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Claremont COURIER 2-14-14

Claremont COURIER 2-14-14

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Published by Claremont Courier
The Claremont COURIER is the award winning community newspaper for Claremont, CA. Issue: 2-14-14
The Claremont COURIER is the award winning community newspaper for Claremont, CA. Issue: 2-14-14

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Published by: Claremont Courier on Feb 14, 2014
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Locals Stamp their Heart Out one last time/
Friday, February 14, 2014
One dollar
our  er 
l remont
2, 7 & 8CALENDAR/
18Build, build, build. Keep track of the progress. Visit our website: claremont-courier.comPOLICE BLOTTER/
 A helping hand  A helping hand
A Valentine’s spectacular/ 
From the Tony’s to CHS: Robert Lopez visits Claremont/
In this edition
COURIER photo/Steven FelschundneffSeventh grade student Jack Xiao rehearses Franz Liszt’s “La Campanella” on Monday at the Claremont Community School of Music. Jack will present a piano recitalthis Sunday at the school to help raise money for the organization’s scholarship fund. The concert begins at 3 p.m. in the Huff Recital Hall, 951 W. Foothill Boulevardin Claremont.
Claremont COURIER/Friday, February 14, 2014
The Claremont Courier (United States Postal Service 115-180) is published once 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: One dollar. 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 © 2014 Claremont Courier
one hundred and sixth year, number 6
420 N. Claremont Blvd., Ste. 205BClaremont, CA 91711
(909) 621-4761Office hours: Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Janis Weinberger
Publisher and Owner
Peter Weinberger
Kathryn Dunn
City Reporter
Beth Hartnett
Education Reporter/Obituaries
Sarah Torribio
Education Reporter/Obituaries
Christina Burton (Interim)
Sports Reporter
Alex Forbesssports@claremont-courier.com
Photo Editor/Staff Photographer
Steven Felschundneff
Reporter At Large
Pat Yarborough
Calendar Editor
Jenelle Renschcalendar@claremont-courier.com
Back Page
Ad Design
Jenelle Rensch
Page Layout
Kathryn Dunn, Jenelle Rensch
Peter Weinberger
Advertising Director
Mary Rose
Classified Editor
Jessica Gustin
Business Administration
Office Manager/ Legal Notices
Vickie Rosenberg
Billing/Accounting Manager
Dee Proffitt
Tom Smith
 Agendas for city meetings are avail-able at www.ci.claremont.ca.us
Monday, February 17
Tree Committee—Cancelled
Tuesday, February 18
Planning Commission—Cancelled
Thursday, February 20
Special Tree Committee Council Chambers, 6 p.m.
Saturday, February 22
City Council Priorities WorkshopCouncil Chambers, 8 a.m.
Sunset after rainPiled clouds; pink, orange, gold Fifteen minutes of beauty
—Paula Pitzer
Haiku submissions should reflect upon lifeor events in Claremont. Please email entriesto editor@claremont-courier.com.
Send readers’ comments via email to edi-tor@claremont-courier.com or by mail orhand-delivery to 1420 N. Claremont Blvd.Ste. 205B, Claremont, CA 91711. The dead-line for submission is Tuesday at 5 p.m. Let-ters are the opinion of the writer, not areflection of the COURIER. We reserve theright to edit letters.
 Letters should not exceed 250 words
. We cannot guarantee publicationof every letter. Letters and viewpoints will bepublished at the discretion of the editor.
our  er 
l remont
Consider the source
Got a website? Check.
Create, develop, deliver.
The most effective way to reach customers online is to deliver a strong, consistent and compelling messageabout your business. The COURIER can turn your ideasinto marketable content,while maintaining your website and social mediapresence.
