Claremont Insider: February 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Highway Robbery

Yes, as through this world I've wandered

I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

Pretty Boy Floyd
- Woody Guthrie


Well, if you happened to catch last Tuesday's Claremont City Council meeting, you would have seen the council vote 4-1 to approve terminating the operating covenant that Claremont Toyota and the City agreed to back in September 2005. Mayor Corey Calaycay was the lone "No" vote.

As we discussed in our last post, the property in question is a 1.25-acre parcel that once contained a Chili's Restaurant and a small parking lot. It's located on the west side of Indian Hill Blvd. next to the offramp from the eastbound 10 Freeway. Claremont Toyota owner Roger Hogan had originally wanted that property to expand his existing operation.

Back in 2005, Hogan, who exerts a great deal of influence in town thanks to the fact that his dealership provides the City with about half of its annual sales tax revenue, talked the council into giving him $100,000 to help him acquire the property. The City also agreed to put in $200,000 in street and signage improvements and used its eminent domain powers to threaten the previous owner. The "threat" was a paper one only. It allowed the seller a tax advantage, so the City had to engage in a oddly legal, wink-and-nod IRS tax dodge for the seller's benefit.

The payoff for the city was supposed to millions of dollars in tax revenue over the minimum seven years Hogan agreed to use the Chili's property to expand his Toyota dealership. So, some time soon after the city council agreed to the deal on a 3-1 vote (then-councilmember Jackie McHenry voted against it; Calaycay abstained), Hogan took possession of the property, had the restaurant structure torn down and paved over, and started parking cars on the lot.

Unfortunately, the car market, and the economy as a whole, crashed, which caused Hogan to reconsider his need for the Chili's lot. With three years remaining on his agreement, Hogan wanted out of the deal, so last week city staff urged the council to allow Hogan to back out of the 2005 agreement and payback only half of the $100,000 of the City's investment.

You can see the actual discussion here (scroll down to agenda item 13 and click on that link).


Of course, the council agreed to the deal Tuesday, but not without some squirming on the part of an uncharacteristically sober councilmember Sam Pedroza (carousing, at left). Pedroza received $1,000 in campaign contributions from the Hogan family.

How much did the Hogans love Sam in 2007? Well, the maximum allowable contribution for a Claremont City Council campaign is $250 per person. Hogan got around that by having his wife, as well as his adult son and daughter, contribute $250 each to the Pedroza campaign. Roger Hogan, Jr., by the way, for his campaign donation listed his occupation fleet manager of Claremont Toyota.

One other interesting thing about the Hogan donations is that none of them - father, mother, daughter, son - live in Claremont. Roger Sr. and his wife live in Newport Beach. For all the talk about how much Roger Sr. gives back to the community, it certainly seems like he takes an awful lot out, and we have to wonder if there isn't sometimes an implicit threat to take his dealership out of Claremont if Roger doesn't get what Roger wants.

Yesterday's Claremont Courier had an article by Tony Krickl (sorry, no link) that quoted Pedroza's rationale for not recusing himself from the vote for his auto dealer patron:
"It just astounds me as we're talking about the challenges to our businesses at this time and people are talking about charging this number one income producer $100,000," Councilmember Sam Pedroza said. "I just think it's the wrong direction."

Mr. Pedroza defended himself at the meeting after Mr. [Dean] McHenry pointed out that some city council members had received campaign contribution money from Mr. Hogan and questioned whether their votes would be swayed due to a conflict of interest.

The other councilmember who received a campaign contribution from Hogan was Mayor Pro Tem Linda Elderkin (pontificating, at right). Elderkin, whom we like to refer to "The Process Queen" for her supposed adherence to rules that enforce orderly, fair government, received $250 from the elder Hogan in her 2007 campaign.

Neither Pedroza nor Elderkin were on the council back in 2005 when the City agreed to operating covenant with Hogan for the Chili's property. But it never hurts to have some allies when a vote is needed, as it was on Tuesday night. Fortunately for the council, it has always reliable city attorney, Sonia Carvalho, standing by. Tuesday, Sonia leaped to the defense of Pedroza and Elderkin. Krickl's article quoted Carvalho:
"Campaign contributions for the purposes of conflicts are not sources of income," City Attorney Sonia Carvalho added. "So you can receive campaign contributions and not have a conflict of interest."

Carvalho also said in her comments that as long as the council can claim a "legitimate public purpose" for any expense, there is no gift of public funds involved.

Thanks for that, Sonia. So, Hogan gets a break, and the city gets back $50,000 of it's $100,000 investment, a 50% loss on the investment. Think of what services that $100,000 might have purchased, or how much interest the city might have earned over the past four years if it had merely invested the money in a long-term bond or CD.

Pedroza was careful to point out that there was no conflict on his part because he hadn't accepted any money from Hogan, et. al., in the last 12 months. It's also good to know that 12 months hence, in his presumptive 2011 campaign, Pedroza will again be cleared to accept even more Hogan money.

Who in 2007 knew the best return on investment might be a Claremont City Council campaign? (Start with $1,250, $50,000 returned = a 4000% gain over about three years.)

Check out these 2007 City Election campaign finance documents:

(Click on images to enlarge)
Pedroza 2007 Campaign Finance Statement

Elderkin 2007 Campaign Finance Statement


The funniest thought of all occurred to us as we were driving past the Claremont Auto Center last week. What if three years from now Roger Hogan decides to pull up stakes and concentrate on the Orange County car market? Who can guarantee he doesn't anyway? We couldn't help but noticing how his Claremont Toyota ads now say "Claremont/Capistrano." Capistrano is sure a lot closer to Newport Beach than Claremont.

The sight of the Claremont Auto Center last week wasn't exactly a confidence inspiring image. There certainly seemed to be a lot of empty spaces. The Chili's lot appeared empty except for six vehicles:

So, we wonder, how long did Hogan's operation really use the property? The answer is less than three of the agreed upon seven years. As always, Google Earth tells all (the Chili's lot is outlined in red):

4/1/05 - Before the deal

3/15/06 - Restaurant gone

6-17-07 - Cars. Now you see 'em....

6/27/08 - ....Now you don't

6/19/09 - More cars gone

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Friends Helping Friends

The Claremont City Council meets tonight to for its regularly scheduled meeting in the council chambers at 225 Second St. in the Claremont Village.


