Claremont COURIER/Friday, April 25, 2014
Guess what? Parking issues at wilderness park remain unsolved
he parking restrictions continue tomount as use of the ClaremontHills Wilderness Park steadilyclimbs.
The Claremont City Council Tuesday night addedadditional permit parking-only zones on three residen-tial cul de sacs next to the bustling wilderness area—Holyoke Place, Macalester Place and Forsyth Place.These permit parking zones are expected to sunset inSeptember 2015, along with a slew of other wildernessloop parking restrictions, as the city works on an over-arching master plan to solve lingering parking prob-lems. Issues of overcrowding, traffic and safety at thewilderness park are not new for the Claremont council,only increasing with the expansion of the northernparking lot on Mills Avenue last year. An attempt to ad-dress the hordes of hikers, bicyclists and other natureenthusiasts using the park—estimated at around300,000 a year—the parking lot has only proved an ad-ditional problem as park users find alternative parkingspots to avoid the $3 fee, moving the problem furtherdown Mills. While the council has been quick to address these is-sues, doling out permit-parking only zones in adjacentneighborhoods and no-parking zones along Mills, it isnow adopting a different approach. Council membersunanimously rejected a request to increase the no-park-ing zone on Mills Avenue from Alamosa to Miramar.Parking is already prohibited from the park entrance toPomello. Instead, council is asking city staff to consider a stayon any more requests for permit-only parking and re-evaluate the restrictions on Mills. In an effort to in-crease visibility while turning, Mayor Pro Tem CoreyCalaycay also suggested painting the curbs red at inter-sections along Mills and adding a more specific timeperiod to the “no parking” restrictions. “Our own [city speed] survey suggests that there arespecific times when there are problems,” Mr. Calaycaynoted. Many at the meeting were supportive of the permit-parking requests, but agreed with Mr. Calaycay that thecouncil is setting a troubling precedent by continuingto grant these restrictions. “I live in a cul de sac, there are eight of us. If I geteight people to sign a piece of paper saying I want re-stricted parking, will the council approve it?” ques-tioned Claremont resident Richard Weiner, a park userwho serves on the Technical Advisory Committee forthe wilderness park master plan. He and others urged the council to continue workingon the master plan before approving any more tempo-rary fixes. “What’s happening now is the shotgun approach,”he continued. “If you take away that parking, all youdo is put a Band-Aid on the problem and move theproblem farther and farther down.” As the council takes a step back, the city moves for-ward in the process of building a comprehensive park-ing plan for the Claremont hillside. The next TechnicalAdvisory Committee meeting, open to the public, takesplace on May 19 with a community workshop set forJuly 21.
City’s sanitation service increases fees
It’s the same song for Claremont’s sanitation fees. In2012, Claremont residents saw a rise in their sanitationbill, the first in four years. Though only an increase of $7 on average for the whole year, the dent in locals’wallets continued to deepen with another increase ap-proved in July 2013. The increases are set to continue through 2020. Inorder to retain the city’s own sanitation operation, atwo to three percent rate increase will be needed from2015 to 2020, according to a 10-year projection pre-pared by city staff. The evaluation takes into accountanticipated increases in personnel and disposal costs,vehicle replacements and a $500,000 annual expendi-ture to pay down debt associated with the constructionof the City Yard facility, to be fully paid by 2024. “The 10-year financial projection demonstrates thatthe fund will maintain sufficient revenues to sustain op-erations through 2024,” said Kristin Turner, commu-nity and human services manager. “In 2020, the city will no longer be responsible forpaying debt service on the City Yard facility, eliminat-ing $500,000 in annual expenditures,” she continued.“Staff anticipates that further rate increases will not benecessary between 2020 and 2040.”Though recognizing the burden of increasing rates,council members were in favor of maintaining thecity’s sanitation operations as is. “There are benefits to having a local municipal sys-tem,” said Councilmember Sam Pedroza, who worksfor the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County.“We operate a system that works really well and havebeen successful in obtaining long-term contracts insolid and green waste.”
COURIER photo/Steven FelschundneffThe Claremont City Council increased residential per-mit parking in the city on Tuesday night by limitingparking on three streets near the wilderness park.
ecent litigation is fuel-ing an unusual amountof activity in a midtermelection year for local democ-rats, as officers of a Claremontpolitical club’s executive boardprepare for court over a moneydebacle.
