Claremont Insider: March 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2010 Census Figures

The U.S. Census Bureau has some of its 2010 Census data up and available for review. Check out the American Factfinder to look for information about Claremont and just about any other American city.

There's some interesting Claremont data, by the way. For one thing, our population grew more slowly than the Census Bureau had estimated in 2009, when Claremont's population was supposed to be a little over 35,400. Instead, the 2010 Census listed the city of Claremont population as 34,998. That's a gain of only 928 people in 10 years, a number that supports the notion that we're a built out city.

Furthermore, Claremont's graying trend continued, a point we've come back to over the years. In 2000, 7,031 Claremonters - about 21.7% of the population - were under the age of 18. Last year, Claremont's under-18 population had dropped both in total numbers and as a percent of the population, down to 6,459 or 18.5%.

Despite those numbers, Claremont over the past decade has continued to live in a Fantasyland devised by the Claremont 400. In their separate domains, the City and the Claremont Unified School District have both refused to face our demographic reality and continue to devote millions of dollars to things like Padua Sports Park or to maintaining an overabundance of school district facilities and staff rather than allowing for the population trends in their decisions.

The City could have better spent its money on senior programs or more senior facilities, since that is where the greater need seems to be. In the school district's case, as we've argued before, they've done things like propping up enrollment figures by allowing an ever-larger number of interdistrict transfers - now nearly 20% of CUSD's enrollment. The families of that 20%, by the way, do not have to pay for CUSD bonds, and their attendance is underwritten by CUSD taxpayers.

We've learned through years of observation that no amount of hard data can change minds that long ago committed to wrongheaded courses of action. The City's staff may know better, but they're often held hostage by people saying things like, "We just have to have a downtown trolley." We can hope for change, but there's been little evidence to date of much willingness on the part of the Claremonsters to incorporate reality-based thinking into our local policy decisions.

* * * * *

Some other trivia:
  • Claremont has become a little more diverse since 2000. The city's Hispanic population now numbers 6,919 or 19.8%, compared to 5,221 and 15.4% in 2000.

  • Similarly, Asians now account for a larger segment of Claremont's population than before. In 2010, Asians numbered 4,564, or 13.1% of the total. In 2000, those number were 3,912 and 11.5%.

  • On the other hand, the numbers of blacks/African-American dropped slightly, from 1,962 in 2000 to 1,951 in 2010.

  • Claremont had an increase in housing units, thanks to the real estate boom that ended around 2008. 10 years ago, the Census listed Claremont as having 11,559 housing units. In 2010, there were 12,156.

  • In a sign of the times, 548 of those housing units were unoccupied in 2010. That's 4.5% of the total, up from 2.4% in 2000.

Here are the Census figures, new and old:

(Click to Enlarge)
From the 2010 Census

2009 Population Estimate

2000 Census Data

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Special Council Meetings Tonight

The Claremont City Council will hold not one but two special meetings this evening in the council chambers at 225 W. Second St. We didn't see tonight's sessions listed on the council's streaming video site, so you'll probably not be able to watch the proceedings on your computer.

[UPDATED 4:25PM: The link to streaming video for tonight's 6:30 workshop is now up; it will be available anytime to view and review]

The first matter is a closed session meeting at 5:00pm to discuss ongoing employee contract negotiations. The other item for consideration during the closed session is an unspecified matter involving "anticipated litigation." You can read the closed session agenda here.

At 6:30pm, the council will hold a special workshop to review the report from the Mayor's Ad Hoc Committee on Economic Sustainability. Here's the workshop agenda, and, in case you missed it, here's the committee's report:

City News


The Metro Gold Line Extension environmental review continues apace. You can learn more and provide input on the Claremont station proposal at a workshop on Monday, April 11, from 6pm to 8pm in the Padua Room of the Alexander Hughes Community Center. Here's the information from the City's website:

Gold Line Extension Public Meeting

The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority (Construction Authority), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the City of Claremont invite you to a workshop on the proposed Claremont Gold Line station, which is part of a proposed 12.6-mile extension of the Metro Gold Line from Azusa to Montclair currently under environmental review. The workshop is an opportunity to learn more about the proposed station plan and provide feedback on ways to make it even better.

Gold Line station planning requirements and the proposed Claremont station location will be reviewed, followed by a discussion in which you can provide feedback to be considered in the planning process.

Station Planning Workshop in Claremont:

Monday, April 11, 2011 6 to 8 pm
Alexander Hughes Community Center
, Padua Room
1700 Danbury Rd., Claremont, CA 91711

Additional workshops are being hosted in the cities of Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona and Montclair.

To learn about all of the workshops and the environmental review process underway, visit or call the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority (626) 471-9050.

Take a Tour of the Metro Gold Line:

In the coming months, the Construction Authority will host tours of the Metro Gold Line light rail line between Pasadena and Los Angeles. Tours provide an opportunity to experience how light rail interacts within communities, the design of stations and street crossings and the various train sounds. Contact Sylvia Beltran at or (626) 305-7012 if interested in a tour.

Image courtesy of

If your non-profit organization is looking for a place to host a community event, you might consider the Padua Hills Theatre. Through its lease agreement with Arteco Partners, the company that renovated the theatre, the City reserves a few dates each year for community use. The City still has some open dates. You have until May 5 to submit an event planning form. Here's the relevant info:

Community Use Dates Available For Padua Hills Theatre

The Padua Hills Theatre Community Use Program reserves dates each year for non-profit organizations interested in hosting community events at substantially reduced rates. The Padua Hills Theatre Community Use Committee is now accepting applications for events that will take place between January 1 and December 31, 2012. Non-profits interested in submitting an application may download an Event Planning Form and Community Use Addendum on the City website at All applications are subject to the review and approval of the Community Use Committee and must be submitted to the Alexander Hughes Community Center, 1700 Danbury Rd., by Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. for priority consideration. An optional meeting will be conducted at the Padua Hills Theatre on April 6, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. to tour the site and field any questions. Please RSVP to Kristin Turner at (909) 399-5356 if you plan to attend.


