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Courier 7.21.12

Courier 7.21.12

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Published by Claremont Courier

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Published by: Claremont Courier on Jul 21, 2012
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City news/ 
Stories on page 3
• State demands a massive redevelopment payment• State suspends Brown Act provisions• First steps taken for approval of major developments
Exit exam waivers ensure diplomas for all CHS students
Story on page 4
Saturday 07-21-12
75 cents
COURIER photo/Steven FelschundneffSome of the participants in the Claremont School of Theatre Arts include, from left, Johan Evans, Dylan Dillard, Riley Evans, Olivia Parker (director), David Cump-ston, Seth Johnson, Katherine Arboleda, Kelly McGarry, Sophie Willard-Van Sistine and Greg McGoon (assistant director).
 Acting out
Story on page 5
Snakes alive!
Claremont teen shares her unique collection
Story on page 12
our er i
City news and eventsupdated 24/7...at
Claremont COURIER/Saturday, July 21, 2012
The Claremont Courier (United States Postal Service 115-180) is published twice weekly by the Courier Graphics Corporation at 1420 N. ClaremontBlvd., Suite 205B, Claremont, California 91711-5003. The Courier is a newspaper of general circulation as defined by the political code of the state of California, entered as periodicals matter September 17, 1908 at the post office at Claremont, California under the act of March 3, 1879. Periodicals postageis paid at Claremont, California 91711-5003. Single copy: 75 cents. Annual subscription: $52.00. Send all remittances and correspondence about sub-scriptions, undelivered copies and changes of address to the Courier, 1420 N. Claremont Blvd., Suite 205B, Claremont, California 91711-5003. Tele-phone: 909-621-4761. Copyright © 2012 Claremont Courier
one hundred and fourth year, number 57
420 N. Claremont Blvd., Ste. 205BClaremont, CA 91711
(909) 621-4761Office hours: Monday-Friday9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Janis Weinberger
Editor and Publisher
Peter Weinberger
Managing Editor
Kathryn Dunn
City Reporter
Beth Hartnett
Education Reporter/Obituaries
Sarah Torribio
Sports Reporter(On leave)
Landus Rigsby
Photo Editor/Staff Photographer
Steven Felschundneff
Reporter At Large
Pat Yarborough
Calendar Editor
Jenelle Renschcalendar@claremont-courier.com
Back Page
Ad Design/Classified Pages
Jenelle Rensch
Page Layout
Kathryn Dunn
Advertising Director
Mary Rose
Classified Editor
Jessica Gustin
Business Administration
Office Manager/ Legal Notices
Vickie Rosenberg
Billing/Accounting Manager
Dee Proffitt
Tom Smith
Jake Bartman, reporterAmanda Rhodes, photographerCameron Barr, photographer
proposed 50-foot live/work building in VillageWest is back for final ap-proval Tuesday, July 24.
The Claremont City Council will reviewthe proposed project, set to take over the nowvacant Rich Product building on the cornerof Oberlin Avenue and First Street. The 4-story structure with internal parking garageand adjacent 30-foot building gained unani-mous approval from the planning commis-sion late last month.Tentatively titled “The Village Lofts,” theproject is geared at fitting the “urban envi-ronment” called for in the Village West ex-pansion plan. The 1.66-acre parcel includesretail and live/work spaces on the first 2floors, with residential apartments on the 2floors above and a rooftop pool. A restaurantis proposed for the corner space on the firstfloor. A parking garage with 140 spaces willalso be included, 61 of which will be reservedfor residents of the building. The adjacent 30-foot structure will contain 5 two-storylive/work spaces, similar to those in ThePacking House.Despite the development’s initial approvalby the commission, many residents came for-ward in opposition. Reasons cited include in-creased traffic as well as the building’s heightand zoning, both of which are not in compli-ance with city code. The city is proposing thatcode changes be made to accommodate theproject.The council will review a proposal tochange the maximum height of buildingstypically allowed in the city’s commercialmixed-use zones. The development’s designexceeds the 3 story or 40-foot maximum. Anadditional 10 feet was added to accommo-date the last level of the building’s design, ac-cording to Chris Veirs, senior planner for thecity. The zone change is proposed given thatit is the last parcel available for developmentin Village West.Planning commissioners lent their ap-proval to both changes as well as to the proj-ect as a whole.“This is an attempt to make a viable cityreemerge in a time when densities are in-creasing,” said Commissioner MartinMcLeod. “We are trying to manage thosedensities intelligently, and the flexibility thatthis project is proposing is wonderful.”The council will review a proposed Multi-Family Rental Housing Ordinance, callingfor an annual review of such facilities to en-sure proper maintenance and code enforce-ment. The city hopes the review will helpreduce crime rates sometimes associated withsuch complexes. A request to award the con-tract for the new parking meters at the Clare-mont Hills Wilderness Park will also beexamined.The regular meeting of the ClaremontCity Council begins at 6:30 p.m. at the CityCouncil Chamber, 225 W. Second St. Thefull agenda is available at www.ci.clare-mont.ca.us.
