Eight candidates file, qualify for city council election
With the nomination period closed for the Claremont City Council election, eight candidates have qualified and will vie for two open seats this March.
Incumbents Larry Schroeder and Corey Calaycay will face six challengers—Anthony Grynchal, Zachary Courser, Abraham Prattella, Michael Keenan, Korey Johnson and Murray G. Monroe.
All eight candidates are Claremont residents, a requirement to run for city council. With the exception of the incumbents, Mr. Calaycay and Mr. Schroeder, none has previously served on city councils or commissions except for Mr. Courser, who has served on Claremont’s Traffic and Transportation Commission since 2015.
The following information on each candidate was obtained from the nomination papers and candidates’ statements on file at the Claremont city clerk’s office.
Corey Calaycay: Mr. Calaycay, 46, has served on the city council since 2005. He is the vice president of the board of trustees for the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, is an assistant supervisor at Fairplex and is chairman for the County of Los Angeles Public Library Commission. Mr. Calaycay has lived in Claremont for 43 years.
“I always remember that I work for you,” Mr. Calaycay said in his candidate’s statement. “I recognize and respect that Claremont residents are very diverse politically, socially and economically and have a high expectation of elected officials and city government.”
Zachary Courser: Mr. Courser, 40, is a professor and research director of the Dreier Roundtable at Claremont McKenna College. He came to Claremont from Washington state in 1995 to attend CMC and returned to teach from 2006 to 2008. After earning his PhD in government from the University of Virginia, Mr. Courser came back to Claremont in 2014 after accepting a teaching position with CMC.
“Because I care about our community and its problems, I have worked hard as a traffic and transportation commissioner, pressing for the formation of a subcommittee to address the problem of train noise,” Mr. Courser explained in his candidate’s statement.
“New and continuing challenges lie ahead,” he said, making particular note of the water system takeover and the Gold Line extension through Claremont. “Addressing complex issues like these begins with actively listening to residents.”
Anthony Grynchal: Mr. Grynchal, 26, is a realtor with Re/Max in Upland. He attended Western Christian in Claremont for kindergarten through eighth grade, moving on to Damien High School from which he graduated in 2008. After high school, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly Pomona. Mr. Grynchal, who also goes by “Mr. Claremont,” a moniker he had trademarked in 2014, is a real estate associate with Re/Max Champions in Upland.
“I want your vote because I will bring financial transparency and responsibility, and I will get your water bill down,” he wrote in his statement. “I have had the opportunity to work with governments across the world. I have a passion to serve people and I work hard.”
Korey Johnson: Korey Johnson, a business leader, qualified for the election but does not have a candidate’s statement or statement of economic interests on file with the city clerk.
Michael Keenan: Michael Keenan, 62, is a professional window cleaner and previous candidate for city council. Mr. Keenan’s platform advocates that Claremont become a charter city. He would like Claremont citizens to regain and establish greater “home rule” over municipal affairs, core services and natural and renewable resources by becoming a charter city under the California Constitution. “As your city councilmember, I will continue to work and apply best practices between the city manager and other commissions in the transition to a ‘green’ city-based charter.”
Murray Monroe: As a 45-year Claremont resident and investment advisor, Mr. Monroe, 53, aims to have the city’s policies and practices reflect the core values of Claremont. “I am running to continue and further Claremont’s progressive agenda including the purchase of the water company, modernization of the police station and sustainability. Ongoing concerns include our town and gown relationship, our wilderness park issues and business development.”
Abraham Prattella: A realtor, pastor and CEO, Mr. Prattella said his goal is to use his experience of “making deals happen and win-win solutions.” Highlights of Mr. Prattella’s candidate’s statement include implementing cost-effective solutions for the expansion of police services by upgrading police equipment and technology, remodeling the main station and creating school substations at each school site. “I want to increase educational funding for more teaching staff, training and school technology,” he wrote. “And to enhance Foothill Boulevard and Arrow Highway entry points to reflect the beauty of the rest of our city.”
Larry Schroeder: Incumbent Larry Schroeder, 67, would like to see projects through that were started during his term. Mr. Schroeder was first elected to the council in 2009, after serving on the community services commission from 2007 to 2009. His goals include continuing with the water system issues, maintaining balanced budgets and improving the police facility. “I trust my performance as a city council member has earned your support,” he said in his statement.
City councilmembers are elected to staggered four-year terms, with three members elected at one election, and two the next. The filing period for write-in candidates is from January 9 to February 21, with the first pre-election campaign finance statements due on January 26.
Over the next several weeks, the COURIER will meet individually with the candidates and provide more comprehensive feature stories on each contender.