 (909) 621-4761
O’Connell’s interest is a mystery
Dear Editor:The city’s purchase of the water sys-tem may be up for debate. The excellentpartnership between the city council andthe school board is not.Ex-State Superintendent Jack O’Con-nell may appear as if he is speaking forthe school board or trying to portrayhimself as knowing what is best for ourstudents and community but, the truth is,he submitted a letter to the COURIERwithout input or agreement from theClaremont Unified School DistrictBoard.Sadly, Jack O’Connell himself is, touse his words, picking a “political fight”over the water system by trying to inserthimself and his opinions into the issue.While his assertions may or may nothold water, what is true is that he is
speaking on behalf of the school board. As locally elected officials, we arewell aware of the needs our schools andstudents face. We also know the financialrequirements of the district, the revenuewe may expect from the sales of surplusproperty, and the community’s commit-ment to education.What we don’t know is why JackO’Connell writes about the water issueexpressing concern about Claremontschools when he did not do so while heactually was responsible for what hap-pened to our students. His talk of upcoming local schoolbonds is surprising. The school board hasnot had an agenda item to even discuss alocal school bond in over three years. Asfor a statewide school bond, he is moreaware of that possibility than I am. How-ever, expressing worry over a statewideschool bond while conflating it with thelocal water issue is inappropriate.
Steven Llanusa
President, Claremont Unified School Board
Guess who’s coming to town?
Dear Editor:Well, we shouldn’t be surprised. Itseems like Golden State Water will spareno expense when it comes to protectingtheir water monopoly in Claremont. Recently, Jack O’Connell, the formerCalifornia Superintendent of Public Edu-cation, wrote a letter that was publishedin the COURIER. Mr. O’Connell opinedabout how our children will be harmed if we, the community, owned our watersystem. I would suggest that Mr. O’Connell,who lives in northern California, knowsabsolutely nothing about our communitynor is he in any position to tell us what isbest for the schools in Claremont andcommunity. That is why there is a Clare-mont Unified School District—becausewe believe that our community shouldbe in charge of educating our children,and we are doing a terrific job.However, there was one issue that Mr.O’Connell failed to mention in his letterto the COURIER. Since leaving publicoffice in 2010, he has been employed byone of largest lobbying firms in Sacra-mento.Now you know who’s coming totown.
Dr. Anne K. Turner
page 7
he empty lot left by the former cityStrawberry Patch, located on thesoutheast corner of Base LineRoad and Towne Avenue, is going theway of many other vacant spaces alongthe Base Line corridor.
The Claremont City Council on Tuesday cast a di-vided 3-2 vote to change the zoning designation of aportion of the 6-acre lot to allow theconstruction of a 95-unit townhomecomplex across the entire propertydespite early discussions of adding a commercialcomponent in the corner of the empty space. The City Ventures, LLC development will featuretwo and three-story buildings outfitted with solar pan-els. Two open spaces, one with a pool, will also be in-cluded in the design. After several years of dispute over the western por-tion of the land’s mixed-use designation, local stake-holders, including officials from The WebbSchools—located across the street from the proposeddevelopment—were pleased to see the decisionchange in favor of an all residential project. “I get nervous of the traffic flow,” said Webb’sHead of Schools Taylor Stockdale. “We have a num-ber of students...and they ride their bikes, they godown to the Village, hang out at restaurants, etc. In-creasing the volume of traffic with some kind of retailcenter makes me very nervous from a safety stand-point.”Safety was a major concern for Mayor OpanyiNasiali, who questioned the decision to leave the onlyaccessway in and out of the development on BaseLine Road without a traffic signal. “People are going to be forced to come out of thisproject and have to make a left turn on Base Linewhen there’s traffic going westbound to the freewayin the mornings. That could be difficult, you could bethere for quite a while,” Mayor Opanyi said. Adding a traffic light to that access point was thor-oughly vetted as part of a traffic analysis in June2013, according to City Engineer Loretta Mustafa.However, it was determined, based on ample gaps intraffic, that the traffic light would not be necessary.Choosing to go against that finding and place a lightat the access point anyway could result in legal trou-bles for the city, she asserted. “The reason we put in a signal in the first place isbecause we find it’s not a safe situation for peoplegetting out of that place,” Ms. Mustafa said. “If a traf-fic accident happens because of that signal, and it’sbeen known that they can occur if you have an unwar-ranted signal, then the city finds itself in a liability sit-uation.” In addition to his concerns over traffic flow andsafety, Mayor Nasiali’s decision to ultimately opposethe project was because of the zone change. The zoning designation for many of the vacanciesalong Base Line Road were evaluated by city councilmembers and commissioners as part of the city’scomprehensive general plan update in 2005-2006. Aspart of that update, it was determined the western por-tion of the Strawberry Patch site be designated asmixed-use while the eastern portion would be strictlyresidential. City officials and residents continue to dispute thedecision. Residents of the adjacent neighborhoodcited traffic, safety and unsightliness among their topconcerns. In addition, overhead power lines signifi-cantly hamper the site along with constraints placedon development of the property by the electric com-pany, Caltrans and fire department regulations. Withrequired setbacks, the developer would not be al-lowed to place commercial buildings on the northeastcorner of the property as desired. And with the de-pressed freeway onramp and offramp along with therestriction of freeway signs in that area, it would bedifficult for retail to be successful, claimed Brian De-satnik, director of community development. Mayor Nasiali maintained his hesitance to goagainst the original plan for the space. “If we implement this change we are in effect lock-ing the door and throwing away the key,” he said. “Ihate to hasten in to make a major change like thisknowing we have limited land.”