The council convenes at 5:15pm in closed session for a conference with counsel over the latest Palmer Canyon lawsuit. The current dispute with the Palmer Canyon Homeowners Association has to do with land the City pledged to cede to the HOA as part of the $17.5 million lawsuit settlement reached over damage from the 2003 Padua Fire. The homeowners claim the City did not transfer ownership of all of the land that it said it would.

Claremont was supposed to have its answer to the HOA's complaint this month, so perhaps the council will be reviewing that in their closed session. You can see that agenda here.


The regular session begins at 6:30pm. You can review that agenda here.

Among the more interesting items are:

  • Agenda item 10, the continuation of a remote caller bingo ordinance. We'd never heard of such a thing, but we did see the city's public notice of that item in the February 17 edition of the Claremont Courier:

    Click to Enlarge

    We assume that some non-profit in town with friends on the City Council wants some sort of fundraising event using remote calling bingo. This apparently is an arrangement in which different locations are linked together via video links into a single bingo game. A company in Ontario called Bingo Innovations, Inc., has more information on how this all works.

    In any event, something must have come up between last Wednesday when the Notice of Public Hearing for the discussion of the proposed ordinance was published in the Courier and Thursday when the agenda for tonight's meeting was posted on the city website.

  • The other main item of interest to us was item 13, the termination of the operating covenant with Claremont Toyota for the old Chili's property at the northwest corner of Indian Hill Blvd. and Auto Center Dr.

    Back on September, 27, 2005, the City Council agreed to help Claremont Toyota owner Roger Hogan acquire the property by giving him $100,000 with the understanding that Hogan would use the land to expand his dealership. The City was also supposed to kick in another $200,000 in street and signage improvements (we're not sure what happened with that bit of change).

    The big selling point, as Councilmember Peter Yao said when he was explaining his "Yes" vote, was that the expanded Claremont Toyota would generate much more sales tax revenue for the city. City staffer Anthony Witt promised in his report that the council could expect between $600,000 and $700,000 in additional sales tax revenue for the first five years of the agreement, and $1,000,000 for every year thereafter.

    Well, the dealership never expanded onto the Chili's land, never generated the promised payoff, and now Roger Hogan wants to pay the city back only half of the $100,000 the city gave Hogan and release him from the agreed upon covenant. That operating covenant stipulated that Hogan would use the land for auto sales for at least seven years, from 2006 to 2013.

    None of it happened, and now the current council seems prepared to make an apparent gift of $50,000 worth of public funds to Claremont Toyota. Tonight's staff report on the issue, this one by Claremont Housing and Redevelopment Manager Brian Desatnik, is remarkably brief and notes that Hogan hopes to sell the 1.25-acre parcel to someone interested in putting a restaurant there.

    Oh, baby, now that's a deal!

    With the city facing another year of cutbacks in staff, employee benefits, and services, this all looks like just another case of the city staff papering over one of their blunders. There's another twist to this story, but we'll withhold commenting on that part of it until we see how this one plays out.

You can catch all the action in person tonight, or you can watch it on the city's website.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

CUSD Update


The Daily Bulletin reports that the Claremont Unified School District intends to send out 30 preliminary layoff notices. The notices will go out by March 15, according to the article, and the exact number of layoffs will be announced at the March 4 CUSD Board of Education meeting.


Did anyone else catch the blurb in yesterday's Claremont Courier about the increase in CUSD enrollment over the past 10 years? The Courier reported that CUSD saw an increase from 6,625 to 7,044 since the 2000-01 school year. The article also said that interdistrict transfer students increased in the same period from 787 to 1,200.

What the article failed to note that was enrollment from within the CUSD boundaries has remained flat for the last decade despite an increase in the number of houses and condominiums in town. According to the numbers cited in the Courier, overall CUSD enrollment was up 419 students, of which 413 came from outside the district.

In other words, 17 percent of CUSD students live outside the district's area. This would seem to argue against new facilities, though we fully expect CUSD to spin the numbers into a need for a new school construction bond.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

CMS Golfers in the News

We tried. We really tried to avoid a certain multi-ethnic golfer's ubiquity, but in the end we could not. His mighty public relations reach extended even to Claremont.

A reader sent us a link to a CBS News video of reaction to Tiger Woods' press conference last Friday in which he issued a public apology for his indiscretions. Several members of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's golf team were interviewed for the story. The piece aired on Friday's CBS Evening News, and their website has the story posted.

Here are some quotes from the CBS News report:

"I think it was just shocking and kind of upsetting," said Scripps College student Kristina Block.

They watched as Woods tried to claw his way out of his moral hazard, apologizing to his business partners, his foundation and the young golfers who idolized him. Some were forgiving.

"Everyone makes mistakes, and he realizes his mistakes," Block said.

Some felt for his wife.

"You're giving someone your heart, and he tore it out of her," Claremont McKenna College student Brittany Isobe said crying.

Some were still angry.

"No amount of apology or words is going to eradicate what he did," said Claremont McKenna student Kacie Curd.

We're not quite sure about the new usage for the term "moral hazard." It certainly reduces the Elin-Tiger marriage to a transactional relationship.

Anyway, here's the video:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Watch Your Step

The City's sidewalk improvement project commences in the Claremont Village this coming Monday. The work will occur in phases and will be accompanied by some weekday street and sidewalk closures. The city expects the work to finish in May.

Claremont's website has more information, including links for residents and Village merchants:

Village Sidewalk Project Will Begin February 22

The City has contracted JDC, Inc. for the Pedestrian Enhancement Accessibility Project which includes sidewalk, driveway, curb and gutter improvements in the Village. The project will begin on Monday, February 22, 2010. To avoid inconveniencing the merchants, the project will be completed in phases, with work being completed in two to four working days. Roadways, sidewalks, and parking may be closed Monday through Thursday.

The following is a schedule of each phase and tentative timeframe. This schedule may be updated due to weather delays.

