Claremont Insider: On the Campaign Trail

Friday, February 11, 2011

On the Campaign Trail


The Daily Bulletin came out with its endorsements earlier this week, and there was at least one surprise.

As expected, Sam Pedroza made the cut, which we would expect given that he's the incumbent, and the local papers generally defer the such. Also, Sam's brought home plenty of Sacramento pork in the form of three large grants totaling several million dollars from the San Gabriel and Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy (more of which in a future post). So Sam's done Claremont's part to both save and destroy the environment while at the same time contributing to California's $25 billion budget deficit.

The Bulletin also endorsed Opanyi Nasiali, which was a mild surprise, seeing that the Claremont 400 have never liked him because he's not their black man. Ever since the Irvin Landrum shooting in 1999, the 400 have been all for supporting African-Americans (have we dropped the hyphen? - we can't keep it straight). Nasiali's both African and self-made American, but that seems to irk the 400 to no end and also, for some reason, the local Democratic Club, who are apparently desperate enough to have their volunteers running around generating complaints while putting up Pedroza and Robin Haulman signs.

Nasiali, by the way, is living proof that no good deed goes unpunished. In 2006, Nasiali argued successfully against the $45 million or so Parks and Pasture Assessment District, saying that it was wasteful and that a more limited general obligation bond would be a better way to go. To prove his point, after the assessment lost 56% to 44%, he turned around and helped lead the successful Measure S campaign, which ended up winning 72% of the vote. Nasiali also convinced the Claremont College presidents to agree to allow the colleges to waive their non-profit status under the bond, which lowered the overall Measure S tax burden to individual property owners. The 400, hypocrites that they are, ignored Nasiali's key contributions in building a true community consensus on the Johnson's Pasture issue and worked actively to defeat him in the 2007 council election.

Lastly, the Bulletin endosed newcomer Jay Pocock, who (with Nasiali) helped lead the No on CL campaign against the Claremont Unified School District's $95 million school bond. That measure lost 60% to 40% and was eerily similar to the Parks and Pasture/Measure S campaigns in that the No side argued, again successfully, that there was a better way help the schools. Sore losers that they are, the CUSD school board and the Claremont 400 are aiming for payback in the city council election. Still, the Bulletin went for Pocock over Haulman, the 400's candidate of choice, for the last of the three seats up for this election.


And word comes to us from another candidate, Citizen Michael John Keenan (image, left), that the Claremont Forum, which also sponsors Claremont's Sunday Farmers Market, will be the site of a Keenan campaign even tonight from 7pm to 9pm, so says CMJK:

Bill McClellan has agreed to play some of the folk like-struggle-getting-to-the top inspirational acoustic music. Some buddies may sit in too! Find Bill at or

There will be a table of Trader Joes fare and a table of Trader Joes drinks. Definitely a Sangria and an Ale selection. Tea, Coffee and Juices for the ineligible imbibers should they show up.
The Claremont Forum is located at 586 W. First St. in the Claremont Packing House.

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Oddly, in this council race the Claremont Democratic Club is not supporting Keenan, who is a registered Democrat, nor are they supporting another Dem, Joseph Armendarez. As we've said, they are actively campaigning for Haulman, Pedroza, and candidate Joseph Lyons, who admitted at last month's Active Claremont forum that he had never attended a City Council meeting before deciding to run in this election and who has never really been involved at all on local issues.

To be fair to the Democratic Club, Joe Armendarez has been similarly disinterested in Claremont issues, at least for the past 10 years or more. Keenan, however, has been very active in nearly every important Claremont issue for at least the last dozen years, and he has probably attended more City Council and city commission meetings than Haulman and Pedroza put together. So the lack of support for him from the local Dems puzzles us, since they claim to not endorse any single candidate and say they're merely trying to support the Democrats running for council. Based on his community involvement, Keenan deserves the club's support as much as Pedroza or Haulman and certainly has earned it more than Lyons, who may be a nice guy but who seems lost when it comes to what's happening locally.

If you want to ask the club or their president, Zephyr Tate-Mann, about this, you can take it up with them this weekend. Our friends within the Democratic Club who aren't happy with the direction the club's taken, have told us the club will be precinct walking tomorrow for Haulman, Pedroza and Lyons. A special Insider shout-out to any reader who forwards a photo of Zephyr or her hubby Rudy on one of their walks! Rudy, who hails from Louisiana, brings his own muddy bayou brand of electioneering to Claremont. Rudy runs every local issue through the narrow prism of his party politics rather than any out of any sense of community interest or fairness.

We hear, but haven't been able to confirm, that the Manns and company will be out walking in two shifts from 10:30am to 12:30pm and 1:30pm to 3:30pm, so keep your eyes peeled. You can start watching for them at the United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Local 1428 hall at 705 W. Arrow Hwy., where they'll assemble before their morning and afternoon walks.

We understand that the Manns and the Democratic Club will also be phone banking. (A special Insider award to whomever can forward us a digital recording of one of these calls.) If you like what you see and hear from them, or if you want to complain, you can reach them at the club's phone number, (909) 632-1516, or you can contact Zephyr at (909) 626-2858, which is the contact number listed by the party for her here.

We'd give you the same information for the local Republican club, but they seem to be sitting this one as an organization, apparently because it's supposed to be a non-partisan race.