Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tip-a-Cop event tonight

In support of House of Ruth, several Claremont police officers will act as STAR waiters at Buca di Beppo tonight. All tips received by the special guest waiters will be donated to the House of Ruth.

The event runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Buci di Beppo is located at 505 W. Foothill Blvd.

For 33 years, House of Ruth has been providing services to women and children victimized by domestic violence. For more information, call (909) 623-4354.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ugly incident at the LWV candidates forum

In election season, there's always complaints about dirty campaign tactics, like missing lawn signs or rumor spreading. We've already seen some questionable behavior from the Democratic Club of Claremont in this election.

But the flier fiasco at the League of Women Voters Candidates Forum on Thursday night just might take the cake on dirty campaign tactics. For those who haven't seen Saturday's paper, here's a basic rundown of what happened.

Candidate Robin Haulman's husband, Alexander Sweida, grabbed a stack of candidate Jay Pocock's campaign fliers during the forum and stuffed them in his jacket pocket. After the event ended, Sweida was talking to Betty Crocker, who works on Opanyi Nasiali's campaign, when the fliers fell out of his jacket and scattered across the floor. Sweida picked them up and walked away, later dumping them in the trash.

Sweida told me the fliers unfairly attacked his wife since it states "Haulman and Lyons support tax increases. [DO YOU?]" According to Sweida, Haulman supports putting the question of a utility tax increase, a recommendation of the Economic Sustainability Committee, before the voters.

Further defending his actions, Sweida said he was just following the League of Women Voter's policy on negative campaign material. He asked Ellen Taylor, president of Claremont's chapter of the League, if he could remove the fliers. Taylor told him to go ahead, even though she didn't inspect the material beforehand to see if it actually contained "negative" information.

This incident is troubling from many perspectives. With his actions, Sweida has certainly embarrassed his wife and may have cost her the election. Dirty tactics like this just don't sit well with voters.

Taylor defended her decision by saying the League is anti-biased in local elections. However by approving this behavior, she showed a clear bias against Pocock. And that reflects poorly on the entire organization.

And what do other League officials think about what happened?

"It would be better to actually look at the material before making a decision on what to do with it," said Jack Mills, Vice President of the League.

I asked Mills if he was aware of any League policy about negative campaign material. He said he wasn't aware of one, although he's only been on the board for one year.

"The only policies I know of are in the members handbook and on the website," Mills said. "I'm pretty sure the handbook doesn't have a policy on negative campaign material."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

League of Women Voters candidates forum tonight

The last of the major candidate forums will take place tonight. Hosted by the League of Woman Voters, the event takes place in the Padua Room at the Hughes Center. The forum begins at 7 p.m. All 8 candidate for the city council election will attend and answer questions. The election takes place on Tuesday, March 8.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

More on lawn signs

My lawn sign post from Wednesday drew some attention from readers. After talking with Sam Pedroza again the following day, it turns out volunteers with the Democratic Club of Claremont was putting up signs for Pedroza and Robin Haulman, both Democrats, in the yards of DCC members. But if members were not home when DCC volunteers showed up, the signs went up in their yards anyways.

Strangely enough, I got a voice message the morning after my post from Rudy Mann, who complained that someone put a lawn sign from candidate Opanyi Nasiali, a Republican, in his front yard. Mann is the husband of DCC president Zephyr Tate-Mann and an active volunteer in the club.

We've been playing phone since then, so I haven't had the chance to ask Mann if he was one of the volunteers putting up lawn signs in DCC member's yards without asking permission first. If so, it seems odd to me and a bit ironic that he's complaining about an unwanted lawn sign while his DCC was going around doing the same thing to its members.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Unwelcome lawn signs

Complaints about lawn signs are a long tradition in Claremont during election season. Either they go missing from people's yards or are placed on public property illegally. In the last couple of days, we're hearing complaints from residents about candidate's lawn signs popping up in their front yards without their permission.

Gwen Brown, who lives on Scripps Drive, came home yesterday to find lawn signs from city council candidates Sam Pedroza and Robin Haulman in her front yard. They've since been taken down and put in the garage.

"I would appreciate if I was asked first before a political sign went up on my property," Ms. Brown said. "I really take offense to a controlling political party trying to push an opinion on me."

In another neighborhood in north Claremont, the same 2 candidate's signs appeared in another resident's lawn.

"I do not know anything about Robin Haulman, never met nor do I know her," said the resident, who asked not to be named. "Sam I am aware is on the city council now but I was surprised that someone had the hutzpa to plant their signs in my yard without asking permission. I have nothing personally against either one but thought it was rather rude."

Pedroza responded that he always asks before putting up a lawn sign or provides them to people who specifically ask him for one. He doesn't know who may have put up the signs without the residents' permission.

Haulman added that she has a release form for residents to sign stating they want a lawn sign and agree to take one.

"No one should be indiscriminately putting up signs without getting their express permission beforehand," Haulman said.

Pedroza noted that lawn sign shenanigans are a constant problem in Claremont elections and wished the problems could be avoided.

"If I didn't have to do signs, I wouldn't," Pedroza said. "They're more trouble than they're worth."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

E-Waste event this Saturday

Get rid of your dead batteries, old paint and unwanted electronics safely. A free E-Waste event will be held this Saturday in Claremont.

Residents can dispose of household hazardous waste, including unused pharmaceuticals, antifreeze, car batteries, used motor oil, paint, pesticides, and universal waste, including household batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, and electronic waste (e-waste), such as TVs and monitors, computers, VCRs, stereos, and cell phones at the next free Countywide Household Hazardous Waste Roundup.

It will be held in Claremont at the Claremont Corporate Yard, 1616 Monte Vista Avenue, on Saturday, February 5, from 9:00 a.m. to 
3:00 p.m. Residents can bring up to 15 gallons or 125 pounds of household hazardous waste per vehicle to the Roundup.