my confidence in the legal system."

Cooley's top anti-corruption deputy says there is no connection between campaign money and the district attorney's investigation or prosecution of public officials.

But the donation highlights a tricky choice for an elected prosecutor like Cooley. Where does he draw the line on taking money from people who could figure in an investigation?

Besides the Times coverage, Industry was also the subject of a book called "City of Industry: Genealogies of Power in Southern California" by Victor Valle. The book is written as a kind of ethnography, describing in great detail the web of relationships between Industry politicians and businessmen.

Now, getting back to our Sam, we'd like to think of him as our local tongue-tied goof, like Ted Baxter from the old Mary Tyler Moore Show, not too bright, more ego than substance, but generally pretty harmless. Unfortunately, Sam's got just the wrong combination of ambition, weakness, and insecurity that has caused us so much trouble at every level of government.

It's probably very fortunate for Sam that Valley Vista hasn't submitted a bid for our trash service. He might start squirming and tripping over his tongue if that were to happen. Circumstances may have saved Sam from himself.

We can only hope.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fruit Falling Far From the Tree

CUSD Board Member
Jeff Stark
That photo of Jeff Stark at the Labor Day campaign kickoff for Russ Warner, the Democratic candidate running against incumbent Republican David Dreier for California's 26th congressional district seat, reminded us of some Stark's own family history and how it's linked to Dreier.

Dreier, for those of you who don't know, got his undergraduate degree in political science from Claremont Men's College (now Claremont McKenna College) in 1975. Dreier later earned a masters degree in government from Claremont Graduate School (now CGU). He also worked as a director of corporate relations at CMC. In 1980, our district elected Dreier to Congress, where he has been ensconced ever since.

At CMC Dreier (photo, right) no doubt crossed paths with Jeff Stark's father, Jack Stark, who was CMC's president from 1970 to 1999. Dreier would have also met Jeff's mother, Jil Stark, who was the director of the Marion Miner Cook Athenaeum. It turns out that the Starks kept in contact with Dreier after he became a congressman.

We checked and saw that both of Jeff's parents donated to Dreier's campaign war chest. The Huffington Post's FundRace listed two donations for Jil, one in 2009 for $1,000 and one in 2007 for $1,150. Notice that the latter contribution Jil's trustee position with the now-defunct PFF Bank & Trust, a 116-year-old local institution that survived the Great Depression but couldn't survive our Great Recession.

You'll recall that Jil Stark made a small fortune off PFF stock options right before the stock price plummeted. She may have used some of that windfall to help out a friend:

Click on Images to Enlarge


Jack Stark, too, got into the act, throwing a $600 bone Dreier's way in 2009:



We noticed that the Starks' son Jeff is a registered Republican, so one would presume he's a Dreier supporter as well. That's why we were so surprised to see him caught at the Russ Warner event. We hear Jeff didn't stick around very long. Maybe word got out to Dreier's office. Or to Jeff's folks.

Next time, Jeff ought to send Ken Corhan in his place. Ken's much more slick when it comes to this kind of sneaking around.

Neighborhood Forum Tonight

The City of Claremont is holding another of its neighborhood meetings tonight beginning at 7pm at the Alexander Hughes Center. Come on out and meet a couple of your council members. Let them know what you really think.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010
City Council Neighborhood Forum - Hughes Community Center

7:00 PM
1700 Danbury Dr.
Padua Room
Claremont
(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.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Family Affair

This sidebar article appeared next to a more substantive article in the Claremont Courier on Saturday, September 18:

From the Claremont Courier

We posted twice on the advertising for a paid staff member, here, and here with the job description.

We're glad to see the support committee has filled those billets, but it's a little unnerving that the Committee a) has to hire someone to be for the School Bond and b) has the money to do so.

The article makes plain that Aly Stark is the daughter of CUSD Board member Jeff Stark. We've already noted there is nothing new under the Sun in Jeff Stark exploiting family ties in support of a Claremont school bond. What is interesting is that he not only did it upward, to his father, Jack (retired/emeritus CMC President in Measure Y, but now is doing it down the family tree through his daughter.

(By the way, was that Jeff Stark a friend of ours saw at Democratic congressional candidate Russ Warner's kickoff party last week? The phantom in the picture certainly looks like CUSD Board president Hilary LaConte. We heard Mary Caenepeel may have been there, too, for a non-Brown Act social occasion.)


What is not so clear at first glance is the family connection of Lisa Germano. From what we can tell, Lisa Germano is a mid-90s graduate of Claremont High, sometime substitute teacher, and the current Dance Team adviser. Who is on the Dance Team? Among others, the daughter of Measure CL Triumvirate Member Bill Fox.

Here is a copy of a photo from Bill Fox's daughter's Facebook page, showing the dance team and adviser Lisa Germano at lower left (we know the image looks like a badly-doctored Photoshop job, but we didn't think it fair to associate recognizable images of the team members, or even Fox's daughter, with this whole deal. So we blurred everyone but Germano).


This is more or less in keeping with the whole ethos of Measure CL: It's not what you know, it's who you know.

click to enlarge

Thursday, September 16, 2010

OPM

Other People's Money

We see in today's Daily Bulletin an article by reporter Canan Tasci relating that the Cal Poly Pomona Board of Trustees will shortly consider a proposal to demolish Cal Poly's iconic CLA Building (Classroom, Laboratory, and Administration), housing student services and administrative offices and, we assume, classrooms and labs.