The City is also requiring residents who use the Dial A Ride program to register for the program:

Dial A Ride Registration

To Register:

By mail: Mail the completed form to:

City of Claremont
Alexander Hughes Community Center
1700 Danbury Road Claremont, CA 91711

By fax: Fax the completed form to 909-625-3184

By phone: Beginning March 23, 2011, if you are over the age of 18, you can register by phone between the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling: 909-399-5495

In person: Beginning March 23, 2011, you can register in person between the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1700 Danbury Road Claremont, CA 91711. Users under the age of 18 will need a parent or guardian's signature.

An identification card and unique identification number will be mailed to riders after they complete the registration process.

Registration Flyer

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Morning Mailbag

We received a comment in response to our Saturday post in which we quoted a 2000 California First Amendment Coalition press release regarding the City of Claremont's Black Hole Award. The release included some choice quotes from Karen Rosenthal, Claremont's mayor at the time.

As one reason for the award, the CFAC piece cited Claremont's proposal to station a "mental health professional" at City Council meetings to evaluate the potential dangers presented by speakers during public comment. The professional would have provided the City grounds to have offending speakers removed from the council chambers.

In case you've forgotten, the author of the staff report for that proposal was former Assistant City Manager Bridget Healy, who is chair-elect to the Claremont Chamber of Commerce board and who ran unsuccessfully for council in 2009.

Our reader wrote:

Date: Sat, March 26, 2011 5:28:47 PM
Subject: crazy

"...its short-lived proposal to have mental health professionals standing by to assess the threat level posed by citizen speakers at public meetings..."

My guess is they dropped the proposal to have mental health professionals at city council meetings because the mental health professionals would have been able to witness the behavior of the city council members. "Yes, I was noticing the unstable person at the front of the room who keeps sighing loudly and rolling her eyes when other people speak. Have your officer keep a close eye on that one -- she covers about thirty pages in the DSM-IV."


"Also, about the man on the side of the dais who keeps turning beet red and screaming threats at people..."

At the end of the note, the reader alluded to Bridget Healy's former boss in Claremont and in Indio. Here we see him in all his red-faced glory as he does self-inflicted damage to his reputation:

Raveler Fundraiser Tickets

The Ravelers want you to remember to hurry up and order tickets for the Campfire fundraiser in Ontario on Saturday:

Hey Now!

You need to get your tickets NOW, by Monday March 28...get your friends together TODAY!

We know that many of you gals were involved with Campfire girls growing up. This event will help rekindle some fond memories, provide an opportunity for you to give back to the organization for young girls, and make for a fun evening with your friends.

We highly suggest getting together those friends of yours who love a great dinner, fine wine, bidding at auctions, and musical fun. This is a great chance to gather those friends you always plan on going out with, but just never seem to find the time. This 4-course dinner event includes a sommelier, who will be presenting wines with each course and providing an education for choosing wines. Ayres Boutique Suites is also providing a special package if you want to make it a local get away and spend the night on the romantic side...

And you won't have to clean up!

This is pretty cool...If you gather a total of 8 people for a table, one ticket is free!
  • Saturday, April 2- Wine Lovers Dinner fundraiser for Campfire Girls!!!

    Ontario Convention Center
    2000 East Convention Center Way
    Ontario, California 91764

    This event starts at 5:30 pm and goes until 11:00pm. 4-course dinner with sommelier, silent and live auctions, musical fun! Tickets are $75 per person, but bring a total of 8 people and get one ticket for FREE!

    Call Carole at 909.466.5878, ext. 222 for the details.

    The web site for complete details:

We hope to see you there!

All the Best from your pals...

Hai, Pat, Martie, Rob
The Ravelers


(Click to Enlarge)

Claremont No-Fly Zone Sunday

In a secret U.N. Security Council session on Saturday, a unanimous vote authorized the establishment of a "NO FLY" zone over Claremont to protect the rag-tag forces of Opanyi Nasiali against the superior firepower of the Lyons-Pedroza axis. Although it was expected that Russia and China would abstain as they did in the Libya matter a few weeks ago, they voted enthusiastically in the affirmative. In fact, they wanted to vote "Aye" twice.

Yesterday, Sunday, the first air recon was provided by two military jets, shown over Claremont above. They made four circuits of the community at low altitude (you may have heard them; they sounded like a nearby atomic bomb explosion). According to reports, large tethered gas-bags over the headquarters of Ground Commandant Gerecke were deflated and rendered harmless.

Our spotter can't tell a Jenny from an SR-71, but she thought they might be U.S. Navy F-18 Hornets. She reports the overflying aircraft did appear to have tailhooks which got her all in a lather.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Xavier, Back in the News

Someone forgot to tell Xavier Alvarez (image, left) that his 15 minutes of fame expired long ago. The former Three Valleys Municipal Water District board member from Pomona made the LA Times last week after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth District upheld an August 2010 ruling that the federal Stolen Valor Act, under which Alvarez was convicted for lying about being a Medal of Honor recipient, is unconstitutional.

According to the Times article, the court agreed that lying, however abhorrent, is protected under the First Amendment. The Times piece described the appellate court's reasoning:

It wasn't the only time Alvarez had traded in lies. According to an earlier decision in his case, he claimed to have rescued the U.S. ambassador during the Iranian hostage crisis (the reason for his fictitious Medal of Honor) and to have played hockey for the Detroit Red Wings. If Congress could punish misstatements about a military decoration, there would be no constitutional obstacle to criminalizing those other lies.

