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Claremont should stay on course, council should remain intact

There is something positive to be said about the city of Claremont as it currently stands.

The city’s portfolio is widespread, no longer so heavily dependent on auto sales or any one source of revenue. Auto Center Drive is once again bustling with business, the council just approved a new housing development off Base Line Road and Mountain Avenue and there is finally movement in the long-dilapidated Peppertree Square.

The city is holding a surplus of $1.8 million in the general fund instead of scrounging to find the money to pay the bills, as we’ve seen with other cities. The water acquisition is moving forward after city councils in previous years got stalled before the process began.

All 3 candidates share similar sentiments when it comes to the city’s core issues: creatively dealing with redevelopment, managing growth in the once sleepy city and, probably more pressing than any other issue in Claremont, pursuing the water acquisition.

But, again, there is something to be said about the current council and its role in helping shape the Claremont of today.

The city has found an exceptional balance in its current council. While many government bodies have not been able to find middle ground, the members of the current city council have worked together as a well-oiled, non-partisan machine. And that is no easy feat, considering years past.

Where residents were once met with eye-rolling and dismissive glances from the council dais during public comment, the current council takes a far more respectful approach in their dealings with the public. City Manager Tony Ramos and the council work well together. Their shared vision and focus has kept Claremont financially healthy through a recession and the loss of redevelopment funds. In the COURIER’s opinion, that is something to embrace.

While we will continue to ask questions to help ensure the Claremont machine does not become rusty and that its engineers dont become complacent, the current city council is working well and should remain intact.

The COURIER endorses incumbents Corey Calaycay and Larry Schroeder for reelection to the Claremont City Council on Tuesday, March 5.

Corey Calaycay

Corey Calaycay knows Claremont. A lifelong local, Mr. Calaycay is familiar with the Claremont of yesteryear while demonstrating that he is ready to tackle the city’s future needs.

He welcomes new business in town—in fact, he introduced the door-to-door visits to local businesses when he served as mayor in 2009-2010—and played an active part in the bustling Village West that Claremont sees today.

Mr. Calaycay is the longest-sitting council member and it is with good reason. He is a well-seasoned, well-educated Claremont council member who has the experience needed to represent the city well regionally. His more conservative approach to finance and his dedication to maintaining open communication with constituents serve the city well.

“When considering and making policy, you can’t be too arrogant to not consider taking a look back,” Mr. Calaycay said in a recent interview.

Mr. Calaycay should be elected to his third term.

Larry Schroeder

Larry Schroeder’s financial expertise is an undeniable asset to the city. As a former finance director and with a doctorate in public administration, he is a priceless resource who has a demonstrated unwavering interest in the betterment of the city. His background has been particularly advantageous in generating creative ways to deal with financial uncertainties. He has helped the city stay in the black by helping negotiate the city’s employees groups paying their share of Public Employees’ Retirement System and offering solutions in the wake of the loss of the Redevelopment Agency.

As the city moves forward with water acquisition, there is no question that Mr. Schroeder will be an integral part of the team. His experience as finance director with city’s who controlled their water system will undoubtedly be invaluable as we work to resolve the water issue here in Claremont.

Michael Keenan

Michael Keenan is a model citizen. Not only does he throw himself fully into public matters—camping out with Occupy Claremont and traveling door-to-door on his election campaign armed with his trademark bike and cap—he has a thirst for knowledge that backs up his points. He has taken trips to Ojai and Felton to dig deeper into the water issue and pored over the feasibility studies.

Mr. Keenan offers innovative ways to capitalize on some of Claremont’s strengths (the urban forest, the strong sustainability platform) in order to put more programs in place and to generate money through sustainability efforts. We agree with Mr. Keenan when he said the city could do more in its efforts toward increasing revenue from these projects.

In a recent interview, Mr. Keenan questioned why the 2 buildings recently constructed by Chase Bank weren’t required to be built with energy-efficiency in mind. We agree that this should have been required by the city.

In recent years, every building and renovation completed by the Claremont Colleges has been done with a marked consideration of the environment. Why can’t the city follow this practice? We have ample opportunity to be leaders in our sustainability effort and, while the CHERP program has been successful, there is much more the city can do in this regard.

Mr. Keenan is always informed and offers creative solutions. However, he needs to draw a connection between engaged citizenry and serious candidacy. The big ideas are there, but oftentimes the details are overlooked by his select focus on 2 key issues: sustainability and Claremont becoming a charter city.

While many have chastised Mr. Keenan’s decision to run, some saying it forced the city to hold an unnecessary election, we applaud his willingness to campaign, his stalwart defense of the environment and his well-proven dedication to the issues in Claremont. We wholeheartedly support Mr. Keenan’s decision to run for council and present his ideas.

Claremont is a thriving community and a wonderful place to live, but residents should not rest on their laurels. We aren’t out of the woods financially and there are still areas that need attention. Now is the time to get involved.

—Claremont COURIER editorial staff

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