This is not a case of the university knocking down some old, dilapidated out-building remnant of Kellogg Ranch, this is a 200,000 square foot building built in 1993--it's only 17 years old! Plus, it has become a symbol of Cal Poly. Hence the term "iconic". By the way, 200,000 square feet is about 5 acres. The tower is 173 feet high. This is a huge building complex.


We can scarcely think of a better example of the phenomenon of OPM--Other People's Money. When public agencies are paying for things with OPM--which is all they really ever do--they just don't care.

Build a monumental building in 1993 that leaks and doesn't meet program needs? Sure, it's OPM.

Plan on tearing down the same building scarcely 20 years later and replacing it with a new $80 million dollar one? Sure, it's OPM.

All the while, be careful to shroud the issue in student safety (earthquakes in this case), energy efficiency, and LEED-sustainability-greenness. And don't worry, somebody else is paying for it-- "Funds would be allocated from the Chancellor's Office utilizing state construction bonds." In other words, OPM.

Come to think of it, this sounds a lot like the proponents of the $95 million Measure CL:

So what if we only built about half of what we said we'd build with Measure Y money? OPM.

Repair or replace leaky and faulty roofs. OPM.

Improve student and school safety, including fire alarms and replacing old wiring. OPM.

Install solar panels...other energy-efficiency improvements...environmentally sustainable... OPM.

Remove hazardous materials...lead...asbestos. OPM.

Maybe we all ought to go out and get some OPM of our own.

Campaign piece pushing CUSD Measure CL, prepared by the School District, and handed out at a recent elementary school Parents' Night.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Burying the Lede: Disgraced Former Bell City Attorney Has Always Seen Peter Yao as a Man of Integrity

What a Recommendation!

Peas in a Pod

Several readers have taken us to task, and rightly, for burying the lede or missing the most interesting part of the Peter Yao story:

Peter Yao's recommendation letter to the Applicant Selection Panel for the State of California Citizens Redistricting Commission was written by none other than Edward Lee, the disgraced/resigned/fired former City Attorney of Bell. Yao thus far has made the cut of the 120 names to be winnowed to 60 names by October 1, 2010.

Shortly after the Bell salary and governance scandal was publicized by the Los Angeles Times, Edward Lee was removed as Bell City Attorney, fired as Downey City Attorney, and resigned from Best, Best and Krieger. The city of Covina removed Lee but kept BBK. Best, Best and Krieger, which continues as Claremont City Attorney, has been subpoenaed by Attorney General Brown in the Bell scandal.

See the letter from Lee below:

15322

Imagine having the guy who signed off on the obscene salaries of the Bell City Manager, Assistant City Manager, Police Chief, and four of the five councilmembers, say this about you [emphasis added]:

I firmly believe that Peter possesses the skills to balance the competing interests of the State. His experience in his professional and political arenas make him uniquely qualified to weigh and understand the issues which redistricting the State will present. My knowledge of his integrity and honesty also speak to his valuable qualifications to present the views of all segments of our diverse State.

While the corruption at Bell may or may not directly affect Claremont, certainly a good bit of the stink has rubbed off on Peter Sunway Yao.

You can't pick your relatives, but you can pick your friends.

Chairman Yao Under the Radar

Chairman Yao

It came to our attention recently that Claremont's own Peter Yao has made the cut and has been accepted into 120-member pool for interviews and possible membership on the State of California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

This action was taken on July 19 by the Applicant Review Panel, but we haven't seen it in any of the local media--maybe with vacations and all...

from the minutes of the Review Panel meeting:

Ms. Camacho moved to interview the following 40 applicants who are affiliated with the Republican Party:

Christine Allcorn, Kathleen Beasley, Robert Gonzales, Larry Kerr, Leilani Kimmel-Dagostino, Martin Lax, Nancy Lyons, Sandor Mayuga, Davin McAndrews, Gabriel Morales, Henry Norton, Lilbert “Gil” Ontai, Roy Salume, Christine “Chris” Shipman, Gina Simas, Charles Starr, James Vidal, Evelyn Volpa, Michael Ward, Mary Werthman, Cecilia White, Ronald Wilczynski, Peter Yao, Gene Lee, Jeffrey Kwong, Peggy Huang, Jodie Filkins Webber, David Ikari, Michael Briggs, Vincent Barabba, Edward Duran, Evelyn Zneimer, Bev Perry, Alan Jorgensen, Donna Beers, Orrin Banta, Suzanne Levy, Daniel Seagondollar, Susan Miller, and Wesley Hussey. Ms. Spano seconded. There being no public comment or opposition, the motion carried.

Ms. Spano moved to eliminate from the applicant pool the remaining Republican applicants. Ms. Camacho seconded. There being no opposition, the motion carried.

Panel counsel reported receiving two written comments both of which were supplied to the panel members and available at the back of the room. [We especially like how at the State level written comments are provided the commission members after the vote is taken.]


Still, this process should get more notice than it has been getting.

It's fairly lengthy, but see councilmember Yao's supplemental application. Letters of recommendation (glowing) can be found here, including one from an attorney at the City's law firm, Best, Best, and Krieger.

