Claremont Insider: You Must Remember This

Monday, September 22, 2008

You Must Remember This

According to an article by Daily Bulletin court reporter Will Bigham, a Claremont citizens group is suing Claremont McKenna College and the city of Claremont to try to stop CMC's planned Kravis Center:

CLAREMONT - A neighborhood group that opposes plans by Claremont McKenna College to construct a new campus center has filed a lawsuit against the college and the city and is seeking a court order halting the project.

The group, called Protect Our Neighborhoods, filed the complaint July 28 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The group contends that the city, in approving plans for the college's Kravis Center, failed to properly address the project's impact on air quality, noise and parking in surrounding neighborhoods.

"The residents are just trying to make sure the problems the project is going to create are adequately mitigated, so it doesn't create problems outside the university," said Ray Johnson, a Temecula attorney who represents the group.

Plans for the four-story Kravis Center include construction of classrooms, space for five of the college's 10 research institutes, and offices for faculty, admissions and financial-aid staff members.

In July, the City Council had rejected Protect Our Neighborhood's appeal of a Claremont Planning Commission's decision to allow the Kravis Center plan to go forward. The Council voted 4-1 to deny the appeal, a decision that led to the present lawsuit.

That lone "No" vote was Councilmember Sam Pedroza's. It was nice, for a change, to see him stand up for a neighborhood trying to fight for its identity. Pedroza is usually at his best when he votes his conscience, rather than taking his marching orders from some of his Claremont 400 supporters like former Mayor Judy Wright, who ran Pedroza's first, failed 2003 campaign for Council.

The neighborhood Pedroza supported with his "No" vote is the Arbol Verde area, which has historically been Claremont's Latino enclave and the residents have traditionally been treated by the City as second-class citizens. Mills Ave. used to run through there, and the neighborhood have their own church at one time. However, when the Claremont Colleges decided the City needed to close off Mills Ave., one of the results was that the neighborhood church had to be razed.

The story of what happened to Arbol Verde's church, doesn't make it into Judy Wright's "Claremont: A Pictorial History," or in Claremont Heritage's narrative of the town. For the real story, you'll have to look elsewhere.