2/22 - Harvard Ave between 4th and Bonita
3/1 - North side First St. between Yale & College
3/8 - North side First St. between Indian Hill & Yale
3/15 - South Side Bonita between Indian Hill & Yale
3/22 - South side Bonita between Yale Ave. & Harvard

4/5 South side Second St. between Indian Hill Blvd. & Yale
4/12 - North side Second St. between Indian Hill Blvd. & Yale
4/19 - South side Second between Yale & Harvard
4/26 - North side Second between Yale & Harvard
5/3 - Harvard Ave between Second & Bonita
5/10 -West side Harvard Ave. between First St. & Second Street

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Reader Writes

Maybe allowing drive-throughs in Claremont isn't a bad idea, says one of our readers:

SUBJECT: Drive-throughs
DATE: Thu, February 18, 2010 5:38:20 AM
TO: Claremont Buzz

I certainly understand that drive-through businesses would cause problems in The Village but other locations in the city could bring in badly needed tax dollars. That money is now going to all the surrounding cities. Seems to me a Del Taco or In-N-Out south of the 10 at Indian Hill across from McDonald's would be very successful and bring in some needed revenue without competing with Village businesses.

Commissoners Nix 7-Eleven

To Claremont fans of extruded frozen beverages: Sorry, no Slurpees for you.

In case you didn't hear, the Claremont Planning Commission said no to a conditional use permit application for the proposed 7-Eleven that would have gone into the empty commercial building at the northeast corner of Foothill Blvd. and Mills Ave.

Daily Bulletin reporter Wes Woods II tells us
that over 20 residents turned out to last Tuesday night's Planning Commission meeting to voice their objections to the 24-hour convenience store. Woods' article also said that city staff found that local cities typically receive between $12,000 to $21,000 in annual sales tax revenue from a 7-Eleven location.

Planning commissioners vote 6-1 against the CUP application. Woods quoted several commissioners who explained the reasoning behind their votes:

Commissioner K.M. Williamson, before her no vote, said, "this is a tough site. A lot of attention needs to be paid to that fit." She said she took into account residents' concerns about alcohol sales, the 24-hour opening and, "to a lesser degree," the convenience store.

Commissioner Cynthia Humes voted for 7-Eleven because she felt the business met all of the conditions for the permits.

"The homeowners association has done a good job in turning people out," Humes said. She said if the intersection where the 7-Eleven was to be located is unsafe in terms of traffic, "let's fix it."

Commissioner Jeff Hammill said one of the letters he received was against the project because it would bring people who drink alcohol, eat junk food and smoke cigarettes.

The applicants can still appeal the matter to the City Council. However, given the outcry against the 7-Eleven, it would be difficult to see the council overturning the planning commission's decision.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

San Dimas Landslide Clogs Freeways

The morning and evening commutes turned into an ordeal for those on trying to get onto the 57 freeway from the westbound 10 or the northbound 71 in San Dimas. A major landslide closed the transition ramps at that junction at around 8:45am this morning.

According to the Daily Bulletin
, Caltrans has determined that the hillside is still unstable, and the connectors remain closed. The article said that the ramps will be closed for days as Caltrans tries to clear the road and stabilize the hill. The Bulletin reported on the activity at the site:

Workers started bulldozing the base of the landslide about 2 p.m., after Cal Trans officials received reports that a vehicle could be trapped under the pile.

The hillside had been cut away during construction of the road. It's mostly flat top allowed water to percolate into the ground instead of running off during the recent rain storms, [Cal Poly Pomona geology professor Jonathan] Nourse said.

The Bulletin website also has a gallery of photos taken by Claremont resident Blair D. Fickett.

Desert Update

More news from the desert city of Indio:

The Desert Sun reports that the Riverside County Grand Jury has questioned some current and former Indio City Council members for reasons unknown. There's no telling what this may be about. The Indio city government has taken a lot of heat recently with regards to its credit card policy, its hiring of former Finance Director Michael Busch and Busch's consulting company, its extremely large budget deficit, and the golden handshakes it extended to a number of city employees.

When one considers the former Claremont employees who went over to Indio in 2005, one can't help but think, there but for the grace of God....

A 2/14/10 Sun article said:

It is unclear what the grand jury is looking into or whether a full investigation has been launched — or if the matter is civil or criminal. But the questioning comes at a time when city leaders are under fire by residents and community members for spending habits — the city faces a multimillion- dollar deficit — and early retirement deals, including one to City Manager Glenn Southard. He is the highest-paid city official in the Coachella Valley and plans to retire April 1.

“I'm concerned, yeah,” Councilman Glenn Miller said about the grand jury examination.

Miller is aware of the probe by a “grand jury committee” but said he has yet to be subpoenaed for an interview.

The article indicated that former Indio city councilmember Mike Wilson acknowledged he was interviewed by the grand jury twice last month, but Wilson could not disclose any details of those inquiries. The article went on to say that if the investigation is a civil matter rather than a criminal one, there could be questions of the propriety of something Indio officials did without the act being necessarily illegal.

Either way, it looks like our friend and former Claremont City Manager Southard bailed out at just the right time. But then, timing (and bailing, for that matter) was always Glenn's strong point.


Maid-Rite, the nation's first drive-through - Springfield, IL
Originally uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by rklawton

In case you were wondering, Claremont's Planning Commission approved that revised drive-through ordinance Tuesday night. The matter now goes to the Claremont City Council for consideration on March 9.

If the ordinance is implemented, Walgreens will go ahead with a drugstore at the Peppertree Square Center at Arrow Hwy. and Indian Hill Blvd. A Fresh & Easy store will also go in but is contingent on the Walgreens getting built.

According to the Daily Bulletin, some folks in town are not too happy with the prospective lifting of the City's drive-through ban:
The ordinance has had its skepticism from community groups, such as Protect Our Neighborhoods and League of Women Voters of the Claremont Area.

Ray Fowler, Protect Our Neighborhoods representative, expressed concern about environmental impacts.

"While everyone agrees on the need for a grocery and drug store there, they do not agree that a drive-through is right for traffic safety or air quality issues," Fowler said.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Around Claremont

The city of Claremont is holding a couple more public gatherings today and tomorrow, one much more festive than the other.


The first, beginning tonight at 7pm, is the City Council/Commission Budget Workshop. If you're free, go on over to the Padua Room of the Alexander Hughes Community Center and check it out. It should be interesting to hear the our elected and appointed officials discussing how we should deal with a sour economy, a local sales tax base overly dependent on Claremont Toyota, possible declines in property tax revenue, an overly generous and potentially budget-breaking CalPERS city employee pension plan, and more. (On that last point, don't expect too much frank talk. The meeting is, after all, being coordinated by those same city employees.)