These resume or personal history-type things tend to be exercises, in self glorification. Yao's application tends to be nothing much more than auto-hagiography. It doesn't stray far from that template. We list below a few quotes from Yao's application. We believe they should be compiled into a little red book we could carry around. Hey!--we could call it "The Sayings of Chairman Yao":

  • The challenge of working on a meaningful task, solving a tough problem to secure a just representation for Californians and working with a high performance team entice me to apply...
  • I treasured solving problems.
  • I have always found satisfaction in solving tough problems. Redistricting is a very tough and complex political problem.
  • I consider exposure to new knowledge and experience as the reward of commission assignment.
  • In life, one is obliged to play with the cards you are dealt.
  • I am efficient in using spreadsheet programs including the first VisiCalc in the 1960’s.
  • Diversity is California’s competitive advantage in commerce, scientific and technological research, and in securing a truly democratic society.
  • As a working engineer, I understand and employed dense and technical written material... [anyone who has read Yao's unedited writing, or heard him speak, will go along with part of this observation.]
It's worth noting several features of the 120-member applicant pool in which Yao swims. It seems to be made up disproportionately of third-tier local officials or government employees. One who made the cut but who has dropped out in the last month is retired Los Angeles County Recorder Conny B. McCormack, for a prima facie ineligibility. See here, and here.

Another, from northern California, is Nancy Lyons, who works in the Governor's office. See here.

Another, we noted in passing was a public agency lawyer.

Yao interviewed with the panel on August 24, 2010, and it's a regret of our young life that we missed that performance. Interviews were apparently streamed in the Internet.


The process from this point forward is this: by October 1, 2010, the State Auditor (responsible for winnowing the 30,000- strong initial applicant pool) must reduce the pool of 120 to a pool of 60--20 Democrats, 20 Republicans, and 20 "Other". These names go to the Majority and Minority Leaders of both the State Assembly and State Senate, and each may strike up to 2 names from each of the three sub-pools. This will be done prior to November 20, 2010.

If the legislative leadership exercises all of its "strikes", there would be 12 names in each pool for a total of 36. By November 20 the Auditor will select 8 names randomly from these 36. By December 31, 2010, those 8 will select the remaining 6 members of the commission from the remaining names in the applicant pool of 28.

Chairman Yao still has a steep hill to climb to reach the Final Fourteen, but, as he says, he thrives on tough challenges.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Helped Wanted, Part Two - UPDATED

As we indicated on Friday, the Claremont Unified School District's school bond campaign committee is looking to hire some able-bodied college students for its to work with its paid campaign consultant and its paid campaign manager in their "grassroots" Yes on CL effort.

We received a few emails from readers who were more than a little irritated by Yes on CL committee member Mike Seder's attempt at reaching out to his alma mater, Claremont McKenna College and CMC's Rose Institute, and we published a "Help Wanted" email from Rose fellow Douglas Johnson.

Johnson's email included this job description for the Yes on CL campaign manager position :

Campaign manager/field organizer – Claremont, CA, school bond measure.

Some political campaign experience or experience working with campaign volunteers preferred.

Irregular hours: >40 hrs/week through early November. Some evenings and weekends included.

Must have your own car. Laptop ideal but not necessary.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

• Coordinating communication between members of the campaign team, including campaign consultant, superintendent & district officials, steering committee, volunteers, fundraising team and other community leaders and activists.

[CUSD's superintendent and district officials are barred from working directly on the campaign. Yet, according to the campaign's own job description, the district seems to be directly in charge of the campaign. Someone needs to file a complaint with the state's Fair Political Practices Commission. -ed]

• Under direction of the campaign consultant, implementation of a field campaign operation staffed by volunteers. Field operations may include volunteer recruitment, scheduling and training, voter registration, phone banks and precinct walks, vote-by-mail drives, lawn sign distribution, staging free media events and getting out the vote (GOTV) activities.

• Working with members of the fundraising team to mail invitations,
request contributions, collect checks, write thank-you notes and hold events (if necessary).

• Coordinating with treasurer to ensure accurate and timely filing of campaign reports and other necessary forms.

• General day-to-day coordination and management of the campaign office, phone banks and other ongoing activities.

• Closing down campaign following election day, including the coordination of final fundraising reports, ensuring that campaign committee members and others are thanked appropriately and making arrangements to settle all outstanding campaign financial commitments.

Contact: Mike Seder, seder@fairplex.com


UPDATED Sunday, September 12, 5:45pm:

The CMC connection for Mike Seder goes beyond his alumnus status. Seder's wife Diana is director of CMC's Career Services Center. As her CMC bio states, she "knows CMC and CMC students from start to finish."

Diana Seder
Director
Oversees all Career Services programs and events
dseder@cmc.edu

Diana’s long-standing relationship with higher education administration started in 1987 when she graduated with her MBA from Claremont Graduate School and was hired by the same program to be their Associate Director. In 1991, she became the Acting Director of the Claremont Graduate School Office of Career Services, and then came to work at the CMC Career Services Center in 1997. Interestingly, at different times she has held both the Associate Director (Recruiting) and the Associate Director (Internship) positions as year-long assignments, so she is very familiar with the operations of the CSC. Diana assumes her role as Interim Director after an 8-year tenure with the Office of Admissions at CMC. “I know CMC and CMC students from start to finish” she says.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Piano Piano and Claremont Turn Up in Bleeding Edge Meme

Okay, this is complicated, and only propeller-heads have much of a chance of following it.