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski made the point more pithily: "If false factual statements are unprotected, then the government can prosecute not only the man who tells tall tales of winning the congressional Medal of Honor, but also the JDater who falsely claims he's Jewish or the dentist who assures you it won't hurt a bit. Phrases such as 'I'm working late tonight, hunny,' 'I got stuck in traffic' and 'I didn't inhale' could all be made into crimes."
Although Alvarez's misdemeanor conviction under the Stolen Valor Act is in question, his LA County felony convictions for misappropriation of public funds, grand theft, and insurance fraud still stand. Alvarez received a five-year prison sentence for falsely claiming he was still married to his ex-wife in order to qualify her for his Three Valleys healthcare plan.

* * * * *

Here is the appellate decision in the federal case:

3-21-11 appellate decision

The U.S. Attorney's office isn't letting the matter rest there, however. On Friday, they filed a motion to stay the appellate decision for 90 days pending a petition for a writ of certiorari seeking to have the Supreme Court to review the case. The government's motion questioned the court's decision to annul a law enacted by Congress:

A circuit court decision holding an Act of Congress unconstitutional inherently presents "an important question of federal law," Sup. Ct. R. 10(c), in a petition for a writ of certiorari.

Here is the U.S. Attorney's motion to stay:

3-25-11 motion to stay mandate

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Do No Harm

Our post about former Claremont mayor Karen Rosenthal upset a reader, who disliked our dredging up something her husband, Michael Rosenthal did to lose his medical license in 2001:

Date: Thu, March 24, 2011 11:43:46 AM
Subject: Rosenthal

While the re-emergence of former mayor Rosenthal may be newsworthy, to bring up the near decade-old issue concerning her husband is just plain mean and totally irrelevant. Your humanity has hit a low point. Please apologize to your readers and to Mr. Rosenthal.

We stand by the post, dear reader. Yes, the former Dr. Rosenthal's license revocation happened 10 years ago, but we consider the matter quite relevant because it illustrates the egocentrism and the lack of empathy that the Rosenthals and the Claremont 400 possess still. They have yet to apologize for their own behavior. It's been our contention here at the Insider that the 400 put the citizens of Claremont through the wringer when they ran the town and then played extremely ugly politics when they saw their hold on City Hall weaken.

After the 2005 Preserve Claremont campaign, not one of the hardcore PC backers apologized publicly, even though they were roundly chastised in letters to the Claremont Courier and in several ads taken out by private citizens outraged by the PC witchhunt. In fact, they've continued to be very active in local campaigns.

A prime example is Mrs. Rosenthal, who quietly reentered the local political scene and who served on council member Joe Lyon's campaign committee. Not only did Karen fail to learn anything from the PC mess she and other supporters of Lyons and candidate Robin Haulman borrowed the same strategy this time.

Rosenthal's unapologetic behavior is consistent with the pattern of her public life. Consider the 2000 Black Hole Award the California First Amendment Coalition (CFAC) gave to Claremont and then-Mayor Rosenthal for their handling of Irvin Landrum shooting and for many other things. A CFAC press release from 2000 said:

Claremont was cited for:
  • its refusal to disclose records relating to a lawsuit settlement;
  • its protests contrary to fact that a federal court order precluded disclosure,
  • its short-lived proposal to have mental health professionals standing by to assess the threat level posed by citizen speakers at public meetings;
  • its city manager's disclosure of the criminal records of a man, in order to discredit him, who had called for an investigation of the death of his nephew, shot by police officers;
  • its use of council committees to hold unannounced meetings on a variety of matters; and
  • its refusal to allow citizens, during a permitted parade, to hand out leaflets to curbside spectators.
CFAC sent a faxed copy of the award citation, with a letter invitation to respond at the Assembly or otherwise, to Mayor Karen Rosenthal. In comments to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario on Sunday, October 15, after the Assembly, she denied having been given notice and dismissed the award as "a public relations scam" and fund-raising effort.

Mayor Rosenthal was not quoted on most of the specifics, but said overall, "They just like to fabricate these very volatile stories out of things that didn't happen or weren't as dastardly as they claim or are unresolved at this time," with the last item apparently referring to a continuing investigation into the shooting. She said the mental health observer was simply a committee recommendation that had not been adopted, and the anti-leafleting restriction was "to prevent littering and disruption of neighborhoods" and had "nothing to do with free speech."

Similarly, the attitude both Rosenthal and her husband demonstrated after Michael Rosenthal lost his medical license was unremorseful, unapologetic. Mr. Rosenthal was more concerned about any harm to wife's reputation than to the patient who lost 2,000 cc of blood during a D & C procedure Mr. Rosenthal performed. The woman later had to have an emergency room hysterectomy. Some things time cannot heal, dear reader.

Mrs. Rosenthal (photo, left) continues to display the same lack of remorse she did publicly as mayor and as Mr. Rosenthal's wife when the news of his license revocation became public. This failure to own up to their past actions occurs repeatedly among the Claremonsters. It's why we at the Insider keep coming back. Every time we think they've finally learned to play nicely and we go into hibernation, this group returns thinking they can turn the clock to 1998, before Landrum, before they started losing elections.

The harm Karen Rosenthal and her fellow 400 members caused cannot be undone, and without some little public act of contrition on the part of the 400, a good segment of the city's voting population will always suspect the Claremonsters of the worst motives in anything or anyone they back.

You are right, dear reader. Apologizing is always a good place to start, but Mrs. Rosenthal and her compatriots are the ones who need to step up and take ownership of their actions. That, unfortunately, is a step they have been incapable of taking.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Weekend Event Calendar


Vince Turner over at the Claremont Community College sent us a reminder about his Friday Night Flicks short film series at the Claremont Village Expansion above Chico's.

Date: Thu, March 24, 2011 4:35:58 PM
Subject: WOW Friday Night Flicks!

We're batting a thousand! So far every chair has been filled at Friday night Flicks! (OK. So we didn't set up all the chairs!)

This weeks theme is WOW! If you don't say WOW after each flick, then we didn't do our job.