Also, don't forget to take the budget survey posted on the City website. If you haven't attended one of the workshops, it's your chance to have a say in the municipal budget process. We recommending first going through the budget presentation that's also posted to educate yourself on where the money comes from and how its allocated.

Council/Commissioner Budget Workshop

7:00 - 9:00 PM
1700 Danbury Rd.
Hughes Community Center, Padua Room


On a much lighter note, if you're 90 or older, the City is having it's annual birthday party tomorrow afternoon in your honor. The festivities start at 2pm, again in the Alexander Hughes Center:

90 + Birthday Party

2:00 - 4:00 PM
Alexander Hughes Community Center
1700 Danbury Rd.
Claremont, 91711
(909) 399-5488

Calling all individuals 90 years and older! Join us for entertainment and cupcakes in your honor. Special guests of the birthday honorees are $2, space is limited; reservations and prepayment are required.


Tony Krickl tells us that, if you missed it, you can catch the NBC Today Show bit that visited Pizza-N-Such in the Claremont Village. The feature, which aired February 10, highlighted something called "menu engineering" - the way of using human behavior to design menus to boost sales. Krickl writes on his COURIER City Beat blog:
Film crews from the show visited the Village restaurant in January to look at their new menu design and interview "menu engineer" Gregg Rapp. Pizza 'N Such owners Mike and Sue Verbal and their daughter Laura took a crash course from Rapp to help beef up their menu.

Here's the video:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Planning Commission Considers Hot Topics

You may have noticed that long-empty property at the northeast corner of Mills Ave. and Foothill Blvd. There used to be a Union 76 gas station there that always seemed three to five cents higher than anywhere else. Some West L.A. folks bought the property and put up a brand new building there, and it has been empty for quite a while now, thanks to the owners' unwillingness to charge anything lower than West L.A. rent for the Inland Empire property.

Here's a photo of the location:

Click on image to enlarge

We heard a few months back that a 7-Eleven was being planned for the site, but we didn't see much going on with the property. We suspected that the 7-Eleven wouldn't be too popular with the residents closest to the location, though students at the Claremont Colleges might appreciate a having another nearby 24-hour convenience store. There are Arco and Chevron mini-marts at Claremont Blvd. and Foothill Blvd, but our town can always use another outlet for 3am strawberry-frosted Pop-Tart cravings.

The reader who sent in the photo of the site also wrote to tell us that there will be a public hearing tonight at 7pm tonight regarding the 7-Eleven:
SUBJECT: Public Hearing for proposed 7-eleven (Foothill & Mills)
DATE: Mon, February 15, 2010 7:24:49 PM
TO: Claremont Buzz


...I am a Claremont resident. A few days ago, I took a walk around the neighborhood and noted a sign (small) alerting residents of a public hearing held Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 7pm for a proposed 7-eleven on 601 Foothill (corner of Foothill & Mills).

I just moved to the area last year and I am not sure what exactly this means but in an effort to alert more informed residents, I pass this along to you. We definitely don't need or want a 7-eleven which may impact the area negatively.

As an aside, please keep it up. I enjoy reading your blog and keeping myself informed about my neighborhood via your site.


The hearing the reader is referring to is a regularly scheduled meeting of Claremont's Planning Commission in the City Council chambers at 225 West Second St. in the Claremont Village. The 7-Eleven applicant is seeking a conditional use permit (CUP) to operate the business. The matter is the third item on the agenda.

Here is the staff report for the 7-Eleven CUP.

* * * * *

Residents concerned about the 7-Eleven may have to wait a bit to be heard. Item number two on the agenda is a proposed ordinance to allow drive-throughs in Claremont.

The issue is a contentious one and represents a collision between the City's desire to help balance its books by bringing in a drive-through Walgreens pharmacy and Fresh & Easy grocery store to the Peppertree Square shopping center at Arrow Hwy. and Indian Hill Blvd. The City really needs the sales tax revenue those stores represent, but traditionalists in town feel that part of Claremont's charm is that there are no drive-throughs allowed.

The local group Protect our Neighborhoods falls into the latter category, and they've lined up against the proposed revision, according to an article by the Daily Bulletin's Wes Woods II:
Residents Peter Farquhar, Andrea Farquhar and Colleen O'Brien spoke out against the drive-through ordinance at that meeting, as did Ray Fowler, representing Protect Our Neighborhoods. Fowler gave the city a letter from the group's attorney.

Fowler read to the commission from a statement to that he later read at the Dec. 8 City Council meeting.

"We believe that a recently proposed ordinance that would allow the development of banks and pharmacies with drive-throughs would be in conflict with the city's goal of becoming a sustainable community because it seeks only immediate, not long-term, economic gains and it forgoes consideration of the negative environmental impacts of allowing such development," according to the statement.

The article said that PON also had their attorney, Amy Minteer, send the Planning Commission a letter outlining the group's concerns. The City is hinting that retaining the drive-through ban will cause Walgreens to scuttle its plans to move into Peppertree Square, and that in turn may cause Fresh & Easy to pull out as well, ending any immediate prospects for South Claremonters to get that grocery store they've been waiting for.

There should be plenty of debate on this one as well as the 7-Eleven, so the planning commissioners will probably be for a long night. They just may have to send out for Pop-Tarts.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Local Accountability


With the city of Claremont and the Claremont Unified School District both facing even more budget cutting, both agencies are reaching out to the community for help in solving their money problems. Although the City and the CUSD are pursuing similar strategies, their goals are very different.


The City seems to have moved on a little from its Glenn Southard days and is actually trying to solicit real opinions that it will try to incorporate into its decisions. Claremont held the first of two community budget workshops last week, and the second is scheduled for tomorrow night, February 16, from 7-9pm in the Padua Room of the Alexander Hughes Community Center at 1700 Danbury Rd.

The City has also posted its Powerpoint budget presentation along with an online survey that will be used to determine budgetary priorities. The survey needs to be completed before Monday, February 22, if you want your responses to be included in the budget discussion.

Tony Krickl reported on last week's budget workshop in Saturday's Claremont Courier (sorry, no link available):

Residents were asked to provide their opinions on the most deserving programs and projects for the city's revenues. Some of the top priorities identified at the meeting include fiscal responsibility, public safety, high building standards and sustainability.

But city officials warn big expense projects on the scale of Padua Park are likely off the table in the near future. "We don't have a lot of extra money lying around to do big capital projects," City Manager Jeff Parker said.

