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Vote Courser, Leano, Stark for Claremont City Council

After thorough review of the candidates, we are pleased to offer our support to Zach Courser, Jed Leano and Jennifer Stark.

Zach Courser

Mr. Courser has vowed to “sweat the details” and work hard to advocate for Claremont on a regional level. We are totally confident in his capabilities and are enthusiastic about Mr. Courser’s potential as a councilmember. We endorsed him in the 2017 election and noted at that time how easy it was for the COURIER editorial staff to reach consensus. The same was true this time.

As a government professor and research director of the Dreier Roundtable at Claremont McKenna College, Mr. Courser’s breadth of knowledge in terms of governance and policy will be a boon to the city. He is both thoughtful and decisive, and will undoubtedly bring fresh ideas we desperately need at city hall.

Mr. Courser is an independent thinker with an appetite for solving complex problems head-on. If you’re concerned about the city’s long-range vision regarding finance and development, vote for Mr. Courser.

Jed Leano

Although Mr. Leano became involved in local politics just two years ago, he quickly gained the community’s favor after announcing his candidacy this spring. As an immigration attorney, Mr. Leano’s flair for public speaking has become his trademark this election. He is approachable, witty and energetic, and possesses leadership qualities we feel will be an asset to our community.

Like Mr. Courser, our staff unanimously selected Mr. Leano as a frontrunner this campaign. During our interview, Mr. Leano provided concise answers that exhibited his deep understanding of the issues facing Claremont. We have full confidence in his ability to issue reasonable, independent votes while bringing a renewed vitality to the city council.

When you spend any amount of time with Mr. Leano, you get the sense that great things are going to happen. We look forward to his energy as he helps guide Claremont as a member of the council.

Jennifer Stark

Ms. Stark will bring a unique perspective to the job, while maintaining good working relationships with diverse groups in the city. She makes collaboration and communication a priority, which will appeal to groups who may feel disenfranchised because of cultural or socio-economic differences. She has a longstanding relationship with the Colleges, which will be helpful in improving town-gown relations.

Ms. Stark is not as experienced as the other candidates, nor is she a polished public speaker. This may create a longer learning curve, but we believe her intelligence and receptiveness will help her overcome those obstacles.

Some of us were concerned her unfamiliarity with the budget and financial matters would present obstacles down the line. However, we considered the entire council as a team in our determination, and she has earned the COURIER’s endorsement by her promise to collaborate, listen and serve; values that are held dear by many Claremonters.

Ms. Stark does not believe the sky is falling, and her optimistic view will bring an even-tempered perspective to the council. In the end, we concluded that goodwill and civility, which are largely absent in national politics, are as important to this community as crunching numbers.

 

The COURIER editorial staff was unable to reach a majority vote on endorsing candidates Michael Ceraso, Douglas Lyon and Ed Reece.

Michael Ceraso has a lot of good ideas about ways to bring Claremont into the 21st century. He has his eye on youth and the underprivileged and worked tirelessly to connect with residents in neighborhoods who may feel underrepresented. We encourage him to continue to be engaged and look forward to his contributions in the future.

We are especially heartened by Mr. Ceraso’s emphasis on engaging Claremont residents south of the Village. Only good things can come from including everyone’s voice in the decisions that affect all of us. We definitely have our eye on him.

 

We like Douglas Lyon’s ideas about keeping Claremont “a pleasant place to live” and taking a longer view when making decisions about development projects. We know he’s capable and qualified, but quite simply, we couldn’t get over the fact that he didn’t run a campaign. We don’t believe it should take massive fundraising to run in a local election, but we believe it’s critical for someone seeking office to make a concerted effort to interact with constituents beyond forums scheduled by local organizations.

Despite our lack of endorsement, we all agreed that Mr. Lyon’s sober, analytical view of financial and development issues are paramount to maintaining robust discussion about city affairs.

 

Ed Reece has given a lot to Claremont. He’s been here for many years, owns a Claremont business, is involved with many organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Police Commission. Our concern is that we never saw him get ahead of the pack. Even as co-chair of the Measure SC campaign committee, we saw that Mr. Reece allowed others to take a more public leadership role.

Our concerns with Mr. Reece are not related to his commitment to the city or even in his ability to handle tasks at hand, but instead we feel uneasy about his capacity to stand his ground when the time comes for difficult votes or when he is challenged by a resident. A vote for Mr. Reece, to us, means a vote to continue the status quo, and we’re ready for a new perspective. That said, we know his efforts will continue to be a tremendous asset to the community.

 

The COURIER editorial staff urges Claremont voters to elect Zach Courser, Jed Leano and Jennifer Stark to the Claremont City Council on Tuesday, November 6.