Thursday, October 28, 2010

Public input stifled at city council meeting

Residents often take advantage of the opportunity to make comments to elected officials at public meetings like city council and school board meetings. But at Tuesday night's city council meeting, Councilmember Larry Schroeder didn't seem to like the comments of one resident.

Michael Keenan spent his 4 minutes of public comment talking about Measure CL. Keenan does not support the school bond and shared his views with the council. But halfway through his comments, Schroeder cut him off, arguing that Measure CL is not within the city council's jurisdiction.

You can watch the action unfold at this link. Click on the October 26 video and skip ahead to about the 15 minute mark.

People have addressed the city council on all sorts of topics, from state laws on medical marijuana to human rights violations in China and the cooking shows at the Claremont library. Technically speaking, much of what people bring up during public comment is not directly under the council's purview. Schroeder never objected before.

Maybe he didn't like the particular speaker's opinions about Measure CL. Maybe he didn't like the speaker. Regardless, the city council has historically given speakers free rein during public comment to talk about whatever they want. And kudos to Mayor Linda Elderkin for standing up for that right. In the future, I hope the council continues to give speakers their 4 minutes without being rudely interrupted.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Missing teenager found

Deontay Antone Barlow, the Claremont teenager who disappeared from his home Thursday afternoon, turned up at a hospital in Downey. Hospital staff notified his family and he was released to his mother on Monday night. It's how he ended up at the hospital but police said he did not have any injuries. Police have not yet interviewed him but are happy that he's been found. "Luckily he's home safely," Claremont Police Lieutenant Shelly Vander Veen said.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Missing teen sought

A developmentally disabled teen went missing yesterday, according to Claremont Police. The 18-year-old man was last seen at his residence in the 600 block of South College Avenue at about 4 p.m. His name is Deontay Antone Barlow. He is described as an African American male, 5 feet 9 inches tall, 110 pounds with short brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a grey sweater, blue jeans and blue shorts. According to police, the teen is disabled and has the mindset of a 7-year-old juvenile. Those who have any information are asked to contact the Claremont Police Department detectives at 909-399-5411.

Friday, October 15, 2010

California Beer Festival comes to Claremont

Tickets are still available for this weekend's California Beer Festival. The event will run from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday just outside of the Packing House in Village West.

About 30 beer booths will line the north and south sides of First Street between Oberlin and Cornell avenues. The beer vendors will offer craft beers from microbreweries around California. Event organizers are hoping to attract between 800 to 1000 beer enthusiasts from around the region for the event.

Participants can expect live music from 3 different bands, including Rey Fresco, Orlando Napier and the Dogs. Food will be available for purchase from Eureka Burgers, which plans to open in the Packing House later this year, Tutti Mangia Italian Grill and Casablanca Mediterranean restaurant.

General admission is for the event is $40. Tickets will be sold at Rhino Records, the Hip Kitty or online at the Beer Festival's website. A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit the non-profit Dyslexia Awareness Resource Center.

Since alcohol will be served at the event, organizers are working to get discounted rates on taxi cab fares from the event and for local hotels. Discounted designated driver tickets for $25 will also be sold to those who want to attend the festival but not drink alcohol.

The California Beer Festival has run successfully for 2 years in Ventura. If the event is successful in Claremont, the Festival may become a permanent annual fixture in the city.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Claremont's sanitation plans

There was a lot of trash talking at last night's city council meeting. The first announcement was a deal made during closed session between the city and its sanitation employees. In exchange for some concessions from the employees on CalPERS benefits, the city agreed to put its sanitation cost/benefit analysis on hold for at least 5 years.

City Manager Jeff Parker then announced plans for a new 20-year contract between Claremont and San Bernardino County for trash disposal. The agreement includes even lower tipping fees than the city's current rate with an Orange County landfill. With the 20-year agreement, the city is off the hook from joining the costly Waste-By-Rail program through Los Angeles County, which would have led to skyrocketing sanitation bills for Claremont residents.

The city also came up with a 10-year agreement with Recycled Waste Products in Pomona to haul the city's green waste. All the agreements above have yet to be officially approved by the council and will appear on an upcoming city council agenda.

Still there was excitement about the announcements from both council members and those attending the meeting.

"Not only is this making the program more efficient but its also very proactive and kudos to [the city manager] for making that happen," Mayor Pro Tem Sam Pedroza said. "A 20-year contract is unheard of and that's a fantastic piece of news."

Measure CL on Facebook

Measure CL supporters now have a Facebook page to call their own. So far the Yes on CL page only has 32 supporters, compared to the anti-Measure CL page, which has 36 supporters. I'm guessing those numbers will change before the November 2 vote on the $95 million school bond.

Measure CL will need at least 55 percent of voters backing it in order to pass. Measure Y, the $48.9 million school bond passed just 10 years ago, was passed with 68.85 percent of the vote.

To learn more about the hottest topic in town, you can visit both the supporters' website here and the No on CL website here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Final Cruise Night tomorrow

After 15 years, Cruise Night in the Village is coming to a close. The final show will run tomorrow night from 5 to 8 p.m.

Organizer Sandy Coglietti, owner of the Village Grill, expressed frustration over her dealings with the city and neighboring business owners who oppose the event.

Among her complaints are the city's regulation limiting Village parking to one hour between 3 and 5 p.m. before the event and the requirement for her to hire a police officer who hands out parking tickets to Cruise Night participants.

"I feel like I'm paying to have someone here to give out tickets to my guests," she said in an interview last week. "That's not what I want and that's not what Cruise Night is about."

Cruise Night has been an instituation in the Claremont Village for the last 15 years.

"I love Cruise Night. A lot of people do. I've gotten so many calls from people who love it asking how they can help," Coglietti said. "I'm just tired. I'm tired of fighting the city and I don't want to do it any more."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Claremont to be a host city for Amgen Tour of California

Good news for bike fans. Claremont has been selected as a host city for the Amgen Tour of California, considered the premier cycling race in the United States.

The city and Amgen officials have organized a celebration ceremony and press conference to announce the news later today. The community is invited to the Train Depot for the 5 p.m. event and is encouraged to wear yellow to show your support.

Among the speakers will be Mayor Linda Elderkin, Claremont Chamber of Commerce president Andrew Behnke and former professional cyclist Tony Cruz.

Check out this video
, featuring Claremont city council members, to get a better picture about the 2011 race. Claremont's stage is scheduled for Saturday, May 21, 2011.

Monday, October 4, 2010

No on Measure CL Facebook page

A community group has created a Facebook page targeting the school bond Measure CL.

The Claremont Taxpayers for Common Sense do not support Measure CL and are urging residents to join them in their crusade against it.

Those interested in joining or taking a look can visit it here.

I have not seen a Yes on Measure CL page out there.