r. Nasiali wasn’t the only onequestioning the recent influx of high-density development invacant spaces along Base Line Road.Councilmember Sam Pedroza noted hisreluctance to support high density projectsmoving forward, but once again acknowl-edged the city’s general plan, which hadspelled out long ago that high density de-velopment would be allowed at these sites. “The die is cast,” Mr. Pedroza said. Councilmember Corey Calaycay stoodhis ground, maintaining his previousstance to vote against the building of anymore three-story complexes and his op-position of high-density development.He pointed out that the general plan’s vi-sion for Base Line Road includes pre-serving “the open feeling on these largelights, maintain historic setback lines andensure that home editions or new con-struction respect the dominant arch stylesand scale.”
Mr. Calaycay joined the mayor in opposing theproject, not because he was against making the entirespace a residential development, but because hewould rather the new zoning designation match thatof the residential dwellings already housed in thearea. “If I’m going to have to concede to a zone changeI’d sooner concede to a zone change that fits betterwith this neighborhood and also takes into accountwhat my residents are telling me about lower densitydevelopment,” he said.
Council approves south Claremont complex
Following the planning commission’s preliminaryreview of a proposal for 2456 N. Forbes Avenue lastweek, the Claremont City Council on Tuesday gaveits approval to the final tract map for another develop-ment at Vista Drive and Indian Hill. The vacant 1.75-acre lot will soon be filled with 21detached, single-family homes. Each will range from1,340-square feet in size with 3 bedrooms and 2.5baths to 1,760 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 3baths. Residents have been actively involved in theprocess since The Olson Company Housing, LLCfirst brought plans forward for a preliminary hearingin 2012. The final design is the result of multiple re-views and community meetings initiated by the devel-oper in response to public backlash. Threecommunity meetings were held following the initialreview, at which time the development plan was com-pletely reworked with community input. The devel-oper scratched initial plans to rezone the lot andreworked the design, rearranging the structures tomake them face outward instead of in towards eachother, making the development more harmoniouswith the adjacent Wheeler Park neighborhood.The developer also addressed safety concerns withthe housing project so close to the constantly bustlingIndian Hill Boulevard. A block wall, with a maximumheight of 8 feet, has been added along Indian HillBoulevard with landscaping to serve as a buffer be-tween the sidewalk and the wall. Additionally, the busstop currently adjacent to the lot will be shifted 40feet to the south for pedestrian safety. A gate has al-ready gone up around the site, as the developer beginsgrading the land.
—Beth Hartnett
Claremont COURIER/Friday, February 14, 2014
COURIER archive photo/Gabriel FenoyThis file photo depicts the Strawberry Patch and shack on the corner of Base Line Road and Towne Avenuenext to the 210 freeway. Claremont city council scraped mixed use development on the site and has approvedan all residential plan instead.
Council divided over influx of high-density on Base Line

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