Friday Night 7 PM

101 North Indian Hill BLVD Suite C2 203

Claremont Community College Where the learning never stops!

Vince Turner
(909) 477-1747

Also, don't forget that CCC's 5 Second Film Festival is set for April 28. CCC's mission statement, which we've posted below, may preclude certain humor-impaired Claremonters from attending (you know who you are):
Our Mission Statement
  • To acquire and disseminate knowledge in a humorous way.
  • To recruit like minded people to spread the word that learning can be fun.
  • To remember to laugh at our failings before somebody else does.
  • To keep an open mind on suggestions even if they sound silly - which most are.
  • To recruit more Deans than students for obvious reasons.
  • To reserve the right to refuse entry to the College to anyone who takes our mission too seriously.


The Ravelers, Claremont's classic rock band, are on the move. Tonight, they're at the Padua Hills Theatre for Claremont Community Foundation fundraiser (from The Ravelers' PR dept.):
Hey Now...

The Ravelers are proud to be asked to be involved in several fundraisers this year, providing fun music for great causes.

This one is special for us because we call Claremont our home, and we have been looking forward to playing in the newly renovated and historic Padua Theater! We have peaked through the door and walked in the old theater every time we played a wedding reception or event over the past 24 years...hoping someday it would be remodeled to provide a nice place for entertainment and gathering. That day has arrived!

The Claremont Community Foundation was established in 1989 to serve the longer-term philanthropic needs of the community. The Foundation has awarded grants to more than 60 programs and special projects, enriching the lives of youth and adults throughout the community. Please join us to help continue these contributions...
Friday, March 25- Sock Hop at Padua Hills Theater!!!
Padua Hills Theater
4467 Padua Ave
Claremont, CA 91711
(909) 398-1060
The Ravelers play 7-11pm. Join us at the newly renovated theater for some great tunes, a delicious retro buffet, a cash bar and special surprises!

The proceeds go to benefit the community. Tickets are $50. Click here for more details.

Hope to see you in the new theater!

Hai, Pat, Martie, Rob

The Ravelers

The Ravelers are also at Santa Anita racetrack for the 5th Annual Cal Rods Car Show this Sunday, March 27, from 1pm to 4pm and will be playing between races.

Also, on April 28, The Ravelers are at the Ontario Convention Center for a Campfire Girls fundraiser.


Saturday night at the Claremont Folk Music Center, journey back to ancient Persia, land of poets and musicians:
Saturday, March 26, 2011

JOHN BILEZIKJIAN "master Oud player" show

John Bilezikjian is "America's Oud Virtuoso". Mr. Bilezikjian may be the most prominent Oudist of his generation. He is a master Oudist who has elevated this instrument to the concert stage as well as continues to perform as a folk musician. He has performed for some 51 years on this ancient eleven stringed Persian fretless instrument dating back some 2,000 years. The Oud is performed with an eagle's quill.

$10 (doors@7)

Folk Music Center & Museum
220 Yale Avenue
Claremont CA 91711
(909) 624-2928


Also, check out the Claremont Colleges calendar to see what's happening at the 5Cs this weekend. The following events are on tap:
Saturday, March 26, 2011
  • 7:00 AM - 6:30 PM - Latina/o Student Union 4th Annual Rockabilly Festival

    Pitzer College
    1050 N. Mill Ave.
    Claremont, 91711
    (909) 607-7492

    Enjoy a day of cars, music and food. Hosted by the Latina/o Student Union.

  • For the kids:

    10:00 AM - Story Time at the Stone Center:
    Goldilocks and the Three Bears

    Stone Center for Children's Books
    Claremont Graduate University
    740 North College Avenue
    Corner of College and 8th St.
    Claremont, 91711
    (909) 607-3670

  • 8:00 PM - Senior Recital:
    Eddie Sayles, tenor

    Bridges Hall of Music
    Pomona College
    150 E. 4th Street
    Claremont, 91711

    Pomona College senior, Eddie Sayles will present his senior vocal recital performing the music of Barber, Donizetti, Ravel, Falla and others assisted by pianist Gayle Blankenburg.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

  • 3:00 PM - The Claremont Concert Choir and The Chamber Choir Spring Choral Concert

    Garrison Theater
    Scripps College
    Scripps College Performing Arts Center

    241 E. 10th Street
    Claremont, 91711
    (909) 607-3267

    Charles W. Kamm (Scripps/Joint Music faculty), conductor
    Paul R. Bishop (Scripps performance staff), piano and organ works by Brahms, Britten, Purcell, Whitacre, and others.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Act II

There are no second acts in American lives.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Tanned, rested, and ready...
However, Claremont, being a sovereign nation, offers up as many chances at redemption as its nobles need. Case in point, the comeback of one Karen Rosenthal (photo, left), a former Claremont mayor. After a long hiatus, Rosenthal was back on the Claremont political scene this year as a member of Joe Lyons' campaign committee.

In addition to hosting Lyons' campaign night party, Rosenthal was in charge of hospitality for Lyons' campaign. Those of you who were around when Rosenthal was mayor can appreciate the cognitive dissonance induced by the sight of Rosenthal's involvement in Lyons' election. While mayor, Rosenthal was best known for her eye rolling behind the dais when she disagreed with some speaker during public comment at council meetings. Rosenthal's official nastiness exceed even that of her fellow Weird Sisters Ellen Taylor and Sandy Baldonado.

Rosenthal's letter prompted this response by one of our readers:
Date: Sat, March 12, 2011 7:38:08 PM
Subject:the one thing at lyons4citycouncil that made me laugh out loud was listed under the "campaign committee" heading

Karen Rosenthal

If you are at all familiar with Rosenthal's history, you know that her defense of smear tactics is consistent with her remarkable ability to rationalize just about anything. In 2003, it was Rosenthal's heavy-handed mismanagement of the Irvin Landrum shooting that prompted voters to reject Rosenthal's reelection bid. Ever resilient, Rosenthal has from time-to-time tested the waters to see if people had forgotten how badly she behaved while on council.