There has been a disturbance in the Internet Force the past few days about "Google Instant", the newly-enabled search feature on Google that allows you to see intermediate results as you type your search term into the box. (Thus far, it seems to work only sporadically)

For example, searching on "Claremont Insider" might produce the following first suggestions and instantaneous search pages for them:

C: craigslist
CL: club penguin
CLA: claim jumper
CLAR: claremont colleges
CLARE: claremont colleges
CLAREM: claremont colleges
CLAREMO: claremont colleges
CLAREMON: claremont colleges
CLAREMONT: claremont colleges
CLAREMONT I: claremont insider

...and there you are! The entire search results page for "Claremont Insider" pops up. You didn't have to type the whole word "Insider", just the "I", not the "nsider", saving you 2.4 seconds per search or thousands and thousands of hours over your lifetime. Google does this by serving new search results with each letter typed--some 20 sub-searches for each information search on average, according to reports.

(The sustainability harpies will probably cast the evil eye on this given the results of this 2009 study that said that each single Google search generated 7 grams of CO2. Now, with this new feature, that will be multiplied by twenty to 140 grams of CO2. And, with those thousands and thousands of hours added to our lifetimes, we will probably make even more searches. Pounds and Tons of CO2. An inconvenient truth.)

How does this relate to Claremont, you ask?

Well, Friday morning the Huffington Post carried an article about a new pastime using Google Instant and YouTube. It amounts to typing the lyrics of a song into Google Instant, saving the page images, and setting these to the music of the song. The HuffPo embeds a couple of examples. One is Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues, (lame) and the other is Tom Lehrer's, The Elements (excellent). They are calling this a Lyrical Google Instant Search Meme.

Watch the Lehrer piece, The Elements. It's only 1:25 and consists, as Lehrer told us on the 1960s album, of the names of the chemical elements set to a possibly recognizable theme [from Gilbert and Sullivan].

As the search auto-complete terms flash by, note at 1:14 that piano piano claremont ca flashes by:

click to enlarge
click to enlarge

That's it. Not really all that earthshaking, but moderately charming. What's really amazing is that people have enough time on their hands to do this, and other people have enough time on their hands to write about it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

CUSD to CMC: Help wanted

The Claremont Unified School District's Measure CL campaign team seeks students to work with a paid campaign manager to work on the Yes on CL effort.

Campaign committee person and Claremont 400 aspirant Mike Seder, whom we've seen on several occasions, is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College and, in his search for able-bodied campaign workers, seems to have been in contact with at least one person at CMC's Rose Institute.

This came in over the wire from a couple sources:

DATE: Wed, September 8, 2010 10:53:27 PM
TO:
Claremont Insider [claremontbuzz@yahoo.com]
SUBJECT: FW: Claremont campaign openings


From: Douglas Johnson [douglas.johnson@cmc.edu]
Organization: Rose Institute of State & Local Government at CMC
Reply-To: [douglas.johnson@cmc.edu]
Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2010 13:54:57 -0700
To: XXX
Cc: Mike Seder [seder@fairplex.com]
Subject: Claremont campaign openings

A friend from the Fairplex is deeply involved in the current campaign in support of a parcel tax to support Claremont schools. The campaign has a firm doing strategic consulting, along with a board of prominent local supporters, but they are looking for student volunteers and a paid day to day campaign manager.

Do you know of students (or student organizations) who might be interested in spending some time helping with this campaign to help Claremont schools, or who want to get some experience in a campaign at the grassroots level? This is a great way to do this without having to travel far from campus. If you know of anyone interested, could you encourage them to contact Mike Seder (seder@fairplex.com)? Mike's both a great guy and CMC Class of 1982. If they have questions, I'm also happy to talk to them and share what limited info I have regarding the campaign.

Obviously, time is tight as campaign day's approaching rapidly. Thanks!

- Doug

Douglas Johnson
Fellow
Rose Institute of State and Local Government
Claremont McKenna College
o 909-621-8159
m 310-200-2058
douglas.johnson@cmc.edu
www.RoseReport.org

Johnson's email seems to support the notion that the campaign is driven by "a firm doing strategic consulting," no doubt TBWB Strategies and consultant Jared Boigon, who has advised the CUSD Board of Education from the very beginning.

It also struck us as very strange that a conservative organization like the Rose Institute would lend itself to campaigning for a highly dubious $95 million school bond (not a parcel tax, Doug). You'd think that with Claremont property owners still paying off $30 million of the last, misspent school bond, the Rose Institute would be ideologically inclined to question the wisdom of tacking on another $95 million in bonded indebtedness, especially when that new money amounts to little more than a blank check for a district that has repeatedly failed to demonstrate any fiscal commonsense.

But then, these are strange times.

* * * * *

Coming Soon: You may wonder what the job description looks like for the above position. Check back this weekend.

* * * * *

Our spies tell us that the Yes on CL campaign is casting quite a wide net in its outreach efforts. For instance, a couple weekends ago, a group of Claremont High School students who are against the bond were at the Claremont Sunday Farmers' Market handing out arguments against the bond. We hear that the kids had a volunteer sign-up list.

Who signed up to help on the "NO" campaign? None other than than the ever-subtle, pro-CL Ken Corhan (photo, left), who was summoned to the scene by CUSD board member Jeff Stark. Shilling for failed Claremont City Council candidates isn't enough for the ol' Kenster. This just goes to show that the Claremont 400 can be relied upon to run the same plays, over and over.