—Beth Hartnett
Monday, July 23
Sustainability CommitteeCitrus Room, City Hall, 4 p.m.Tree CommitteeCommunity Services Department1616 Monte Vista Ave., 6 p.m.
Tuesday, July 24
City CouncilCouncil Chamber, 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 25
Committee On Aging RetreatClaremont University Consortium101 S. Mills Ave., 3 p.m.Architectural CommissionCouncil Chamber, 7 p.m.
 Agendas for city meetings are avail-able at www.ci.claremont.ca.us
Council’s last step in makingexpansion plan a reality 
Haiku submissions should reflect upon lifeor events in Claremont. Please email entriesto editor@claremont-courier.com.
 A year ago, two blood drives Now we dance and singat concerts in the park: YEAH!
—Erin Michaela Bendiner
our er 
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Online and in print: (909) 621-4761
Claremont COURIER/Saturday, July 21, 2012
City foots the bill for redevelopment after AB 1484
State suspends Brown Act requirement for posting agendas
ast month, the California State Leg-islature suspended a Brown Actmandate requiring local govern-ments to post public meeting agendas 72hours before a meeting. However, the sus-pension of the Brown Act requirement willnot affect the way Claremont conducts busi-ness, according to Mayor Larry Schroeder.
Claremont City Council and Commission agendaswill still be available to the public despite a recentstandstill within the Brown Act.“The city council believes in the public’s right to ac-cess information regarding city business and participatein the legislative process,” Mr. Schroeder said. “We willcontinue in this tradition.”This isn’t the first time the mandate has been sus-pended. It has happened twice since 1986 with littleconsequence to local government procedure, accordingto a recent article published by Californians Aware.“They knew the public would notice and react heat-edly and…the procedural routines have been so woveninto how meetings are prepared and documented thatbureaucratic inertia guarantees their continuity,” the ar-ticle states. “Even though the lawmight not hold public officials ac-countable for no longer posting agen-das or providing adequate descriptions of items on them,angry voters would hold them accountable, and politicalexposure has always been a far more powerful motiva-tor of Brown Act compliance than legal exposure.”The mandate suspension stems from an issue of bur-densome reimbursement costs to the state for the print-ing of city agendas. In previous years, localgovernments have been compensated for agenda print-ing costs. However, the loose format of reimbursementforms caused issues.“The total claims have accumulated at the rate of more than $20 million per year, with about $63 million‘due and payable’ to non-education agencies alone by2012,” according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, aspublished by Californians Aware.Because of the accumulated costs, the state decidedto forego any plan to pay this amount, as outlined in re-cent state budget action. As a result of this decision, “theBrown Act cannot be enforced by court action becausethe mandate to comply has been switched off by oper-ation of constitutional law.”A constitutional amendment was introduced by Sen-ator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) in Jan-uary 2011 to make the posting of agendas able to beupheld in court regardless of mandate suspensions.Though the proposal received bipartisan support, theamendment was suspended in the Assembly Appropri-ations Committee in August because of its impact onthe state estimated at $50,000 or more. If not removedfrom the file soon, the bill will die. To find out moreabout what can be done, visit www.calaware.word-press.com.Despite the outcome, Claremont will continue tomake agendas available to the public and post video of its city council meetings on the city’s website.“Reimbursement costs have never been the impetusfor our compliance,” Mr. Schroeder said.
—Beth Hartnett
hile cities through-out the state arescrambling to makelast-minute obligation paymentsresulting from the passage of Assembly Bill 1484, the city of Claremont has already mailedoff its check to the state of Cal-ifornia.