The article also indicated that city officials were surprised by the severity of the recession, and had to deal with a General Fund (the portion of the budget that is funded by things like sales and property taxes) that in the past year was reduced from $22 million to $20 million. In addition, as you probably know, the city has had to cut back on services and reduce the number of employees by almost 15 percent.

City Manager Parker also said in the Courier article that the City could lose between $50,000 and $100,000 in sale tax revenue if Claremont Toyota's sales suffer from any backlash to Toyota's problems with accelerator and brake controls on many of its models.

The biggest surprise to us is that city officials didn't foresee any of these financial problems and went ahead with a number of costly projects. For example, the City spent about $2.6 million building the aforementioned scaled-down version of Padua Park, and borrowed $527,000 from its General Fund reserve in the process. That one project therefore accounted for virtually all of the city's budgetary problems. You would have thought the responsible thing would have been to wait until the economy and the city's finances improved before proceeding with such a large capital outlay. The City was really no different than a family that decides to go ahead with remodeling their kitchen right before their income is reduced by half because of a job loss. Yes, they couldn't foresee the problem, but still, they have to reduce spending when it happens.

Claremont is certainly in much better shape than some cities, but it's still accountable for having created its own problems at the cost of the very municipal jobs and services it holds so dear.


As we predicted last week, rather than a self-examination of how it managed to misspend $48.9 million in Measure Y bond money, Claremont Unified is gearing up for a revenue enhancement campaign by laying a guilt trip on taxpayers. CUSD board president Hilary LaConte was quoted in Saturday's Courier on this point (again, no link):
"I think one of the questions that will come out of this is that what does the community really value in education our children?" Ms. LaConte said. "Many other districts are turning to their communities for help and we are doing the same. We really want to get a sense of where the community lies before we go forward."

In other words, if Claremonters don't want a bond (CUSD's funding vehicle of choice), they don't value their children's education.

To help CUSD determine the level of public support for either a bond or a parcel tax, the district hired TBWB Public Finance Strategies, LLC, to poll residents. The problem with that consultant, in our view, is that this is not like hiring the Gallup Poll. Polling is not their single area of expertise. Rather, TBWB advertises itself as being expert at getting financing measures passed. They are more of a campaign consultant than a pure polling company, and CUSD hired them in 2000 to help get Measure Y passed.

This all leads us to believe that the real purpose behind CUSD's bringing in TBWB is not to seek public opinion but to determine the best ways of marketing a future bond or tax to voters. The polling results will be used by the district to shape its future financing election campaign. The CUSD board (with the exception of boardmember Steve Llanusa) has almost certainly already decided what it wants and couldn't care less about what we the public believes is important.

Unlike the City's public opinion survey and community budget meetings, CUSD (which remains the Claremont 400's playground), already knows what it will do. The rest, community meetings, polls, Claremont Courier puff pieces, is simply window dressing.

Fiscal accountability has come up very little or not at all in the discussions. Worse, if we end up with a bond measure, none of that money will go towards hiring a single new teacher or underwriting existing salaries and benefits. A bond will only be used for new construction, remodeling, and upgrades of existing facilities - something that we did only 10 years ago with Measure Y. And, incidentally, we are still paying off Measure Y today (check your property tax bill for last year).

Really, when you think about it, CUSD's board is a kind of neutron bomb of public agencies, keeping all the buildings standing but eliminating people. They're really concerned with having the newest goo gaw rather than investing in hiring and keeping good teachers. We understand that California's school districts have been hit very hard - harder than most cities - by the state's never-ending budget deficits, but CUSD and almost all of its boardmembers, current and past, have thrown away millions over the years and will do so again if given the chance. They must be held accountable first, then we can talk about finances.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Farewell and Adieu

Tony Krickl tells us on his blog that Claremont has finally unloaded its trolley. The trolley, which had been mothballed at the City Yard, is bound for the Aloha State, Krickl says:

Claremont's trolley has moved on to greener pastures. And sandy beaches. At Tuesday's city council meeting, city manager Jeff Parker announced that the city had sold the trolley to a buyer in Hawaii.

The city's trolley broker (who knew there was such a thing?) found a buyer willing to pay $75,000 for the thing.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Anyone Lost a Dog?

A reader sent this note hoping to connect a lost dog with its owner:

SUBJECT: found dog
DATE: Thu, February 11, 2010 2:19:38 PM
TO: Claremont Buzz

After reading an article in the Daily Bulletin yesterday I realized I have to do all possible to find the owners of a small dog I found today. Please if you could post this info on your blog and remind your readers the importance of spaying and neutering pets...
Small, black, male, 5lbs Chihuhua mix. Wearing blue & red stripped collar with Harley Davidson tag, no # or address on tag. Found 11:30am Friday 2/12 in Claremont @ Baseline Rd & Mountain Ave. Very sweet & friendly.

Taken to Inland Valley Humane Society (909) 623-9777 500 Humane Way Pomona, CA, 91766 (Mission Blvd & 71 Fwy) Business Office Hours: Monday - Saturday: 8:00 A.M. - 5:30 P.M. Wednesday: 8:00 A.M. - 7:00 P.M.

The reader also sent a link to a Daily Bulletin article about what happens to some dogs who end up in San Bernardino County animal shelters.

Le Jazz Hot Saturday Night

If you and your sweetheart are lacking for Valentine's Day entertainment, come on down to the Claremont Folk Music Center this Saturday night, February 13, and hear Janet Klein and her Parlour Boys. Klein played the FMC about one year ago. We didn't make it, but our spies tell us it was a great concert.

Klein, who hails from somewhere around San Bernardino, has found a niche mining old songs from the first third of the 20th century and arranging them for her band. At first glance, Klein's act seems a little Betty Boopish, but after not too long, you realize that there's really quite a lot of artistry involved.

It would be very easy to veer into kitsch, but Klein clearly has a lot of respect for the material, and she does a good bit of scholarly work digging through old sheet music and film archives to unearth the gems she and her band perform. For a concert in Japan, Klein found some old film material and used it to work up a version of "My Blue Heaven" in Japanese:

The musicians, by the way, are first-rate. At last year's FMC concert, our sources say, German-born violinist Benny Bryndern (who looks a little like the Food Network's Alton Brown) and John Reynolds with his nickel-plated National Steel tricone guitar seemed to having a grand old time, creating a twangy, jazzy sound more than a little reminiscent of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli with their Quinttett du Hot Club de France.