Lyons' success has apparently emboldened Rosenthal's post-election renaissance. After the March 8 election, she had a letter in the Claremont Courier justifying the smear campaign on councilmember Opanyi Nasiali by a group that included members of Lyons' campaign.

Rosenthal was back in the council chambers Tuesday night, berating council member Corey Calaycay and trying to imply that he's a misogynist. Claremont's mean girls are using this as an opportunity to knock Calaycay down a peg or two and to soften up the ground for their next campaign. The Courier's Tony Krickl describes how Calaycay's comments about the diversity on the council are being twisted into an attack on women:
At the ceremony, he applauded the ethnic diversity of the new council. He also pointed out its geographic diversity since the 5 council members all live in different parts of town.

But he didn’t mention that there are no women on the council; a fact not lost several women sitting in the audience. It’s the first time since 1962 that Claremont doesn’t have a female councilmember.

After Calaycay’s remarks, a few women in the audience remarked about the lack of female council members and didn’t like that Calaycay pointed that out. Even though he actually didn’t.

As Krickl points out, these latest attacks by Rosenthal and her fellow former mayor Judy Wright (photo, right), prompted Calaycay to apologize for remarks he didn't make. One of our readers commented on the fact that Krickl rightly noted that the lack of women on the present council is quite possibly a result of the lack of women candidates (a total of two women versus nine men in the last two elections). Our reader also remarked that the missteps of mayors Wright and Rosenthal may have contributed to the council's present gender disparity:
Date: Wed, March 23, 2011 12:41:09 PM
Subject: Corey Calaycay

So I just read on the CourierCityBeat blog that apparently Karen Rosenthal and Judy Wright took exception to Corey’s remarks about diversity. Perhaps, as the CityBeat pointed out, if more women ran there would be a greater chance of having a woman on the Council. Or perhaps it is a case that the voters are smarter than Karen and Judy think……the matriarchs of Claremont didn’t do all that wonderful a job and perhaps women candidates lose because of that association in the voters’ minds. Perhaps they are thinking……well, how much worse could it get…..might as well give the guys a chance. After all, both Karen and Judy had their shot. Judy during the Orange County debacle, if I remember correctly, and Karen during the Landrum affair where her greatest achievements were opening her mouth and pouring gasoline on the fire.

[FYI, Claremont, with Wright on the council, invested and nearly lost $5.4 million dollars when the city used reserve money to buy into the failed Orange County Investment Poll in the early 1990's. After five years of litigation, the City got its principal back but lost out on that many years of interest on the money.]

The powers of rationalization possessed by Claremonsters like Judy Wright and Karen Rosenthal never cease to amaze us. For instance, we recall that one of the other items that caused voters to reject Rosenthal involved her husband's medical practice. Dr. Michael Rosenthal ran a birthing center in Upland and was twice disciplined by the Medical Board of California, once in 1997 and again in 2001. The first action resulted in a five-year medical probation. The second resulted in the revocation of Dr. Rosenthal's license.

LA Times reporter Tipton Blish covered the story:
The board accused him [Michael Rosenthal] of mishandling three abortions in 1999, when he was running his own Upland-based Family Birthing Center serving women with low-risk pregnancies.

He admitted to the board that he misled patients, lied to another physician, failed to reveal an abnormal pap smear result, failed to perform an ultrasound on a patient who had already delivered four babies by caesarean section, and started an abortion procedure on a patient in her second trimester.

At the time, Rosenthal was on probation for two other incidents, one in 1986 and one in 1992. In the latter case, medical board prosecutors said he gambled that a pregnancy would be without incident and didn't tell his patient that he had lost his privileges in San Antonio.

His privileges were revoked after his insurance company stopped his malpractice coverage in 1992.

Never mind that the medical board complaints state that Dr. Rosenthal was self-prescribing himself Prozac while he was operating his birthing center, that he failed to notify his patients that had no malpractice insurance or no hospital privileges, or that when serious complications arose in a couple procedures, he dumped the patients at San Antonio Community Hospital's emergency room.

No, for the Rosenthals, the biggest concern wasn't the medical board's findings or Dr. Rosenthal's treatment of the patients listed in the complaints, but rather, personal responsibility be damned, that their reputations remain untarnished, which is ever foremost in the minds of our Claremonsters. The Tipton Blish article conclude with a pair of quotes from the Rosenthals:
"The single biggest thing is embarrassing Karen," he said. "I have resolved this in my own mind a long time ago.... For myself, I just don't care."

Karen Rosenthal defended her husband, saying that none of the charges were ever proved in court.

"He is a great doctor. He delivered over 5,000 babies and is very well loved in the community," she said.

* * * * *

It's not too hard to see where all this is headed. This isn't about gender disparity on the Claremont City Council. This is all about Plan B for getting former Assistant City Manager Bridget Healy (image, left) on the council. Healy, who lost badly in 2009, desperately wants her own second act. Plan A, spearheaded by failed candidate Robin Haulman, didn't work out, so now the Claremonsters are trying to claim that we need more women on the council. They plan on arguing this for the next two years and then offering up exactly one woman, their woman, to run in 2013.

What they don't get is that as long as they keep offering up the wrong women, their candidates are going to fail. Not because voters don't like women, but because the rest of Claremont isn't quite as stupid or forgetful as the Claremont 400 would like them to be.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

CGU Fundraiser for Japan Aid Today

Claremont Graduate University and the Red Cross are holding a fundraiser today for Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims. The event will run starts at 7am and runs all day. Here are the details:

CGU's Drucker School to hold fundraiser for Japan earthquake and tsunami relief

CLAREMONT, California —The Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University is partnering with the American Red Cross for a "drive-through" disaster relief fundraiser in Claremont on Wednesday, March 23 to benefit victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami.