Leave it to Corhan to think he's so clever he'd be able to plant himself as a mole in a No on CL organizing party. Why can't he just be like the Insider and let the clandestine information come in over the transom unasked for? A word to the wise: When it comes to the Claremonsters, trust no one.

Music in and Around Town

Tomorrow night, The Ravelers help kick off the 5th season at the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

The Ravelers will play at the Imaginarium Courtyard at 7pm, and the Loverboy concert starts at 8pm in the Lewis Family Playhouse. Tickets are normally $45, but the Ravelers have a discount offer of $25.


Saturday, September 11- The Ravelers with Loverboy!!!

Victoria Gardens Cultural Center (at the Victoria Gardens Mall)

12505 Cultural Center Drive Rancho Cucamonga, CA
(909)477-2752

The Ravelers play at 7:00pm. Raveler Friends get a great deal for a very fun night...$25 PER TICKET!!! When you get your tickets, tell them "We are with The Ravelers, Promo Code 1011, Loverboy."


The City's Depot Jazz Series kicks off next Friday at the Metrolink Depot on First St. in the Claremont Village. From the city website:
13th Annual Depot Jazz Series Returns

The Depot Jazz Series will return on September 17! Bring your chairs and a blanket and enjoy jazz under the stars. Concerts begin at 7:30 pm and end at 9:00 pm at the Claremont Depot. 13th Annual Depot Jazz Series, 200 West First St.

September 17: Jim Munoz Mambop Latin Jazz
September 24: Joel Penner
October 1st: Lao Tizer

Wolfe's Market will be onsite with a variety of dinner and snack items available for purchase. Parking is available at the Metrolink Lot (First & College).

Finally, The Press Restaurant offers the following this weekend:
Friday, September 10, 2010, 10pm

Jason Heath & The Greedy Souls
Jason Heath and the Greedy Souls couple rough-and-ragged folk and country strains with punk idealism and directness on their debut full-length, The Vain Hope of Horse, resulting in a sound that is as instantly familiar as it is convention-defying.


Saturday, September 11, 2010, 10pm

The Voodoo Fix
A rock band that doesn't know their roots doesn't know anything. Evident in their name alone, The Voodoo Fix has taken hold and twisted their roots in the blues to become a true American Rock band of a new age, taking the scene by storm. After their second successful tour, these Los Angeles-based rockers are hitting their live shows harder than ever, leaving their college crowds thirsting for more.


Sunday, September 12, 2010, 10pm

Savage Republic

Rising from the Los Angeles underground of the 1980s, Savage Republic forged an astonishing reputation by virtue of five mesmerizing studio albums and a string of legendary live performances.

Forever shifting, their brand of ritualistically tribal exhibitions blurred the boundaries of postpunk, industrial and soundtrack music, incorporating minimalist bass rumbles, exotic metal percussion, primal chants, middle eastern melodies and even shards of surf guitar.

A "best of" 2-disc set entitled "Procession: An Aural History 1981-2010" has just been released.

Affordable Housing Update

The City's website has an informational blurb about the Jamboree Housing Corp. affordable housing project on the old Claremont Courier site at 111 S. College Ave. Most of the information is a rehash of the article in the last Claremont City Letter, but there are a couple links for anyone interested in applying for one of the residential units.


Jamboree will break ground in November. Courier Place will be open to low- to moderate-income families, and there will be 38 units for seniors. Preference for the family units will be given to families that have a person employed in Claremont.

Affordable Housing Project Update (Sep 7, 2010)

City Council has partnered with Jamboree Housing Corporation, a non-profit housing development company, to develop an affordable housing project at 111 S. College Avenue on the site of the former Courier building.

With the funding in place, the City is scheduled to break ground this fall. Construction is scheduled to start in November and is anticipated to take a little over a year. Pending weather delays, the project would be ready for occupancy in early 2012.

Jamboree Housing Corp. has named the project Courier Place. the complex will have 75 units divided into three residential buildings.There will be 38 one-bedroom senior (age 62+) units in one courtyard style building, 36 family units with 2 to 3 bedrooms in two 18-unit buildings, and one two-bedroom manager unit. In addition to the residential buildings, there will be a community building, swimming pool, a playground and landscaped areas.

Applicants must meet low to moderate income guidelines set by the state with rents ranging from $481 to $1,218. In addition to income criteria, family units will have a residency preference provided to households where at least one member of the household is employed within the city of Claremont.

The City is maintaining a mailing list of interested applicants which will be turned over to Jamboree in the next six months. The qualification process will be administered by Jamboree Corporation. To be placed on the mailing list, please contact the City of Claremont at (909) 399-5441 or fill out the interest form and send to City Hall.

Courier Place Site Plan
(Click on Image to Enlarge)

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.?


FISCAL VISION, CUSD-STYLE

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

CGU Scores Big


Happy days in Claremont Graduate University's Art Department. CGU has received gifts totaling $2 million to fund the Roland Reiss Endowed Chair in Art. The money came primarily from CGU alumna Sally Hurt, but several other notables, including Claremont artist Karl Benjamin and his wife Beverly, contributed as well.

Here's CGU's press release:

Claremont Graduate University celebrates creation of Roland Reiss Endowed Chair in Art

CLAREMONT, CA -- Claremont Graduate University has secured $2 million in gifts to establish the Roland Reiss Endowed Chair in Art.

The endowment, named in honor of former CGU Art Department Chair Roland Reiss, will fund a senior level faculty position in the department. The chair holder will be supported by a significant fund to aid in research and teaching activities.