AB 1484, signed by Governor JerryBrown late last month, aims to set furtherrestrictions on local governments throughthe collection of unused redevelopmentmoney. The Los Angeles Auditor-Con-troller recently sent out collection lettersto cities throughout the county, with pay-ments due by July 12. Late fees for non-payment run $10,000 per day.Claremont received its bill, totaling$949,498, on July 9, according to a citynews release. This amount represented therepayment of the $1.67 million receivedfrom the county in December 2011 andJanuary 2012, less the $720,151 in ap-proved enforceable obligations for Janu-ary through June 2012. As the outcry setin and agencies struggled to find the re-sources, the city of Claremont had its billpaid in full.“We prepared for this,” said Clare-mont’s Director of Finance Adam Pirrie.“We have had the funds in an account,ready to go back to the county.”Governor Jerry Brown approved 2 as-sembly bills last June calling for the im-mediate suspension of theredevelopment agency’spower with the exception of existing contractual obligations.In late 2011, the Supreme Court issueda hold on AB26—which would eliminateredevelopment agencies—in order to de-termine if the bill was constitutional.AB26 was questioned because of a possi-ble violation of measures put in place toprevent the state from raiding local funds.During this hold, the state was requiredto continue its normal practice of sendingfunds to municipalities for redevelop-ment. In December, the Supreme Courtruled that AB26 was indeed constitu-tional, thus ending the hold and in Febru-ary cities throughout southern Californiawere forced to close down redevelopmentoperations.The state is now asking for the moneydivvied out during the hold to be returned.In anticipation of this request, the cityof Claremont prepared by scaling back onany expenditures unrelated to its redevel-opment obligation payments, except forthose required, like bond repayment.moving administrative costs previouslyfunded through the RDA to the GeneralFund, according to Mr. Pirrie.“The state has looked to redevelopmentto balance its budget in the past, and wehave prepared for continued raids on re-development funds by shifting costs awayknowing redevelopment funds could goaway,” he said. “It’s crippled some cities,but we’re fortunate.”Cities that are unable to pay the bill byJuly 12 will run the risk of having theirsales tax payments suspended by theBoard of Equalization, effective July 18.Further, AB 1484 gives the Depart-ment of Finance the right to impose$10,000-per-day fines for late payments,according to the League of CaliforniaCities (LCC), an organization that deemsthe bill “unconstitutional.”The California Constitution mandatesthat the state may not take or redistributetaxes collected by cities when the fundsare budgeted for city use. The LCC deemsthat AB 1484 does just that. Additionally,the LCC maintains that reallocating cityproperty taxes to fund school districts—as Governor Brown has stated will bedone—is not permitted without a two-thirds vote as required by the state Con-stitution.The collection of funds by the state alsoincludes real property owned by the now-defunct redevelopment agencies, whichfor Claremont includes a piece of prop-erty located behind the Richard HibbardAuto Dealership.“Eventually [the property] will be sold,and we need authority and direction fromthe oversight board on how they want usto dispose of the property,” Mr. Pirrie ex-plained.Although well-prepared, city staff hasfound the dismantling of the redevelop-ment agency to be a complicated process.“The legislature comes up with a billthat’s confusing and we don’t get any di-rection from the state or the county onhow to deal with it,” Mr. Pirrie said. “Thelast 6 months have been a real headacheand continuing to comply with AB 26 willlikely present more challenges as we com-plete the wind down of the redevelopmentagency.”The city’s press release states that suf-ficient funds remain to continue to makepayments on the former redevelopmentagency’s future obligations.
—Beth Hartnett
Proposed developmentat the StrawberryPatch on Base Line
The Planning Commission conducteda preliminary review of a proposed newdevelopment on the 6.2-acre site at thesoutheast corner of Towne Avenue andBase Line Road, which includes “TheStrawberry Patch.” The project is beingproposed by a private development com-pany, City Ventures Homebuilding, LLC.City Ventures is currently working onplans for the new mixed-use residentialcommunity, which would consist of atotal of 98 townhomes and 3 live-worktownhomes. The final design of the proj-ect is not yet complete.The developer is refining the proposalto address environmental impacts, plan-ning standards and design concerns.The Planning Commission will reviewthe proposed uses and conceptual plansand provide initial direction to the appli-cant regarding the project.When the formal project plans are sub-mitted to the city, environmental reviewand future public hearings before the Ar-chitectural Commission, Traffic andTransportation Commission, PlanningCommission and the City Council will beconducted.
Preliminary review ofOlson Project at Vistaand Indian Hill
The Planning Commission reviewed aproposal for a new housing developmenton Indian Hill Boulevard and Vista Drive,according to the city manager’s report.Residents addressed the commission atits July 17 meeting with concerns andquestions about the project, which in-cluded oppositin to proposed changes inzoning to allow for additional units, con-cerns relating to design and how it con-nects with the existing neighborhood,issues relating to detached garages, con-cerns about the aeshetic value of a pro-posed solid wall on Indian Hill Boule-vard, and questions about future parkingon Vista Drive in the inlet just north of theproposed development.Representatives from the Olson Com-pany reportedly received a lot of goodcomments from both the neighbors andthe commissioners on how to proceedwith the project. Olson representatives as-sured the neighbors that the project wasonly in the very preliminary stages andthat the group would be scheduling sev-eral neighborhood meetings to receive ad-ditional input as the project movesforward.

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