The Drucker Relief Drive for Japan will allow those who wish to donate to do so without leaving the comfort of their cars.

Volunteers will collect donations at the university's north campus parking lot from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. The lot is at the northwest corner of Drucker Way (E 11th St) and Dartmouth Avenue in Claremont. Drivers should enter the lot from Drucker Way. (map)

Cash and checks will be accepted. Checks should be made out to the American Red Cross, with "Japan Earthquake" written in the memo line.

Anyone who wishes to donate before March 23 can drop off a check at the Drucker School's main floor reception desk, 1021 N. Dartmouth Ave.

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit Japan on March 11, with some 400 aftershocks following. The initial temblor spawned a huge tsunami that devastated Japan's eastern coast. At least 8,400 people have been killed, and nearly 13,000 remain missing. Survivors are facing shortages of key supplies, such as food and gasoline.

About The Drucker School

With a strong commitment to research, values orientation, and an intimate graduate-only curriculum, Princeton Review recently ranked the school fifth in the nation in faculty quality. The Drucker School offers a variety of professional and doctoral degrees, including MBA, EMBA, MSFE (jointly with CGU’s School of Math), MA in Arts Management (jointly with CGU’s School of Arts and Humanities), and MA in Politics, Business, and Economics (jointly with CGU’s School of Politics and Economics). Named for both a pioneering thinker (Peter Drucker) and an accomplished doer (Masatoshi Ito), the school produces graduates who have a strong sense of social responsibility and a deep desire to make a difference by doing well while also doing good.

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 24 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.

The American Red Cross name is used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement, expressed or implied, of any product, service, company, individual or political position. For more information about the American Red Cross, please call 1‑800 RED CROSS or email

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We Stand Corrected

Our post last Friday generated this response from Claremont Police Chief Paul Cooper (photo, right):

Date: Mon, March 21, 2011 7:11:16 AM
Subject: [ No Subject ]
From: Paul Cooper

Hi Claremont Buzz,

A friend sent me the link to your most recent story on March 18, 2011. I thought I would share with you that the proposed communications tower project was presented at City Council, Police Commission and Community Services Commission meetings. We have discussed the project with Cable Airport management and they have no issues with the project. We have also submitted the project to the FAA and received a “No Hazard” certification. Following the council presentation, the tower project was also in the Courier and the Daily Bulletin The most recent agenda report is to simply update the new council on the project and its status. There’s been no attempt to “slip this one in.” If you have any questions about the project, I am always available.



Paul Cooper
Chief of Police
Claremont Police Department

We noticed that Chief Cooper's concerns about clarifying the record must have extended to the City's public relations arm. Over the weekend there was a change in the City's online materials for the tower. When we originally looked on the City's website last Friday, this is what we saw:

This is what you see now:

So the City's information on the tower is much more helpful now than it was last week. However, we'd still like to see a link to the so-called "Initial Study". Among other things, apparently, this contains the deadline for public comment. Presumably it also contains a discussion of the height and how the initially-proposed 200-ft tower in Upland transformed into a 174-ft tower in Claremont.

We checked the City's records, and we were able to find the references Chief Cooper mentioned. Cooper made presentations regarding the tower to the City Council, the Police Commission, and the Community Services Commission. Searching the City's document archives when we were composing our original post didn't turn up the documents the Chief was able to point us to, so we took another look.

We were glad the Chief wrote us because, when we looked for the meetings he referred to, we were struck by how much all of it seemed to serve seemed to underscore our original concern about the City "slipping one in." For instance, the tower was originally slated to be located in the northeast corner of the City Yard on Monte Vista Ave. That placement, however, put the 174-foot tower in Upland and under the aegis of Upland's planning process, which didn't give the Chief and City Hall to opportunities to maneuver that having the tower on the Claremont side of the property did.

(It also reminded us that when Claremont originally built the building, at the end of the Glenn Southard regime, they built out past the city and county limits without getting the permission of Upland, which cause a minor row at the the time.)

Click to Enlarge

Chief Cooper mentioned the change in the tower's placement in his 2/10/11 report to the Community Services Commission:
The location of the tower was originally proposed in the far northeast corner of the city yards which is actually in the City of Upland. As staff worked with Upland staff, it became apparent that this project could not move through Upland's process in the timeline needed to meet the needs of the project and the grant. The tower was moved approximately 20' from its originally proposed site so that it is now located within Claremont while still being constructed in the far northeast corner of the facility. This will allow the management of the project to be handled within Claremont's process and staff has the ability to manage the timeline better.

The communications tower is on the agenda for tonight's City Council meeting, by the way. The Chief's report for the council lays out a timeline for the the tower's installation. Note the implied inevitability:
March 22 Report to council for FYI on project.
Agenda Published March 17. Report due March 14.

March 25 - April 19 Publish CEQA (21 days).

April 4 Bid Specs Completed.

April 19 Planning Commission Meeting. C U P approval. CEQA hearing and approval.
Agenda Published April 14. Report due April 11. Notice April 7. Appeal until May 2.
April 27 Architectural Commission Design Review.
Building design needed.
Agenda Published April 21. Report due April 18. Notice April 14.

April 4 Bid Specs Completed.

May 10 City Council approval to go to bid
Agenda Published May 5. Report due May 2.

May 24 Approval for bid if CEQA Appealed.
Agenda Published May 19. Report due May 16.

June 27 Open Bids.

July 12 Award Bid.
Agenda Published July 7. Report due July 5.

July/Auqust/Sept Build Project.

The Chief doesn't foresee any problems arising in the public process that might change his timeline, and there's real no need for him to worry. His certainty is guaranteed by the fact that he can shepherd the project through Claremont's rubber stamping commissions. We assume the commissioners, especially the Architectural Commissioners, are in line on this matter and no one will raise the objection, well, that the tower is buck-ugly as proposed, looking like a cross between a rocket gantry and a 1920s Signal Hill oil well tower, except taller than either.

