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Pedroza talks about changes in Claremont over the year

Councilmember—and former Mayor—Sam Pedroza highlighted achievements and future plans during the annual State of the City address Tuesday morning.

The speech, which was part of the Claremont Chamber of Commerce’s monthly “Business over Breakfast” at the Doubletree Hotel, put a spotlight on the myriad achievements of the council and city in 2016 as well as noting some challenges ahead.

For Mr. Pedroza, it was a moment to thank the people who worked for him during his tenure as mayor.

“The accomplishments of my year as mayor are the accomplishments of the council, staff volunteers and the community working together,” he said.

In the realm of sustainability, some of the accomplishments he highlighted were the city’s 30 percent reduction rate in water and saving most of the city’s trees during the state’s historic drought and winning the statewide Cool California Challenge. Claremont is still awaiting word of whether they will be finalists in the nationwide Georgetown Energy Prize.

He lauded the city’s efforts to combat homelessness in the city, as well as the Claremont Police Department’s dedication to community policing, calling Chief Shelly Vander Veen’s ascension to the role of Claremont’s top cop as highlights from his term.

But he also noted the rise in property crimes in the city, a trend seen in many other cities in the area besides Claremont.

“But we still don’t like it,” he said.

The controversial adoption of the Pomona College Master Plan, which includes plans for the upcoming Pomona College Museum of Art, was also touched upon. Mr. Pedroza noted the historic Renwick House would be moved across the street to its new location in May—a source of contention among many of Claremont’s heritage advocates.

He also highlighted other impending development projects in the city, including the new Hampton Inn on the site of the current Knight’s Inn, the upcoming Elvira’s Mexican Grill on the site of the former Casa de Salsa at the Old School House and a project to connect Colby Circle to Indian Hill Boulevard.

Mr. Pedroza also noted the city will undergo an eight-day street resurfacing project in the Village, from First Street in the south to Fourth Street in the north to Indian Hill Boulevard in the west and College Avenue in the east. The project is set to being in August.

But among the city’s accomplishments, challenges loom ahead, including changes to the federal budget, changes to the PERS system, and the city’s ongoing adjustment to the MS-4 storm water management regulations.

Mr. Pedroza in particular noted the ongoing appeal process against the judge’s decision in Claremont’s efforts to take over the water system, calling it the “first and biggest issue facing the city.”

But that didn’t stop him from cracking a joke or two. In the middle of a segue into marijuana dispensary regulation, Mr. Pedroza quipped, “We’re going to need a lot of marijuana after this water thing, right?”

He invited the crowd to the city council’s priorities workshop on May 20, as well as the Metro Gold Line kickoff party at the Hughes Center on July 24, two meetings that are set to shape the face of Claremont in the years to come.

As he concluded, Mr. Pedroza thanked the council and the “capable and professional” staff for their work during the past year. He noted he looked forward to the leadership of new mayor Larry Schroeder, including any challenges that lay ahead.

“And knowing this council and staff, I know we’re going to make it through,” he said.

Matthew Bramlett

news@claremont-courier.com

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