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Published by: Claremont Courier on Feb 03, 2012
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Saturday 02-19-11
75 cents
Terry Nichols bows out, but not without some final thoughts
CHS boys basketballmakes an early exit inCIF playoff competition
See page 17
COURIER city council endorsements
See page 3
      I     n     s      i      d     e      t     o      d     a     y      ’     s      p     a     p     e     r
Aleks Watkins takes on the persona ofa fierce raccoon during an OtterspaceArts theater class at Sycamore Ele-mentary School. The class is part of atraveling arts program focusing onhands-on experiences for students.Story on page 14.
our er i
See page 5COURIER photo/Steven Felschundneff
 A raccoonrole player
Candidates’ forum flier fiasco
See page 4
Claremont COURIER/Saturday, February 19, 2011
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 © 2011 Claremont Courier 
420 N. Claremont Blvd., Ste. 205BClaremont, CA 91711
(909) 621-4761Office hours: Monday-Friday9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Martin and Janis Weinberger
Editor and Publisher
Peter Weinberger
Managing Editor
Kathryn Dunn
City Reporter
Tony Krickl
Education and Sports Reporter
Landus Rigsby
Features Reporter/Obituaries
Brenda Bolinger
Photo Editor/Staff Photographer
Steven Felschundneff
Reporter At Large
Pat Yarborough
Calendar Editor
Jenelle Renschcalendar@claremont-courier.com
Back Page
Copy Editor
Grace Felschundneff
Ad Design/Classified Pages
Jenelle Rensch
Page Design
Kathryn Dunn
Advertising Director
Mary Rose
Classified Editor
Aimee Ripley
Business Administration
Marketing ManagerLegal Notices
Vickie Rosenberg
Billing/Accounting Manager
Dee Proffitt
Tom Smith
Jim Citizen Sprinkle
Loren Hinton, reporterMonica Loomba, photographer
one hundred and third year, number 13
 Monday through Friday
Joe Lyons
is onTrack every weekday morning, from 6 to8:00 a.m., at the Claremont Depot (MetroLink station) on First Street and HarvardAvenue. Info: www.lyons4citycouncil.info.
Saturday, February 19
Michael Keenan
will lend a hand and shovel at the FreeMulch Event at the Blaisdell CommunityCenter starting at 6 a.m. Info:http://sites.google.com/ site/keenanforclar-mont/news
Saturday, February 19
: See
Sam Pedroza
Run at a meet-and-greet hosted by Katieand Bob Gerecke, 333 S. Villanova Dr., 2 to4 p.m.
Saturday, February 19
: See
Sam Pedroza
Run at a meet-and-greet hosted by Walt andWendy Haffner, 269 Miramar Dr., 6 to 9p.m.
Saturday, February 19
: Coffee with
Opa-nyi Nasiali
at the home of Ed and LoriPupka, 2309 N. Indian Hill Blvd. at 6:30p.m. RSVP by email to info@opanyi.comor call 962-8488.
Saturday, February 19
: Meet-and-greet
at the home of Jim and Lisa Doose,2411 Michigan Dr., 3 to 5:30 p.m. RSVP to625-4045.
Sunday, February 20
: A
from 2 to 4 p.m. hosted by OurLady of the Assumption Church, 435Berkeley Ave. The moderated event will in-clude opening and closing statements byeach of the candidates, as well as questionsfrom the audience. All 8 candidates for 3City Council seats will participate: JosephArmendarez, Robin Haulman, Rex Jaime,Michael John Keenan, Joseph M. Lyons,Opanyi K. Nasiali, Sam Pedroza and Jay N.Pocock.
Sunday, February 20
: Meet with
Joe Lyons
at the Farmers’ Market on Yale Avenue andSecond Street from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 20
: See
Sam Pedroza
Run at a meet-and-greet hosted by TheCurley Boys (Shea and Scott), 538 Cin-derella Dr., from 5 to 7 p.m.
Wednesday, February 23
: Wine & cheesewith
Joe Lyons
, hosted by Sandy andChuck Hester, Ellen Livingston, and SallyAlexander, 1665 N. Mills Avenue, 7 to 8:30p.m., RSVP 621-3305, www.lyons4city-council. info.
Wednesday, February 23
Robin Haul-man
Sam Pedroza
Joseph Lyons
will attend a meet-and-greet hosted by Ger-ald Haynes at Claremont Place, 120 W. SanJose Ave., 3 to 5 p.m.