As to the FAA, we note that there wasn't much public comment on this matter. For example, we didn't see the City or Chief Cooper circulate the materials they presented to the FAA. Incidentally, though the owners of Cable probably didn't realize when Chief Cooper apprised them of the tower plans, in the long term building the tower might be good not only for police communications, but for the anyone who might want the for airport's land for some other use like commercial development or even future expansion for the Claremont Colleges. Somewhere far down the road, the tower's existence will make it easier to argue that development has so crowded around airport that safety will become a concern.

And this is how Official Claremont uses the process to batter the uninitiated. In Claremont, there's never one meeting you can point to and say, "You must be there." If you showed up for, say, the Police Commission meeting last November 4th, you could have heard Chief Cooper talking to the commissioners about the proposed tower. If you raised an objection, however, you would have been told that this was really just an informational agenda item to address your concerns and that you would have your chance to air your concerns at a future meeting.

So you then you would have gone to the Community Services meeting on February 10th. You again raised your concerns, but would have been told there was no need to worry and that your concerns would be addressed at the City Council on March 22nd, or at a future Architectural Commission meeting. By the end of it, when you've had more than your fill of meetings, you'll be told that you should have had your concerns addressed earlier on when you had the opportunity and that the project had already been vetted by the city's commissions and by the City Council.

The unstated fact of the matter is that none of the meetings really mattered. It was all just window dressing. The idea for a trolley gets floated at someplace like a dinner party at former Mayor's Judy Wright's home, and the next thing you know, the project is a fait accompli.

Only after you've experienced the vaunted Claremont public process will you come to appreciate the machinery at work in our town. Only then can you truly call yourself a Claremonter.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The March of Progress

Click to Enlarge
Claremont takes pride in its inclusiveness, particularly when it comes to involving the public in major municipal decisions. At least, that's the town's self-image. So imagine our surprise when we we took a look at the City's website this morning and saw a very brief blurb, really just two links to PDF files without any accompanying explanatory text, with the headline, Police Communications Tower 3-17-11.

[Since we wrote this post, the City has modified it with the sort of missing text we were talking about -ed.]

The two links connected to documents with plans and Photoshopped images for a proposed 174-foot tower which, with drum antennae studding the latticed tower, looking like a picked over croquembouche.

The police department wants to put the tower in against the north wall of the City Yard at 1616 Monte Vista Ave., directly across from the Claremont Club's entrance. Odd that we missed the publicly noticed meetings on the communications tower. It simply appeared without the usual fanfare city officials use to launch their projects. It's as if they wanted to slip this one in and see if anyone would notice.

The plans were listed on the City's initial studies page, so the project would have to at least be analyzed to see whether or not it would need an Environmental Impact Report. Given the tower's height and its proximity to Cable Airport's Runway 6, the FAA might have a say. If the tower interferes with the airport's traffic, we suggest the City put it on one of its other properties, like City Hall. After all, our town fathers and mothers wouldn't want to stand in the way of progress, and they would also want our police department to have the best communications possible.

It occurred to us that the tower plans would have to be reviewed by the Architectural Commission as well, and they might not like some of the future views:

TOP: View from the Claremont Club entrance
BOTTOM: View from Shenandoah Dr. facing southeast

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Mayor's Speech

We were inclined to dismiss the parallels as a little "out there" but then we realized what is in store for us with the heretofore tongue-tied Sam Pedroza very likely tonight ascending to the throne of the Claremont Mayoralty: Samuel the First, by the Grace of God, of the United Cities of South Claremont and Claremont and His other Realms and Territories Mayor, Head of the Redevelopment Agency, Defender of the Four Hundred.

We found ourselves wondering if Mayor Sam has been taking diction lessons, similar to George VI in the current movie, The King's Speech. We've seen his Majesty speak "off the cuff" from prepared text, and even that isn't pretty. If he ascends to the throne, he will have the able help of Opanyi Nasiali and Joseph Lyons. As we say, this all seemed far-fetched until we caught a glimpse, and a picture, of Sam, Opanyi, and Joe preparing for the installation ceremony tonight:

Nasiali, Pedroza, and Lyons before tonight's council meeting.
Click to Enlarge

Certainly council members have the privilege (pardon us, priviledge) of making their marks on City Hall, but it seems a little early for His Grace, Archbishop Joseph, to already install golden chalices, ornaments, and frou-frous in the City Council office.

One of our readers has recently made the connection between the unctuous and oleaginous Joe Lyons, in not only manner but also in physical appearance, and the Archbishop of Canterbury in the movie:

Councilperson-Elect Joe Lyons
From: xxxxx
Dear Claremont Buzz:

Just saw The King's Speech at the Claremont Laemmle theatres.

Has anyone else noted the uncanny resemblance --both physical and temperment-- between our councilperson-elect Joe Lyons and the alternately fawning and condescending Archbishop of Canterbury played by Derek Jacobi? The likeness was too perfect to be coincidence. Did Jacobi study Lyons or did Lyons study Jacobi?

Perhaps we should begin referring to the councilperson-elect as "His Grace, the Archbishop of Claremont." Do you think his satire-impaired lackeys will appreciate the irony?


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Special Council Meeting Thursday Night

The three newly elected Claremont City Council members, incumbent Sam Pedroza and newcomers Joe Lyons and Opanyi Nasiali, will be sworn in Thursday at a special council meeting in the council chambers at 225 W. Second St. in the Claremont Village.

After all the ceremonies are complete, the council will reorganize and chose a new mayor and mayor pro tem. We expect those two positions to go to Sam Pedroza and Larry Schroeder, respectively. The council's regular meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday, March 22.

If you can't make tonight's meeting in person, you can watch it streamed live here. The video is also archived for later viewing.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Just Between You and Me...