"The establishment of the Roland Reiss Endowed Chair in Art strengthens what is already one of the premiere graduate art programs in the nation," said CGU interim President Joseph C. Hough, Jr. "This generous endowment allows the program to continue to attract and retain a creative and energetic faculty, with students as the ultimate beneficiary. All of us at Claremont Graduate University are grateful to those whose generosity made this chair possible."

The bulk of the funding for the endowment comes from Sally Hurt, a generous alumna and former student of Reiss. She created a $1 million challenge grant to encourage other donors and alumni to support the effort.

Significant gifts also came from Karl and Beverly Benjamin, Peggy Phelps and Robert B. Egelston, a long-time supporter of the arts and former trustee of CGU.

A professor will be appointed to the endowed chair post in the coming months.

“It’s wonderful to have an endowed chair that honors Roland Reiss,” said Janet Farell Brodie, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities. “He is a gifted teacher who was beloved by the students. He was a major force in creating the department that exists today.”

Reiss, a distinguished artist, teacher, and scholar, enjoyed a prolific career at CGU from 1971 to 2001.

Under his leadership, the university's art department emerged as an exceptional, nationally ranked program. CGU’s masters of fine arts (MFA) students are on the leading edge of techniques and theory, and the university’s alumni are artists of global prominence.

CGU’s Art program offers MFA degrees in studio disciplines including drawing, painting, photography, video, performance art, installation, and sculpture. Students in the program have the freedom to design a curriculum that meets their individual, expressive, and conceptual needs.

The university will celebrate the Roland Reis Endowed Chair in Art Sept. 10-12 with a weekend of gallery shows and receptions in Claremont and Pomona.


About Claremont Graduate University


Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is one of the top graduate schools in the United States. Our nine academic schools conduct leading-edge research and award masters and doctoral degrees in 22 disciplines. Because the world’s problems are not simple nor easily defined, diverse faculty and students research and study across the traditional discipline boundaries to create new and practical solutions for the major problems plaguing our world. A Southern California based graduate school devoted entirely to graduate research and study, CGU boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio.
If you're interested in attending this weekend's events commemorating the Roland Reiss Endowed Chair, here's the schedule:

Familiar Grounds: Celebrating Roland Reiss and Art at CGU

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10

6 p.m.-8 p.m.: Roland Reiss: Selections from the 1960s

Reception for the artist and CGU alumni
Andi Campognone Projects
300 W. Second Street, Pomona


8 p.m.-10 p.m.: For Roland
Pre-view CGU alumni reception
Short program at 8 p.m.
Bunny Gunner Gallery

266 W. Second Street, Pomona


6 p.m.- 10 p.m.: Prelude To An Apocalypse: Landscape in an Era of Diminished Expectations
Special preview reception. Works by Lisa Adams
(MFA 1980), Wendell Gladstone (MFA 1998) and Greg Rose (MFA 1997)
Pedersen Projects
396 S. Thomas Street, Pomona


SATURDAY. SEPTEMBER 11

11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Art Department Open House

2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: Panel discussion, “Art at CGU
Art Department faculty and guests; Art Department Chair Michael Brewster, moderator
Claremont Graduate University, Burkle Building, Room 16
1021 N. Dartmouth Avenue, Claremont

4 p.m.-5:30 p.m.: “Running off the Edge
Q & A between Roland Reiss and Christopher Miles (chair of the Department of Art at California State
University, Long Beach). Special guests: Dr. Jeanne Willette, former CGU art history professor; John Gordon (MFA 1973); David Wells (MFA 1987). Claremont Graduate University, Burkle Building, Room 16
1021 N. Dartmouth Avenue, Claremont

6 p.m.-9 p.m.: Roland Reiss, Flora: Recent Paintings, A Garden for Sally
Reception for the artist and alumni event

Claremont Graduate University, East and Peggy Phelps Galleries

251 E. 10th Street, Claremont



SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 12

Noon: Navigating Boulder: Connecting with Roland Reiss
Opening reception. Works by University of Colorado graduates, faculty & visiting artists Joe Clower, Merion Estes, Judith Hudson, Connie Jenkins, Tom Jenkins, Joan Moment, Jim Richard, Clark Richert, and William T. Wiley

Andi Campognone Projects/OBJCT Gallery

536 W. First Street (in the packing house), Claremont

At the Claremont Colleges

Now that the Claremont Colleges are back in session and are abuzz with activity. The CC Calendar lists all of the goings on:


POMONA COLLEGE ART AND LECTURES

The Pomona College Museum of Art has a pair of exhibit opening receptions this Saturday. The museum's located at 330 N. College Ave. You can get all the details here, or you can call (909) 621-8283 for more information.

Steve Roden: when words become forms

Now through December 19, 2010
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 11, 4-6 p.m.

A Conversation with Steve Roden and Michael Ned Holte:
Thursday, October 7, at 8 p.m. in the Museum,
followed by a book signing and reception.


Project Series 41: Ginny Bishton


Now through October 17, 2010

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 11, 4-6 p.m.
Artist Lecture: Wednesday, September 22, at 3 p.m. in the Museum

Pomona College is also hosting a landscaping working shop by the Sustainable Claremont Water Action Group. The city of Claremont may want to send some representatives to learn about irrigation.
Landscaping with Beautiful Native Plants and Efficient Irrigation

Saturday, September 11, 2:00-3:30pm
Hahn Building, 420 Harvard Ave.
Call (909) 607-2768 for information

The event features three landscapers who specialize in native plants.