Klein's website has review from the Inland Empire Weekly's Chuck Mindenhall:

Throwback flapper Janet Klein is the very definition of an “old soul.” She grew up in 1970s San Bernardino, yet fell in love with the bits of the IE she never knew—the historical images she’d seen of early turn-of-the-century postcards with orange groves and the old Carnegie Library with the onion dome. The way things were got into her blood, and today she’s the most refreshing anachronism to ever materialize from the ether of the Prohibition. Klein is a channel to a definitive time in American music when Eton crops were the rage and batting-eyes meant you had a live one on your hands.

Thing is, LA-based Janet Klein and Her Parlor Boys are more than some nostalgic shtick. She doesn’t merely perform songs from “lost America”—obscure numbers circa 1900s-1930s such as barrelhouse jazz, foxtrots, chansonettes, ragtime ditties and vaudeville from the Great Depression—she actually lives them, and transports her audiences along the way. Klein considers herself an “archeologist” for digging up buried treasures by the likes of Wilton Crawley and A.P. Randolf and Robert Cloud, the songs of the Victrola that her and the Parlor Boys—featuring an all-star line-up playing banjos, uprights, trombones, trumpets, violins, piano, etc—add all that authentic dang to feel the wild spirit of that bygone era. The “naughty” music of the day is Klein’s strong suit, and the ukulele chanteuse belts in an Olive Oyl-meets-Billie Holiday voice while coyly bobbling in step to the strump

The local band Hobo Jazz will open the show. Saturday's concert begins at 8pm. Tickets are $15 and can be had inside the FMC.
Claremont Folk Music Center
220 Yale Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711
(909) 624-2928

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bee Prepared

The Friends of the Claremont Library have announced that they are accepting applications for the fifth annual Friends community spelling bee. The event takes place Sunday, April 18, at Claremont's Taylor Hall, located near the corner of Scripps Rd. and Indian Hill Blvd.

Here's the information for the event :

  • Teams consist of 3 Adult Spellers who spell the words as a team.

  • Past teams have included Claremont City Council, Rotary, Kiwanis, League of Women Voters, House of Ruth, Claremont School Board & other local groups.

  • Teams can be any three adults who want to join together to support the library and literacy (perhaps a book group?) .

  • Registration form will be available on-line. First 24 teams to send in registration form & payment will be taken.

  • Team Registration fee is $300 ~ all supporters will be listed in the program.

  • Oh, you don’t like to spell? Consider sponsoring your favorite group in town or sending in a donation for a partial sponsorship of a team ~ we would be happy to find spellers for you if you would like to sponsor a team.

For registration forms, check out the Friends website.

You may remember that the Claremont Rotary Club's Phun Club won for the second time last year. Get a couple of your own friends together and join in the fun, or just show up and watch the happenings. The money goes to a good cause and a good time is usually had by all.

Community Meeting Tonight

Don't forget that the first of two city of Claremont community budget meetings happens tonight beginning at 7pm. Come on out and give your thoughts on how you want your money spent. If you've got some tips on cost-cutting for the City, feel free to pass them on tonight:

Community Budget Workshop

7:00 - 9:00 PM
440 S. College Avenue
Blaisdell Community Center

For information call (909) 399-5460

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday Night = City Council Meeting

Come on down to City Hall tonight at 6:30pm and watch local pols in their native habitat. Do be careful not to disturb them. They can bite, and they're vicious when disturbed or if they're protecting their young.

You can see all the action at 225 Second St. in the council chambers or you can watch online here.

The agenda, if you're interested, is here. Among the items tonight:

  • Recognition of La Parolaccia Restaurant for their Haitian Earthquake fundraiser. (Don't know what happened to Round Table's attaboy. Didn't they have one too?)

  • Presentation of the Chamber of Commerce marketing study by CGU's Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito (or Masatoshi Ho, as the agenda has it) School of Management.

  • A report from City Treasurer Adam Pirrie on the City's investments for the quarter that ended on 12/31/09. This sentence caught our eye: "There was an overall decrease of $1,981,104 in City held investments as shown on the City Investment Report (Attachment A) primarily as a result of the outflow of funds to maintain operations."

  • The City, too, has conducted a marketing study. City Hall's version was done by a consulting firm called Fairbank, Maslin, Maulin, Metz and Associates. (A four namer! Must be good!)

  • The annual report from CPD on Part I crime data for 2009.

Cheese Update

Wallace and Gromit rejoice! We have more Cheese Cave news.

The owners of the fromagerie that's coming to downtown Claremont have joined the Claremont Chamber of Commerce. The Cheese Cave also has a Twitter site.

We suspect the Cheese Cave may be something along the lines of Frogs Breath Cheese Store in the city of Orange. Some friends took us there a year or two ago, and we had a delicious, if pricey, goat cheese tasting.

You have to respect shopkeepers who are tasteful enough to appreciate Escondido's Stone Brewing Company and artful enough to think in verse.

Aldonza Graphics

Monday, February 8, 2010

CUSD to Poll Support for New Parcel Tax or Bond

The Daily Bulletin's Wes Woods II says that the Claremont Unified School District has voted 4-1 to hire a consultant to conduct a public survey to test the waters for a new parcel tax or bond. According to the Bulletin, the lone "No" vote was Steve Llanusa, who thought it wasn't the right time for such ballot measures.

CUSD has been quietly doing the PR work to push public sentiment to support a new tax of some sort. Recently, the district had a town hall-style meeting that they used to prepare the ground for the campaign they envision, and you can expect to see school district representatives pushing the idea of a tax or bond in the Op-Ed pages of the local papers.

What sort of tactics will the school board use? Well one thing they will do is talk about how our facilities are falling into disrepair. Another talking point will be that it's been 10 years since CUSD's last bond measure. Here's what the board had to tell the Bulletin:

Board president Hilary LaConte said an assessment in 2008 showed district facilities are in need of repair. She said it was important to determine if the community is willing to approve more spending for these repairs and replacements.

"I will be interested to see the community's perception," LaConte said.

We wrote about the city of Claremont's shaping of public perception yesterday. Now it's CUSD's turn.