As we Insiders know all too well, at every level government the people we elect and the bureaucrats they appoint or hire love to keep things secret and often will do anything to limit public access to documents. Federal, state or local, they will seek to keep information hidden - much of it rightfully public information.

Ironically, United States vs. Reynolds, the 1953 US Supreme Court case that recognized the State Secrets Privilege, was based on a false secrecy claim used by lawyers for the federal government who were defending a lawsuit brought by the widows of three RCA engineers killed on a Air Force B-29 that crashed in Waycross, Georgia. The federal attorneys sought to block the release of the accident report for the B-29 claiming that its release would endanger national security.

By 2000, the accident report had made its way to the Internet, where it was found by Judy Loether, the daughter of one of the RCA engineers. The report turned out to contain no state secrets, but it did contain information about the particular B-29 that crashed, as well as the plane's maintenance record. That information supported the widows' complaints and would have been a key to any resulting civil trial.

(You can learn a little more about this by listening to Act II of an episode of This American Life from June, 2009, concerning the origins of institutions - check around the 27:30 mark).

If the federal government is willing to falsely invoke the States Secrets Privilege, imagine what happens at the local level, which is often subject to much less public scrutiny. As scandals in Bell, Upland, San Bernardino County, or even at the CalPERS governing board (see the front page of today's LA Times) have shown, if the public isn't privy to information, elected and appointed officials can find opportunities for malfeasance of all sorts.

A reader turned us on to an opinion piece in last Sunday's Daily Bulletin by open government activist Richard McKee (photo, left). McKee wrote that voters have a duty to keep watch on their local officials, and reporters have an obligation to find the information the public needs to make informed decisions. He also noted that the problem of staying apprised of what's going on in government has become exponentially more difficult thanks to the proliferation of government agencies:

The sad news is that this all happens because "we the people" don't pay any attention; a willful ignorance amply facilitated by news media that fail to keep us informed. The usual practice is for the electorate to vote for those telling us what we want to hear, whether it's for or against an incoming Walmart, funding for parks, promoting public transportation, refurbishing schools or some other hot topic; then we return to ignoring local government as soon as we leave the polling place.

And this problem has been made more difficult by local government's eagerness to create more and more public agencies. What do you know of your local sanitation district, or the community service, recreation, vector control, flood, water, airport, harbor, irrigation, public transportation, hospital, waste management, utilities or cemetery districts? How about your council of governments, air quality management or local agency formation commission?

Every one of these public boards and commissions employs staff and sets their compensation. But it's not only the salaries and obvious benefits, it's the pensions - and boy, are they something!

McKee is absolutely right in pointing out the multiple layers of local government that are technically subject to open government laws, but which in practice conduct their daily operations without much public input at all. The Claremont Unified School District, for example, is free to routinely ignore requests for public documents about such things as the district's finances, and no one notices or cares until the district comes, hat in hand, asking the voters to approve another overpriced bond.

Or who, really, keeps an eye on the San Gabriel and Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, which has dole out tens of millions of dollars with very little real oversight? To take the RMC example, a 2009 state audit found a number of problems with the RMC's handling of the public funds:
The Conservancy Has Not Exercised Adequate Fiduciary Oversight of Bond Funds

The audit identified a significant number of recurring audit findings from 2006 related to the Conservancy and its joint powers entity, the Watershed Conservation Authority (Authority). We also found instances of questionable practices and expenditures at the Authority. Collectively,these issues demonstrate the Conservancy’s inadequate fiduciary oversight of bond funds....

The current audit determined the Authority commingled bond funds with general operating funds, and inappropriately used these funds for ineligible costs; and the Authority has not completed annual financial audits.

Yet, all the public sees are headlines about the RMC awarding cities like Claremont millions of dollars to build projects like Padua Park or to buy open space or to fund studies of the pet water projects of the City's dilettantes. Because we don't look beyond the headlines, agencies like the RMC operate with impunity and can easily become nothing more slush funds to help promote the political prospects of its friends.

Incredibly, the RMC received a similar audit in 2006 and apparently ignored a number of findings. The RMC was able to do so because very few people really care. If we repeat the RMC's conduct across the myriad of state and local agencies Richard McKee alluded to, it's easy to see how we Californians ended up in our present fiscal mess.

Ultimately, it's up to you, Mr. and Ms. Voter, to own the problems your inattentiveness beget.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Quick Hits

Click to Enlarge
There's more information on that counter demonstration set for next Saturday in response to the planned National Socialist Movement's rally and march on Foothill Blvd. and an as-yet unnamed cross street. The anti-Nazis are being organized by a group calling itself Claremont Peace.

The Claremont Peace rally will take place in Memorial Park. Click here to read more.

Claremont Peace has a Facebook page set up if you're interested in getting more information. If everyone who has signed up to attend actually shows up, the NSMers are going to be greatly outnumbered.

The NSM rally is supposed to run from noon to 1pm. The anti-rally starts at 10am and goes until 6pm.

* * * * *

Tony Krickl has the official vote count from last week's municipal election. Nothing really changed. And one of our readers wrote in to comment on the low voter turnout (about 25%):

Date: Sat, March 12, 2011 9:45:52 AM
Subject: election results

The voters who bothered to vote on the 8th (only 5,483 out of 21,731 eligible voters) have made the decision for the rest of Claremont. One wonders what the other 16,248 thought about the election and what kept them from voting. Perhaps it was because they had to choose from a less than stellar field of candidates. Perhaps the negative campaigning by the supporters of Pedroza, Haulman and Lyons kept them away. Or perhaps, like more than a few people I have talked to over the years, they believe that it does not matter who is on the City Council as they all drink the Kool-Aid eventually and only care about themselves and getting re-elected.

Whatever the reason, 25% of the voters in Claremont chose who will govern us for the next 4 years. We can thank the other 75% for giving us Dumb (Pedroza) and Dumber (Lyons). Yet another time that so many have done so little for their city.