EVENTS AT SCRIPPS COLLEGE

The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery on the Scripps College campus will host an opening reception this Saturday. The gallery is located at 251 E. Eleventh St. Admission and parking are free. For information, call (909) 607-2029.
Luminous Line: Contemporary Drawings in Metal Point

The exhibition includes works by Steve Comba, Howard Hack, Marietta Hoferer, Michael Kukla, Cynthia Lin, Morgan O'Hara, Ben Polsky, Carol Prusa, Lucy Pullen, Susan Schwalb, and Fran Siegel.

Now through October 17, 2010
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 11, 4-6pm
Artist Lecture: Susan Schwalb, Monday, September 13, at 7pm. in the Hampton Room, Mallot Commons

Scripp's Clark Humanities Musueum has two ongoing exhibits. The museum is located at 981 Amherst. For information, call (909) 607-3397:
Rendering the Female Subject

Rendering the Female Subject features works on paper, ceramic pieces, and wood
sculptures from the Scripps Permanent Collection. The selection includes Pre Columbian terracotta figures, Satsuma ware, Andy Warhol polaroids, an Alison Saar print, an acrylic painting by Jamini Roy, and much more.

Student curator: Aleedra Price under the supervision of Professor Mary MacNaughton and Kirk Delman.

Now through October 13, 2010

Exhibit reception: Wednesday, September 15th in the Clark Humanities Museum from 4-5pm.



Imaginary Travel to Exotic Lands

Now through October 13, 2010


Paintings and engravings, drawn from the permanent collection of the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery.

As part of its Fall 2010 seminar, "Engagement: Mind, Body, and Soul," the Humanities Institute at Scripps offers a couple events tonight and next week:
Flow and the Quality of Life

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Professor of Psychology and Management Claremont Graduate University

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 - 6:00 p.m. - Boone Recital Hall


Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology in the School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences at Claremont Graduate University. Professor Csikszentmihalyi is the director of the Quality of Life Research Center (QLRC). The QLRC is a non-profit research institute that studies "positive psychology"; that is, human strengths such as optimism, creativity, intrinsic motivation, and responsibility. His books include the bestselling Flow, Being Adolescent, The Evolving Self, and Creativity. He is a member of the American Academy of Education, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Leisure Sciences.
He is noted for his work in the study of happiness and creativity, but is best known as the architect of the notion of “flow”- a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation - and for his years of research and writing on the topic. He is the author of many books and over 120 articles or book chapters. Martin Seligman, former president of the American Psychological Association, described Csikszentmihalyi as the world's leading researcher on positive psychology.


NO IMPACT MAN
Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein, Directors
USA, 2009, 93 min
Co-sponsored by Pomona for Environmental Activism and Responsibility (PEAR)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 5:30 p.m. - Garrison Theater


Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein's film provides an intriguing inside look into the experiment that became a national fascination and media sensation, while examining the familial strains and strengthened bonds that result from one man’s decision to completely eliminate his personal impact on the environment for one year and his wife’s struggle with their radical lifestyle change.



UPCOMING AT THE ATH
M.M.C. Athenaeum
385 E. 8th St.
Claremont, CA 91711-6420
(909) 621-8244
Fax: (909) 621-8579
athenaeum@claremontmckenna.edu

Claremont McKenna College's Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum begins its Fall speaker series Thursday with writer David Oliver Relin.

Below we've posted the speakers for September. The programs start at 6:45pm, except where noted.

