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City council, candidates renounce mayor’s proposed city slogan

Mayor Opanyi Nasiali’s bid for “Living within our means” to become the official operational slogan for Claremont failed on Tuesday evening.

Mr. Nasiali, who used the slogan in his election campaigns in the past, introduced it as something to think about when it comes to financial stability, sustainability, trust in city government and city management.

“I think it’s an easy item or slogan that everyone can appreciate and relate to,” Mr. Nasiali said.

The item would have mandated the slogan be mounted in the council chamber, placed on the sides of city vehicles and included on the official city letterhead.

The cost of mounting the slogan in the chamber would have been $600, according to the city. To place stickers on 90 city vehicles would have cost between $1,800 and $3,000, which doesn’t include staff time.

The council—and those who spoke at public comment except for Claremonter Carolyn Gonzalez—disagreed with the proposal. Councilmember Larry Schroeder called it a “simple answer to a complicated public policy issue,” and remarked that even its implementation would cost more than $3,600.

“This can hardly be called living within our means,” he said.

Mr. Pedroza appreciated Mr. Nasiali’s effort, but said the city is already living that mantra. The slogan, he said, was more along the lines of “Make America Great Again.”

“These are slogans to kind of give more of an opposite sense that things are not currently great, or things are currently not within our means,” he said.

Mayor Pro Tem Corey Calaycay pledged to abstain from voting, emphasizing that issues like this get attention while other items, such as the budget, receive no public comment.

“I want to see us bring action items to council, and I want to be able to vote yes or no on action items, not on statements about issues,” he said.

During public comment, all four city council candidates stood up together and spoke against adopting the slogan. The move was coordinated by candidate Jennifer Stark, who emailed the other candidates about the issue the night before.

“[The candidates] are my friends and my colleagues besides being my co-candidates,” Ms. Stark said. “We’re neighbors before we’re competitors, and with that I thought it would have meaning for all of us to be a united force, because in unification we’re stronger than we are separate.”

Candidate Ed Reece said he received the email regarding Ms. Stark’s concerns, but said there was no mention of speaking together in public comment.

“When we walked in, she said ‘Hey, will you go up with me?’ and that was the extent of it,” he said. “I will say from my perspective on Opanyi’s slogan, I agree with the spirit and the principles, but I don’t agree it should be a branded slogan.”

Mr. Nasiali was surprised by the negative reaction, saying it was positive and something to keep in mind during city decision-making.

“Since I’ve been sitting on this council I’ve always thought about ‘does this fit into that idea of living within our means?’” he said.

In the end, no action was taken.

—Matthew Bramlett

news@claremont-courier.com