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City council narrowly comes out against Prop 6

The Claremont city council has officially come out against Proposition 6.

The narrow 3-2 vote solidified the city’s stance against the ballot measure, which would repeal SB1, a recently-enacted law better known as the gas tax. Councilmembers Sam Pedroza, Joe Lyons and Larry Schroeder voted in favor, while Mayor Opanyi Nasiali and Mayor Pro Tem Corey Calaycay abstained.

The gas tax allocates $52 billion over the next decade to fund transportation and infrastructure projects across the state. Of that amount, $15 billion is allocated directly to cities. But it comes at a cost—gasoline prices were raised by 12 cents starting in November 2017 and the tax rate for diesel gas rose from 9 percent to 13 percent.

Claremont certainly has an incentive to keep SB1 in the books—they’ve already secured a $7 million grant from the state, which will go toward the Foothill Boulevard improvement project.

Assistant to the City Manager Jamie Harvey, who presented the agenda report to council last Tuesday, also noted that Claremont would receive around $650,000 annually during SB1’s lifetime.

If the proposition is passed and the gas tax is repealed, the fate of the $7 million grant is unclear. The California Transportation Authority claimed that funds already allocated are at “low risk” of being recalled if Prop 6 passes. The city’s grant has been allocated, but is not yet in- hand, Ms. Harvey said.

Additional funds to be received by the city in the coming decade would also be eliminated if Prop 6 passes.

During public comment, Denny Zane, executive director of Move LA and former mayor of Santa Monica, claimed numerous road and transportation improvement projects would be in danger if SB1 were repealed.

“This money is too important to our communities, too important to our welfare, too important to our economies and we should say no to Proposition 6,” Mr. Zane said.

Mr. Calaycay abstained from the vote, as he typically does when an issue outside of Claremont’s scope is brought before council. He emphasized that he does not like to take positions on behalf of voters.

“Beyond that, I trust the voters to take the information they receive and make a decision for themselves,” he said.

Mr. Lyons differed, saying that when there’s a statewide issue that would have an effect on Claremont, “I feel an obligation to discuss those issues and for this body to take a stand on them.”

Mr. Pedroza said SB1 was meant to fix existing state-wide infrastructure problems. If the state lets these projects continue to fall into disrepair, he stressed that the cost to repair them later would increase.

“This isn’t for a lot of new great projects or shiny stuff, this is really to fix what we have now,” he said.

Mr. Nasiali agreed with Mr. Calaycay, saying he understood the importance of SB1 funding, but wanted to leave it up to the citizens to make their own decision.

“I don’t want to take an action and take away the citizens’ right to vote their conscious, even though the result may not be what I would like to see,” he said. “But we are intelligent people in this town who can make those decisions.”

Council goes in on Everyone In

The council approved joining into a local anti-homelessness campaign spearheaded by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

The Everyone In campaign’s purpose is to not only educate and bring awareness to homelessness, but to help transition chronically homeless people into short and long-term housing, the city said. The goal for the campaign is to prevent homelessness for 75,000 individuals and create 5,000 units of supportive housing in Los Angeles County by 2022.

Human Services Director Anne Turner noted that joining the campaign would help Claremont with implementing its own Homeless Services Plan, which was passed last May. It would also bring greater awareness to the work Claremont is doing, the city said.

The United Way also funds another program, the Good Funders Collaborative, which sets aside money to allow cities like Claremont to apply for county funding along with Measure H funds. By joining the Everyone In campaign, Ms. Turner said, Claremont strengthens their chance of getting that money.

The council approved joining the campaign, 5-0.

The next city council meeting will take place on October 9.

—Matthew Bramlett

news@claremont-courier.com

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