The key to that "community perception" is TBWB Public Finance Strategies, LLC., the consulting firm the CUSD board is hiring for up to $25,000 to conduct its polling. The last time we heard from TBWB was during CUSD's 2000 Measure Y campaign. That year, you will recall, Measure Y supporters (i.e., CUSD board surrogates) raised $80,000 primarily from school building contractors for the Yes on Measure Y campaign.

Know this: in TBWB the school board is not hiring some mere polling firm. TBWB specializes in helping clients pass bond and tax measures. They are also not new to Claremont. TBWB's online CV lists Claremont's Measure Y among its successful projects.

Here's how TBWB advertises itself on its website:
If your school district, city or agency is considering a bond measure, parcel tax, sales tax increase or other funding measure, TBWB has the experience to help you. We know how to guide public agencies through the process of making tough decisions, and we know how to lead campaigns to victory in tax elections.

TBWB has the experience that wins.

Unfortunately, the narrative TBWB spins ends with the successful passing of the ballot measures it has worked on. They don't tell you what happened to all that money after the elections were over and the clients' checks were cashed.

As we've said before, Measure Y was really a partial failure. In rewarding those contractors for their generosity during the campaign, the Claremont school district misspent the money in such a way that they used up the $49 million they raised long before they complete all the projects they promised the measure would pay for. It's been 10 years, and we're still waiting for that desperately new elementary school at the La Puerta site. And, why do we need to modernize our antiquated facilities now in 2010? Wasn't Measure Y supposed to take care of that?

Here at the Insider, we'd just as soon not vote for another school district financing measure until CUSD comes clean and admits first that they didn't properly handle the finances of their last bond measure. We'd also like to see the measure's supporters (CUSD surrogates again, primarily the Claremont 400) pledge to not take any consultants' or building contractors' money to fund their new campaign.

Really, when you think about it, the situation is extremely ironic. CUSD's supporters would tend to be against the recent Supreme Court decision that opened the doors for future corporate campaign donations. Yet, in the last bond measure and in the upcoming one, all money is good money, particularly money coming from the potential district contractors who would profit from whatever measure comes of TBWB's dog-and-pony shows.

Our biggest problem supporting the CUSD board in the ballot measure TBWB will help them concoct is the board's historical lack of institutional integrity. Look for them to use every trick in the electoral playbook to get their measure passed, including guilting the public into supporting the measure. During last November's school board election, incumbent Mary Caenepeel stood up at one candidate forum and basically implied that if you don't support a school tax or bond, you hate our kids.

We'd suggest Caenepeel and the rest of the school board find some other tactics. The public's not quite as naive as in 2000, and all they have to do to educate themselves on how these public perception campaigns work is to turn on an episode of the the NBC series "Parks and Recreation":

(Really apropos of a certain city of Claremont community project coming online this spring.)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bulldozing Reality

The January 19 Claremont Courier had a Tony Krickl article about Claremont Community Services Director Scott Carroll leaving Claremont to take a job as general manager for the Costa Mesa Sanitation District.

(Sorry, no link to the actual article, which is archived behind the Courier's paywall.)

December 31 was Carroll's last working day. The article detailed some of Carroll's more notable accomplishments, such as his negotiating a deal to have Claremont's trash taken to an Orange County landfill, a move that saved the city $200,000.

The article also also touched on the 2008 bulldozing of the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park that was one of the low points in Carroll's Community Service tenure. You might recall some of the damage done by the contractor the city hired to clear brush mechanically, rather than hiring crews to do the work by hand as Claremont had promised to do under its own Vegetation Management Plan for the park. Here's what the park looked like in the summer of 2008 shortly after the brush clearance:

(Click on images to enlarge)

After the damage occurred, the city faced scrutiny from county, state, and federal agencies. As part of the City's penance, Claremont was supposed to monitor the area to see what grew back and then was supposed to come up with a plan to replant the area with native plants to restore the area to its former state.

The City made a lot of representations to the public and to the various government agencies it was dealing with. But did they follow through?

You have to remember that, this being Claremont, once the spotlights go off, then the real work of holding City Hall to its word begins. In the Courier's article on Carroll's departure, Carroll addressed the Wilderness Park damage:
"That was really unfortunate," Mr. Carroll said. "But I took full responsibility for what happened and was determined to resolve the issue. We got the approval of different interested parties involved and fixed the problem before the rainy season began. Now if you go up there, it looks the same as before the damage was done."


We didn't recall any of the promised revegetation happening, so we went up to the park a few weeks ago and snapped this photo:

The photo was taken facing north from the S-curve at Via Padova. All you have to do is compare the right side of the photo (the damaged east side of the canyon) to the left or west side. The creek runs down the center of the canyon, and that is marked by the trees. Although the damaged areas are now green, what has grown back are non-native grasses that will have be cut back each year. Those golf course fairways on the right side of the photo should actually look like the hills on the left side.

None of the revegetation has occurred. Not that it matters. The California Department of Fish & Game and the Army Corps of Engineers have gone away without any apparent follow-up enforcement. Ditto for the press. Hence the Scott Carroll farewell quote.

And that, dear readers, is how public perception is shaped. One thing hasn't changed a bit, as was demonstrated by the inadvertent felling of the elm tree at Tenth St. & Indian Hill Blvd. in December, Claremont's trees and city-hired construction machinery don't mix.

Dept. of Self-Referential Headlines

Some Claremont Courier copy editor sure has a sense of humor:

From the Claremont Courier, 1/9/10

Friday, February 5, 2010

News Roundup

A few bits of news from Claremont and elsewhere:

  • If you've got any cans of old paint, used motor oil, used batteries and such taking up garage space, now's your chance to get rid of the stuff. The City of Claremont is holding a Hazardous Household Waste Roundup this Saturday, February 6, from 9am to 3pm at the Claremont Corporate Yard located at 1616 Monte Vista Ave.

  • We didn't see it on the City of Claremont's community events calendar, but this Sunday is the first Sunday of the month, which has in the past been the day the City Council sets up its booth at the Farmers Market in the Claremont Village from 8am to 1pm.

    We don't know if the council booth is another casualty of City Hall's budget cutting.

  • Meg at M-M-M-My Pomona says the annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Gingerbread Sociable is tomorrow from 1pm to 3pm in - where else? - the Laura Ingalls Wilder room of the Pomona Library at 625 S. Garey Ave. in downtown Pomona. There'll be storytelling, gingerbread, cider, and more. Kids of all ages, from one to 100 and older, are welcome.

