Calaycay and Schroeder easily win city council contest (updated)

Claremont constituents have spoken. Mayor Larry Schroeder and Councilmember Corey Calaycay will serve another 4 years on the Claremont City Council.

Claremont voters took to the polls on Tuesday to fill the local council’s 2 open seats. Resident Michael Keenan was the only one to answer the call to run against council incumbents, submitting his campaign forms just before deadline.

While confident in his campaign, Mr. Keenan fell short of unseating his opponents. Mr. Schroeder took a slim lead with 3,197 votes, or 45.7 percent of the votes cast. Mr. Calaycay was a close second with 3,048 votes, or 43.4 percent. Mr. Keenan came in at 773, or 11 percent of the votes.

Of Claremont’s 22,962 voters, 3,968 or 17.6 percent participated, a slight decrease from the city’s last biennial council election in 2011, which had a total of 5,184 ballots cast, or about 25 percent of Claremont voters. In that race, 8 candidates ran for 3 open seats on the city council.

The city saw a slight increase in those participating by mail. About 2,422 vote-by-mail or provisional ballots were cast in this latest election as compared to about 2,291 in 2011. Sonja Stump, election volunteer at Sycamore School, noted the perceived increase from year’s past. She also recognized an increase of voters within her precinct, which she attributed the larger number to this election’s more condensed precincts. Not to mention the fact that the Sycamore precinct now includes Claremont’s active Pilgrim Place residents.

Among Sycamore’s morning voters was David Rosenfeld, who said he was driven to the polls because there was one particular candidate he did not want elected. He wanted to make sure to cast his vote for the other candidates. While this year’s ballot may have been small, it didn’t matter to Mr. Rosenfeld, who says he has voted in every single election since the time he was able to vote. Even sickness has not kept him from the polls.

“It’s a privilege,” Mr. Rosenfeld said simply.

After the polling places closed, a handful of constituents followed the ballots to City Hall, where a team of city workers prepared for the count. The night proved slow as City Clerk Lynne Fryman announced that the ballot counter and printer were having communication problems. Over at his Base Line Road home, Mr. Calaycay and friends anxiously awaited ballots to roll in. A friend posted at City Hall called ahead of the city’s website being updated to give them the latest results, which showed Mr. Calaycay in a healthy lead.

“I’m pleased with the initial results,” Mr. Calaycay said after refreshing the election results on the city’s website, and the next couple hours proved equally pleasing.

Mr. Calaycay will now serve his third term on council, first elected to his post in March 2005. As he reflected on his past years in service and his term ahead, Mr. Calaycay acknowledged that while he may not be able to predict what will be at the forefront of the council agenda, he will continue to devote the same commitment displayed throughout his political career.

“I pledge to always stick to my 4 guiding principles: citizen-driven policy, honesty and integrity, transparency in government and fiscal responsibility,” Mr. Calaycay reiterated.

On the other side of town, Mr. Schroeder gathered with family and friends at Casa Moreno, enjoying margaritas and comraderie in celebration of his victory. Now elected to his second term on council, Mr. Schroeder is anxious to continuing moving the city forward.

“I am honored to serve,” Mr. Schroeder said. “Although it’s not always easy, some days are harder than others, it’s always nice to be able to have a voice and be entrusted with the responsibility.”

Reflecting back on his campaign, Mr. Keenan is pleased with certain aspects of the outcome. His latest 776 votes exceeds his previous record of 580 votes, and he felt his message was more “clear and concise.” His only area of disappointment is in the fact that more students didn’t come out to vote.

“If I wasted any of the so-called $60,000 I wasted it on them,” he said. “They had a perfect opportunity to act as concerned citizens and didn’t.”

Mr. Schroeder and Mr. Calaycay will be sworn in on Tuesday, March 19 at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, 225. W. Second St.

—Beth Hartnett


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