Friday, February 25
: A meet-the-candidatereception for
Robin Haulman
atWineStyles, 201 N. Indian Hill Blvd., Vil-lage West, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 26 
: Coffee with
hosted by Lauren and Jan Rosell at1145 Hillsdale from 2 to 4 p.m. RSVP 624-7974, www.lyons4citycouncil.info.
Sunday, February 27 
: Meet with
Joe Lyons
at the Farmers’ Market on Yale Avenue andSecond Street from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 27 
: Coffee with
hosted by Maha and KhalidFakhoury, 1038 Canton Circle, from 3 to 5p.m. RSVP 731-9048, www.lyons4city-council.info.
Tuesday, March 1
: A meet-the-candidate re-ception for
Robin Haulman
hosted byHerman Janssen, 532 Bucknell Ave., Apt.D, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Friday, March 4
: See
Sam Pedroza
Run atThree French Hens hosted by Brenda Mon-ahan, 456 First St., from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.Info: 398-1004.
Saturday, March 5
: See
Sam Pedroza
Runat a meet-and-greet hosted by Dick andMarilyn Tipping, 465 Guilford, 7 p.m. Info:625-3713.
To have an event listed in the Candi-dates’ Corner, please send informationto Kathryn Dunn, Managing Editor, byemail to editor@claremont-courier.com.CORRECTIONIn the article on the candidate forum inthe Wednesday, February 16 COURIER,concerning candidate Robin Haulman:The correct spelling of Ms. Haulman’sson’s name is Skye; her husband Alexan-der’s last name is Sweida, and she servedon the city’s architectural commission for8, not 10 years.
Claremont COURIER/Saturday, February 19, 2011
 Vote for Lyons, Nasiali, Pedroza on March 8th
he Claremont COURIER endorsesSam Pedroza, Opanyi Nasiali andJoseph Lyons for the Tuesday,March 8 city council election.
Three seats are up for grabs and those who are electedwill join council members Corey Calaycay and LarrySchroeder to lead us into the future during this time of transition for our city. Out of the 8 candidates running inthe election, 2 stand apart from the rest of the pack: SamPedroza and Opanyi Nasiali.The only incumbent in the race,
Sam Pedroza
hasproven his dedication andability over the past 4 yearsas a city councilmember.Mr. Pedroza has donewell representing Clare-mont on a regional level. Indoing so, he has helped se-cure federal and state fund-ing for major projects likethe Gold Line and PaduaPark.He also helped bring ci-vility back to a city councilthat was divided and attimes hostile toward one an-other. We have not always agreed with his positions, butMr. Pedroza votes with his conscious and has alwaystaken the greater good to heart when casting a vote.We believe his experience, leadership and ability tobuild bridges can only make the city council stronger.
Opanyi Nasiali
has been actively involved in city lifein Claremont for over 2 decades. He is a founding mem-ber of EdNET, the predecessor to the Claremont Edu-cational Foundation, and served on the Traffic andTransportation Commission for 8 years.He worked diligently to secure Johnson’s Pasturethrough a bond measure and, with great diplomacy, con-vinced the college presidents to pay a fair share for theland. He can be conservative when appropriate, but doesnot reject projects based on political predisposition. Mr.Nasiali’s work in acquiring Johnson’s Pasture is evi-dence of his ability to provide amenities to the commu-nity while remaining fiscally responsible.In the last few months, Mr. Nasiali served on the city’sEconomic SustainabilityCommittee and was an ac-tive participant in a citizen’sgroup against the MeasureCL school bond. Addition-ally, Mr. Nasiali is a volun-teer for Meals on Wheels.Mr. Nasiali has a toughstance on pension reform.He believes city employeesshould start paying the em-ployee contributions toCalPERS immediately ratherthan via a phased in ap-proach over 4 years. He reg-ularly attends city council meetings, reads the staff reports and comments on topics he feels strongly about.The process of selecting the third candidate was moreinvolved for our editorial board.We like Robin Haulman’s experience gained whileserving on the Architectural Commission. Some staffersprefer Jay Pocock’s passion and business-like attitudetoward city government. However, after much deliber-ation, we decisively give our third endorsement to
Joseph Lyons
.Mr. Lyons opposes quick fix approaches to achievingshort-term gains relating to economic recovery for thecity. He stated there are “unintended consequences”when one doesn’t consider the long-term ramificationsof decision-making. Mr. Lyons supports retaining con-trol of city services “as a matter of principle” noting thatoutsourcing trash would have a long-term negative ef-fect on quality of service.Mr. Lyons believes that more thoughtful considera-tion should be used when making budget cuts. This ap-proach, together with aconcentration on economicdevelopment, will carry thecity through the next fewyears of financial strain. Heis not doom-and-gloom, butopts for a more reasonableapproach to city govern-ment.As the chief negotiatorfor research staff duringcontract bargaining at theCity of Hope, Mr. Lyons canbring valuable negotiatingskills to the city council. Heis also the current program chair of the board of direc-tors for the National Alliance of Mental Illness PomonaValley. He favors a non-confrontational, non-adversar-ial approach to negotiations, further stating, “If not, youend up with impasse, attrition and some very unhappygroups.” This experience will serve the city well.We believe Joseph Lyons, Opanyi Nasiali and SamPedroza are the best suited to lead our city and best rep-resent the diverse interests of constituents in Claremont.