Several years of conflict came to ahead last month when group membersRudy Mann, Zephyr Tate-Mann and BobGerecke, representing the Inland Com-munities Democratic Political ActionCommittee (PAC), filed a complaintagainst the Democratic Club of Clare-mont (DCC), its president Gar Byrumand former treasurer Debi Evans forclaimed fraud and breach of contract,among other allegations. The complaint was filed, according toMs. Tate-Mann, in response to a lettersent to the PAC in late February from anattorney representing Mr. Byrum and theClaremont democrats, asking for reim-bursement of what the DCC considered a$12,600 loan to the regional political ac-tion group in 2009 to go toward the pur-chase of permanent regionalheadquarters. The letter further states thatfailure to repay the amount would resultin the matter being taken to court. Ms. Tate-Mann and Mr. Gerecke, whois currently vice president of the DCC,maintain that the PAC doesn’t owe anymoney to the local club and, in fact, areowed $64,000, as stated in the complaintfiled March 11. An itemized accountingfor the $64,000 figure wasn’t provided.However, Ms. Tate-Mann holds that thePAC’s attorney has the information nec-essary should court proceedings moveforward. “We believe that their ultimate objec-tive is not just to extort $12,600 from thePAC, but to destroy the PAC by trying toforce it to spend money in a lawsuit thatis based on false allegations, personalsmears in its pleadings and misrepresen-tations,” she said in a statement shared inperson with the COURIER. Mr. Gereckeaccompanied her. The DCC has responded to the PAC’slawsuit with litigation of its own, claim-ing the trio of PAC members are in-volved in “fraud, embezzlement andmisappropriation of fundraising funds.”The conflict centers on donationsraised during the 2008 presidential elec-tion. A temporary democratic headquar-ters, located by Mr. Byrum but paid forby regional democratic clubs, was set upat Garey Avenue and Foothill Boulevard.Miscellaneous merchandise—lawnsigns, bumper stickers and the like—wasgiven out in exchange for donations. Inthe end, proceeds were to be split amongthe groups involved, according to DCC’streasurer at the time, Merrill Ring, whosays the DCC’s share was $12,600. In early 2009, DCC executives saidthey were approached by executives of the PAC, who were asking for monetarysupport in their quest to set up a perma-nent regional office for local Democrats.In a promissory note dated October 17,2009, provided by the DCC’s attorneyDaren Hengesbach, the DCC agreed, inwriting, to loan the PAC $12,600 for thisendeavor. The promissory note, signed by Mr.Mann and Mr. Gerecke on behalf of thePAC and by Mr. Byrum and Ms. Evanson behalf of the DCC, asserts that “if thePAC succeeds in establishing such a fa-cility, this loan will be forgiven and willat that time become a contribution.” Itfurther states that the PAC will “repaythis amount without interest when and if the PAC abandons its effort to establish afacility for use by Democratic candidatesand organizations.”At a DCC meeting in late February,during an agenda item calling for an ac-counting of club funds, the 2013-2014board reviewed the outstanding loan. “In the absence of a regional head-quarters, it was determined at that pointin time that they had an obligation to thepeople who donated the money and themembers of the DCC to find where thislarge chunk of money is,” Mr. Henges-bach said in a meeting with theCOURIER late last week. Mr. Byrumand Mr. Ring were both in attendance. “The President of the PAC, RudyMann, personally found the sources of the swag [donation merchandise],arranged for its purchase and delivery,picked it up at his own expense for gaso-line when delivery was not available, setup the displays in the headquarters build-ing, set the level of donation required toobtain each piece of [merchandise], mar-keted it to visitors to the headquartersevery day from opening to closingtime...He did this with the explicit under-standing that he was raising money forthe PAC,” Ms. Tate-Mann said. According to both parties, verbal re-quests for an accounting of the $12,600were made over the years, however, Ms.Tate-Mann explains that there was neveranything in writing asking for an ac-counting.“Who’s going to pay for an account-ing?” Ms. Tate-Mann posed. “The PACappropriated all the money and effort forthe swag and the promotion was all doneby Rudy [Mann]. The facts are that Rudyraised all the money.”The DCC refutes this claim.
Claremont democrats head to court over fundraising