  • The Fresno Bee has an article about Claremont High School track star Kori Carter signing a letter of intent with Stanford University. Carter will be competing in the high school division of the Run For the Dream Indoor Track & Field Invitation at Buchanan High School in Clovis.

    While she's there, Kori can give Claremont's regards to former CUSD superintendent David Cash, who left us for Clovis Unified last year.

  • The Sacramento Bee's Kevin Yamamura reports that California not only has the worst Standard & Poors credit rating of any of the 50 states, it is also worse than several countries:
    At A-, California still has the worst credit rating of all 50 states. Illinois comes closest to California with an A+ rating.

    Countries in the Times' chart with the same A- rating as California include Estonia, Libya and Poland. That's better than Thailand and Greece (BBB+) but not as strong as Botswana, the Czech Republic and Israel (A).

    Another sign that Claremont's and CUSD's budget woes won't be going away anytime soon.

  • Following up our friend Glenn Southard and his sidekick Michael Busch, we read in the Desert Sun that Glenn's retirement includes almost $162,000 for unused vacation days and sick time he's banked in his time at the city of Indio.

    Here's what the Sun said about the details of the deal:
    Indio's Glenn Southard is the one of the highest-paid city managers in the state, which is part of the reason for his large final payment. He makes more than $300,000 a year.

    According to estimates provided by the city Tuesday, Southard has banked 582.35 hours of vacation, 1,118.55 hours of sick leave and 2.5 hours of administrative leave.

    Under the terms of his contract, Southard is entitled to all of the vacation time and half of the sick leave when he leaves City Hall.

    Administrative leave — a perk relatively common for city managers — cannot be cashed out, so he would have to use it before leaving, according to assistant to the city manager Mark Wasserman.

    That means Southard, who makes $148.74 an hour, would be entitled to 1,087.625 accrued hours of leave — worth $161,773.34.

    The Desert Sun tells us that Indio's golden handshake did get approved, by the way, and some people in there are not too happy about that, not that they are people who count for anything.

    Coincidentally, the Desert Sun also had an article about how to avoid being a scam victim.

Dept. of Corrections


One of our favorite readers, well-known to followers of the Claremont Unified School District, wrote in to correct us regarding a mistake in our post yesterday about Newt Gingrich speaking at Scripps College. We wrote incorrectly that Gingrich was speaking yesterday. Gingrich actually spoke Wednesday night. Sorry for all of you who got excited about the event (whatever side of the political aisle you're on).

The Daily Bulletin covered the event, if you're interested in reading about it.

This is what comes of taking a little time away from the news cycle. Anyway, here's our reader's note:
SUBJECT: perhaps...
DATE: Thu, February 4, 2010 2:40:26 PM
TO: Claremont Buzz

the Claremont Insider should look at a calendar?

Our apologies to our readers for the error, and thanks for the heads up, P.Y. Glad to see you're keeping up with the ol' Insider. Keep on reading!


No, not the Insider, though some might tell you otherwise. It's not really a correction so much as a clarification, but another reader wrote in with an update on the coming Cheese Cave and a plug for Fresh & Easy:
SUBJECT: Cheese Cave
DATE: Thu, February 4, 2010 8:19:10 AM
TO: Claremont Buzz

Just read in the Courier (I think, I thought it was your column) that it will be going into the former Travel Co. space across from Walter's.

Fresh and Easy is a great store. We go all the time to the ones on Mountain and 8th in Upland and San Antonio and Foothill.

Glad you're back....

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Goings On


Tony Krickl reminds us that former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich will speak 7:30pm tonight at Garrison Theatre on the Scripps College campus. The theatre is located at 231 E. Tenth St. For more information, call (909) 607-9372.

Gingrich will be speaking as part of the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Public Affairs Program. There's no charge, and there will also be a book signing. The Scripps College website had some information on the event:

Gingrich's speech, "Effective Leadership for Real Change," will address the nature of leadership, what he has learned from his active political career, policy changes in environmental protection, and health care policy from beyond a partisan divide.

This past week or so has a good one for political speech on both sides of the aisle. Last week, the Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke at the Marian Miner Cook Atheneum at Claremont McKenna College.


Claremont Graduate University has announced the winners of the 2010 Kingsley and Kate Tufts poetry awards. The Kingsley Tufts Award and the $100,000 that accompanies it will go to Bay Area poet D. A. Powell for his collection "Chronic."

The Kate Tufts Discovery Award, which comes with $10,000, goes to Beth Bachmann for her first published collection "Temper."

Here's what the CGU press release had to say:
Powell is the author of Tea (1998), Lunch (2000), and Cocktails (2004). His most recent book, Chronic, is also a finalist for the NBCC Award in Poetry, and was named a Best Book of 2009 by Publishers Weekly and the Kansas City Star. He teaches at the University of San Francisco and lives in the Bay Area.

The Kingsley Tufts prize was established in 1992 to honor work by a midcareer poet. Powell is 46.

Bachmann won the Kate Tufts Award for her first book of poetry, Temper. The Kate Tufts Award is given to a poet for their first book of poetry.

Temper, was selected by Lynn Emanuel as winner of the AWP Award Series 2008 Donald Hall Prize in Poetry. Her poems appear in American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Southern Review, and Tin House, among other journals, and have been anthologized in Alice Redux: New Stories of Alice, Lewis and Wonderland and Best New Poets 2005 and 2007. She holds graduate degrees from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars and Concordia University in Montreal and teaches creative writing at Vanderbilt University.

CGU will give out the awards 6:30pm on April 22 at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The event is free, but you need to RSVP if you're interested. To do so, call (909) 621-8974 or point your browser to


We hear through our sources that a Walgreens drugstore and a Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market may be going into the Peppertree Square shopping center at Indian Hill Blvd. and Arrow Hwy., which most South Claremonters should appreciate.

The Fresh 'N Easy should save on drives to the grocery stores on Foothill for people in the south part of town, though Meg at M-M-M-My Pomona reminded us that there is also the Hoa Binh Market at 1093 E. Holt in Pomona for the more adventurous.

We also hear we may be getting a Cheese Cave. We'll let you figure that one out. We're not sure exactly where this one might go, but it sounds like a place that would fit in the Village Expansion.