Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Police presence at neo-Nazi rally

There appears to be some confusion about the police presence at Saturday's rally by the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi group. City manager Jeff Parker incorrectly announced at last night's city council meeting that over 400 cops were on hand. It was more like 120. Here's a break down of the numbers:

LA County police: 39
Neighboring Foothill Communities: 53
Claremont police: 27
NSM members: about 30
Counter protesters: 400 to 500

The mutual aid officers from outside the city “did not cost the citizens of Claremont a dime,” Parker said. However, many of Claremont's sworn officers were paid overtime for working the event at a cost of $9,600 to the city.

Calaycay the chauvinist?

Councilmember Corey Calaycay caught some heat for remarks he made at Thursday’s swearing in ceremony for the new city council members.

At the ceremony, he applauded the ethnic diversity of the new council. He also pointed out its geographic diversity since the 5 council members all live in different parts of town.

But he didn’t mention that there are no women on the council; a fact not lost several women sitting in the audience. It’s the first time since 1962 that Claremont doesn’t have a female councilmember.

After Calaycay’s remarks, a few women in the audience remarked about the lack of female council members and didn’t like that Calaycay pointed that out. Even though he actually didn’t.

At last night’s council meeting, former Mayor Karen Rosenthal spoke during public comment on the topic.

“I think Corey has been flogged enough in the press about diversity on the council, or lack thereof,” Rosenthal said. "He said there was diversity and many of us thought there wasn't enough diversity since 52.8 percent of the population is female."

Calaycay later apologized for remarks disparaging women that he didn’t make.

"It's clear that I had a great offense to Ms. Rosenthal and I believe it was mentioned that Judy Wright was also offended by remarks at the last meeting and so I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to both of them," Calaycay said. "I did not mean to degrade women. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of women in this community who have supported me time and time again coming on to this council and I deeply appreciate all of those women who have supported me and I have no intention of insulting any of the ladies in our community. And I'm sure that the day will come again when women will be back on this council and I apologize that they're not here right now. I did not mean anything in my remarks to offend any women in the community. So I apologize to you."

Spoken like a true man.

Maybe there’d be some women on the council if more women ran for the office. In the last 2 city council elections, only one woman has run in each election, compared to a total of 9 men. That’s not the biggest pool for voters to choose from.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Armed robbery on Monday night

An armed robber targeted La West Liquor Store at 333 E. Arrow Hwy. last night. At 9:18 p.m., police received a call reporting that the robbery just took place. The suspect entered the business, displayed a handgun and demanded cash from the register, according to a police press release. The clerk complied and handed the suspect an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect then fled the location on foot in an unknown direction.

The robber is described as a black male, about 19 years old and weighing about 150 pounds. He was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and tan shorts. Anyone with information in this case should contact the Claremont Police Department at 909-399-5411.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Neo-Nazi rally tomorrow

Everyone seems to be talking about tomorrow's neo-Nazi rally at the corner of Indian Hill and Foothill Boulevards.

A group of 10 to 50 members of the National Socialist Movement will hold a rally from noon to 2 p.m. According to NSM spokesman Jeff Hall, the group objects to an "open border policy" being promoted at the Claremont Colleges and the nearby day laborer camp in Pomona.

In the past, NSM rallies in Riverside have attracted counter-protesters from the Claremont Colleges. A counter-protest is also being organized tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Memorial Park. According to their Facebook Page, the counter protesters will have over 2,000 participants. It will more likely be in the hundreds.

Let's hope things remain peaceful. According to Claremont Police Lieutenant Jon Traber, NSM members are very effective at antagonizing counter-protesters, who end up getting arrested. Meanwhile, the heavily outnumbered neo-Nazis are very careful to avoid breaking any laws themselves and rely on police for protection. Videos of their rallies often end up on the news or on Youtube and help them recruit more members in the area.

Sam Pedroza is Claremont's new mayor

Claremont has a new Mayor.

Sam Pedroza was selected to head the city council over the next year at last night's council meeting. After serving 4 years on the council, Pedroza was next in line to take over the leadership position.

"I'm very much looking forward to working together because that's the only way we're going to make things happen," Pedroza said of the new council.

Outgoing mayor Linda Elderkin gave a teary farewell speech before stepping off the dias for the final time.

"I have come to understand through wonderful experience what is meant by the often used phrase: 'It has been an honor and a privilege'," she said.

New city council members Opanyi Nasiali and Joe Lyons were also sworn into office last night. The new-look council will get down to business next Tuesday, beginning with a closed session discussion on salary negotiations with the city's labor unions.

The council will also discuss a contract on the Claremont Safe Routes to School program and hear a report card and background report on Claremont Sustainability.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

final election results

The final election results have been released by the city with all votes counted. Here's the numbers:

Sam Pedroza- 3,550 (24.5 percent of total votes)
Opanyi Nasiali- 2,849 (19.6 percent of total votes)
Joseph Lyons- 2,612 (18 percent of total votes)

Robin Haulman -2,400 (16.5 percent of total votes)
Jay Pocock- 1,516 (10.5 percent of total votes)
Joseph Armendarez- 594 (4.1 percent of total votes)
Michael Keenan- 577 (4 percent of total votes)
Rex Jaime- 407 (2.8 percent of total votes)

Voter turnout: 25 percent (5,483 out of 21,731 registered voters)