Thursday,
September 9
David Oliver Relin, journalist; co-author, Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time (2007); "Three Cups of Tea and See How They Shine"
Tuesday,
September 14
Haley Scott DeMaria, author, What Though the Odds- Haley Scott's Journey of Faith and Triumph (2008); "Swimming Back from Paralysis"
Wednesday,
September 15
Robert Thies, piano; gold medal winner (1995), Second International Sergei Prokofiev Competition, St. Petersburg, Russia; artist on album Live in Recital (2006); Gary Bovyer, clarinet; music faculty, Cal Poly Pomona; Roger Lebow, cello; music faculty, Chapman University, Pomona College, Claremont Graduate University; "Brahms in His Final Years"
Thursday,
September 16
Michael Eisner, former CEO, The Walt Disney Company (1984-2005); founder, The Tornante Company; co-author, Working Together: Why Great Partnerships Succeed (2010) and Work in Progress: Risking Failures, Surviving Success (1999); "An Evening with Michael Eisner"
Friday,
September 17
James Fuller, professor emeritus of art, Scripps College; "Art Opening and Reception" (3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Monday,
September 20
Ken Mehlman, partner and head of Global Public Affairs, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company (KKR); "Why Would A Global Industry-Leading Leveraged Buyout Firm Suddenly Go Green?"
Tuesday,
September 21
Jeffrey Bergner, president and managing financial partner, Bergner Bockorny, Inc.; former staff director, Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs (2005-2008); author, The New Superpower: Germany, Japan and the United States in the New World Order (1991) and co-editor, The Taiwan Relations Act: A Decade of Implimentation (1989); "The Rhetoric and Reality of the Obama Administration"
Wednesday,
September 22
Angelika Niemz, Arnold and Mabel Beckman Professor, director of research, Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences; co-author, Specific versus Nonspecific Isothermal DNA Amplification through Thermophilic Polymerase and Nicking Enzyme Activities (2008) and Isothermal DNA Amplification with Gold Nanosphere-based Visual Colorimetric Readout for Herpes Simplex Virus Detection (2007); Nina Karnovsky, associate professor of biology, Pomona College; co-author, The Impact and Importance of Production in Polynyas to Top-trophic Predators: Three Case Histories (2007) and Foraging Behavior of Little Auks in a Heterogeneous Environment (2003); Jean Doble, research director, Amgen, Inc.; Stephanie Cropper, M.D.; obstetrician and gynecologist; "Women in Science and Medicine: Can You Achieve Work/Family Satisfaction?" (panel 12:15 p.m.)
Wednesday,
September 22
Stephan Haggard, Lawrence and Sallye Krause professor of Korea-Pacific studies, U.C. San Diego Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies; co-author, Development, Democracy, and Welfare States: Latin America, East Asia, and Eastern Europe (2008) and Famine in North Korea: Markets, Aid, and Reform (2007); "Whither North Korea?"
Thursday,
September 23
Kirby Daley, senior strategist, Newedge Prime Brokerage, Newedge Group (Hong Kong); "The Economic Outlook for Asia in the "New" Global Economic Environment" (12:00 p.m.)
Thursday,
September 23
Claudia McKay '99, microfinance specialist, Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP); Mike McKay '99, former country director, Baobab Health Malawi, "From the Ath to Africa: Two CMCers Share Their Decade of Experiences Abroad"
Monday,
September 27
Matthew Crawford, research fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia; contributing editor, The New Atlantic; author, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work (2009)
Tuesday,
September 28
William Beezley, professor of history, University of Arizona; co-author, Mexicans in Revolution, 1910-1946: An Introduction (2009) and author, Mexican National Identity: Memory, Innuendo, and Popular Culture (2008); "Mexican Revolutionary Culture: Indians, Anthropologists, Intellectuals, and Calendar Girls"
Wednesday,
September 29
Maria Contreras-Sweet, founding chairwoman, Promerica Bank (2006); former California Secretary of Business, Transportation, and Housing (1999-2003)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Water Wise

Claremont City Manager Jeff Parker's weekly report last Thursday led with a blurb about a turf buyback program offering $3 for every square-foot of yard grass homeowners replace with drought-tolerant landscaping:

TURF BUYBACK PROGRAM NOW AVAILABLE IN CLAREMONT!

Golden State Water Company and Three Valleys Municipal Water District have teamed up to offer cash rebates to Claremont homeowners that remove turf and replace it with water-wise landscaping. The Residential Turf Removal Program rebates $3.00 per square foot for turf removed up to a maximum of $3,000 per residence. Details of the program and an application to participate can be found at:

http://www.socalwatersmart.com/images/PDFs/mwd_rebate_form_turf_removal.pdf
.

The City is excited about this program because it should help the community meet its goal of reducing potable water consumed community-wide by 20% by 2012. City Council members have been pushing for a turf buyback program, noting that 70% of water used in Claremont is for outdoor uses and that turf is almost always the most water intensive plant in our yards.

It's great to see the City leading the way when it comes to conservation issues, especially with sustainability having become a civic buzzword. That the City has encouraging residents to be aware of these sorts of environmental issues adds to City Hall's embarrassment over things like leaving the lights burning over unused sports fields.

Claremont's municipal carbon footprint grew a little larger now that it's soccer fields at Padua Park are on line. A reader wrote to say someone forgot to switch off the field lights there last week:
DATE: Sat, September 4, 2010 7:02:01 AM
TO: Claremont Insider
SUBJECT: Re: Claremont Insider

Oh yeah, Friday night you could see the Padua park lights from space. You know the area in north claremont that isn't supposed to have any street lights. They wanted to keep that rural feeling. That is until "they" had yet another plan, uh huh I feel like I'm in the boonies...

We heard separately from another reader that the Padua soccer lights were burning last Thursday night with no one on the fields. How fitting that the project that pushed the city budget millions of dollars into the red, a project touted for its "sustainability," continues to run up a bill for wasted dollars.

We were thinking about those field lights when it occurred to us that the City has added over three acres of turf at Padua Park at precisely the same time they are asking residents to remove the grass in their yards. As City Manager Parker wrote, "City Council members have been pushing for a turf buyback program, noting that 70% of water used in Claremont is for outdoor uses, and turf is almost always the most water intensive plant in our yards."

At around three acres (a conservative estimate), the fields at Padua Park amount to enough grass for 130 homes under the turf buyback program City Manager Parker touted.

The City would argue that the turf planted in Padua Park is a drought-resistant, "water-wise" type, which may be perfectly true. However, several our readers have commented that ever since the park opened, the park's water usage has appeared pretty wasteful, including a substantial leak along one side of the westernmost soccer field. Even on the hottest of days, standing water apparently pooled in the turf there.

We were curious and, nearly five months after the park's opening, we finally dispatched someone to take a look at the situation. There wasn't any standing water, but we did notice some repair work was underway in the spot where the months-old leak was supposed to have been:

Click on Image to Enlarge


Though the turf in problem area had been removed, it looked like the leak hadn't been fixed yet:



Looking around the park, we found other evidence of the City's water management prowess:

Watering Dirt


La Cienega


A River Runs Through It


Mighty Dry Oak