City’s pension funding will only get more expensive
ity employee retirement benefitshave become one of the most de-bated topics by city council candi-dates ahead of the March 8 election. Somein the city believe the city’s ballooning pen-sion obligations could bankrupt the city,while others have less of a doomsday atti-tude.
Claremont’s pension debt obligation for regular em-ployees currently stands at roughly $64 million throughJune 30, 2009, according to city finance manager AdamPirrie. The figure represents all the money owed to cur-rent and former city employees through their pensionplans.For the city’s safety employees, benefits are pooledwith other cities in California that have less than 100employees and also offer the same 3 percent at age 50benefits. Because of that, city staff does not have exactfigures on debt obligation versus assets for safety em-ployees.Meanwhile, the market value of assets to offset the$64 million obligation is $37 million, Mr. Pirrie said,leaving a huge gap between the city’s debts and assets.That gap has grown significantly over the past severalyears, causing concerns that Claremont’s pension sys-tem is not sustainable.The city council does have the power to address thegrowing gap. In 2006, the council spent $1.1 million topay off some of their liability. This year and next year,$235,000 has been set aside for the paying off PERSdebt. Still, the gap continues to grow wider each year.Another big concern for the city revolves around thegrowing amount it must pay each year as PERS strug-gles to earn back what it lost in recent years.With investments in stocks and real estate, PERS lost24 percent of its value in 2008, Mr. Pierre said. Com-bined with the fact that people are living longer andsalaries are higher than before, pension costs to the cityare on the rise.“Those factors drive up the underfunded liability andincrease the [annual] rates to the city as well,” Mr. Pir-rie said.Mr. Pirrie admits the city’s PERS obligations will bethe greatest obstacle to balancing a budget in the com-ing years. In 2010-11, PERS payments amounted to$2.9 million. By 2015-16, that amount could grow to$4.7 million.“Trying to adopt a budget where PERS rates are in-creasing by 2 and 3 percent of payroll every year is con-cerning because that’s where you face the possibility orlikelihood of having to cut more positions,” Mr. Pirriesaid. “We’ve already seen the need to cut positions be-cause of revenue shortfalls. We’re unlikely to see rev-enues grow a whole lot over the next 5 years. So we’vegot to contend with those increases in [PERS] costs anddoing so is not going to be easy.”The current structure for CalPERS pension benefitsoffers 2.5 percent at the retirement age of 55 for regu-lar city employees. For sworn officers, that benefit jumps to 3 percent at the retirement age of 50.PERS requires employees and employers to con-tribute a percentage of wages to the system.As an incentive to employees, many cities have of-fered to pay the employees’ contribution to the plan. InClaremont, that’s 8 percent for regular employees and9 percent for sworn employees.Currently, only sanitation employees pay the em-ployee PERS contribution. The employees agreed topay their share under an agreement with the city in Oc-tober 2010 during a time when the city council was con-sidering privatizing the sanitation department. Themove represents an 8 percent pay cut for the sanitationemployees and will save the city about $62,000.The city’s economic sustainability committee be-lieves the city should no longer pay the employees’ con-tribution. What hasn’t been decided is how quickly thisshould be implemented.Employees could pay the entire 8 percent up front,as the sanitation employees have agreed to do. Or itcould be staggered by 2 percent each year over the next4 years to soften the blow to employees, who have al-ready faced cuts in pay in recent years.If all city employees pay the employee contributionrather than the city, the city would save about one mil-lion dollars each year, Mr. Pirrie said.
—Tony Krickl
An intense cold and deep low pressure complexwill bring a 12-18 hour period of wet, windy weather.Overall dynamics are very well-developed with thissystem, and by late Saturday the second of two im-pulses will arrive locally. There will be on and off pe-riods of rain, windy conditions and possiblethunderstorm activity tending to increase Saturdayevening. Partial clearing Sunday, variable cloudinessMonday and Tuesday. Very cool, with overnight lows38-44. Daytime highs mid to upper 50s.
—Gary Londonlocal weather observer

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